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Three quarters of the world's telephones are installed in just eight industrialised countries, while some 80 percent of the world's people, living mostly in developing regions, have no access to a phone service.

Teledensity – the number of telephone lines per 100 people – and wealth of nations go hand in hand. Many countries in the South are increasingly taking advantage of new technologies – remote satellite links or cellular radiophone networks – to 'leapfrog' the need to lay or upgrade large scale cable networks.

This report looks at the issues surrounding telecoms investment, and at concerns that developers will focus on the more affluent and densely populated urban areas to maximise returns on their investment, ignoring the needs of poor rural people.