At the Future of Mobile-Empowered Development we focused on the desire by mobile network operators (MNO) to increase revenues and market share by expanding into rural areas, where it becomes more difficult and costly to provide service. We also recognized that the development community wants to capitalize on the success and reach of the mobile network to assist the poor, but these two actors are still wrestling with how to make that happen.
So how would the development community partner with an MNO like Vodafone? The Salon identified two issues that are key to developing partnership opportunities:
- MNOs have specific business objectives and drivers. The development community needs to understand these requirements to design projects that will engage MNOs.
- MNOs want to partner with the development community. They are looking for key applications that solve a common need for many in developing countries. MNOs want to satisfy those needs for better business results.
In essence, both parties need to understand each other’s business better. Let’s begin with briefly outlining Vodafone’s strategy and then what they are looking for and how development initiatives can partner with them.