Wednesday, 14 November 2007

A magic tree

Just over two years ago, I came across the following article in an e-newsletter I receive for work. Recently I came across it again (having been so delighted with this story that I pinned it on my wall).

It's the kind of article you expect to appear on April the 1st. Please do read. It's a gem!

The Magic Tree of Cellphone Coverage Improvement
Mobile phone network planners usually dislike trees - they have a bad habit of changing shape and leaf density each year, often affecting cellphone coverage reliability. It may then come as an interesting surprise to read of a tree in Nigeria that could solve rural coverage problems for them.

In their periodical magazine sent out to customers, Nigeria's V-Mobile reports on a "magic tree" that can attract coverage, even in areas where there shouldn't be any.

In the town of Ezeagbogu Ezinihitte Mbaise, none of the GSM operators has built a site, but the people are enjoying their services courtesy of what they call a "magic tree" in the village square. The tree, called Oji has been in the village square as long as anyone can remember and has grown so tall it almost touches the sky. It is under this tree that natives of this village gather to make and receive calls as well as send SMS.

No one can explain how it works except the belief that the tree possesses "magical powers" capable of attracting GSM signals. As expected, smart people have set up call centres which let people use a GSM handset as a local payphone under the tree.

Doubtless, representatives from the network infrastructure manufacturers will be studying this tree as a possible way of "growing" cellphone coverage in rural Africa for little more than water and some fertilizer."

Posted to on 12th July 2005

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