Go read this feature on how India’s digital revolution started with missed calls

Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

Leaving a missed call on someone’s phone usually signals that you should call them back — but at one point in India, it was communication in its own right. A new feature by Atul Bhattarai in Rest of World examines the Indian culture that grew up around missed calls — and the startups that took advantage of it.

In basic terms, a “missed call” means dialing a person but hanging up before they can answer. Hanging up without talking let users send a basic message (“I called”) without getting charged for minutes or SMS messages — like paging someone without a pager. Bhattarai focuses on ZipDial, a company that turned missed calls into a robust advertising business and a way to experience some of the features of online life without paying for…

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Author: Ian Carlos Campbell