Posts Tagged ‘economic development’
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.
So what can the development communities learn from the mobile operator approach? Where are they going in their “emerging markets” – the future of mobile coverage, usage tariffs, distribution channels, and network sharing? And what’s the next paradigm shift in technology that can spur more development – be it public or private?
Please join Terry Kramer, Group Strategy & Business Improvement Director for Vodafone in an intimate, informal, and in person, discussion around the nexus of mobile technology and international development at the next Technology Salon.
The Future of Mobile-Empowered Development
April Technology Salon
Friday, April 24, 8:30-10am
UN Foundation Conference Room
1800 Mass Avenue, NW, Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20036 (map)
Our gracious host is the UN Foundation and we’ll have coffee and donuts for a good morning sugar rush to wake everyone up. Two changes with this Salon – we’ll meet on Friday morning, instead of Thursday, and Alice Liu will be the guest moderator, as I will be in San Francisco.
There needs to be a micro mobile telco solution, an entrepreneur-led, small-scale business model to deliver connectivity to rural or underserved areas not seen as commercially viable by large GSM providers.
In this model, voice communication is the original “killer app” – the key functionality that drives early and widespread adoption and revenue. But should broadband data also be provided, even if there isn’t obvious demand?
Broadband data connectivity is needed for many applications in virtually every development sector, from e-government to e-health, and is often central to any educational intervention. And as mobile carrier backhauls are almost always IP networks, the technology it there.
In fact, there was also consensus that technology was not the main micro mobile telco constraint – costs and functionality continue to develop to the advantage of potential effective solutions like WiFi mesh networks, WiMax technology, and GSM infrastructure.
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Mobile phones are an amazing success story in the developing world, bringing transformative opportunities to many underserved communities. But they do not reach out to remote rural villages – where there is demand and purchasing power, albeit limited – and a scaleable micro mobile teclo solution could transform communications and development for the poorest of the poor.
So what might be the business and technology models that would allow entrepreneurs to roll out mobile phone systems to these underserved communities? And could development organizations play a role?
Which technology would be best: GSM? WiFi? WiMax? What’s the business case: Handset sales? Subscriptions? Airtime Only? Could voice services be augmented with data? Even broadband? How might an entrepreneur serve 400 customers at $10 per month revenue or $48,000 per annum? And should aid organizations seed these businesses?
Join David Ferguson, for a lively discussion of possible micro mobile telco models and expect to hit the whiteboards with your ideas.
For the July Technology Salon, we’re returning to the cellular technology world, with a twist. We’ll be discussing mobile banking, m-Banking, but we’ll move beyond the handsets and the hype to discuss the legal frameworks required to make it a reality.
In some countries, text messages cannot be used as evidence in court – a problem if that’s all you have to show for a money transfer. In other regions, cross-border and multi-currency transactions is the domain of banks, not mobile operators. In either situation or more, what is the development community’s response to facilitate m-Banking?
Please join Michael Tetelman of AED, and Ann Casanova of CARANA, at the UN Foundation headquarters for a vibrant discussion of their work in overcoming legal and regulatory barriers to make local and intra-regional m-Banking a reality in the developing world.
Mobile phones have established themselves as the communication and networking platform of choice for billions of the world’s consumers, most of whom are at the base of the global economic pyramid. Worldwide, mobile phone subscribers outnumber Internet users almost 3 to 1, with much of that gap coming from skyrocketing mobile phone use in Africa, India and China.
Yet new mobile computing platforms, such as the XO laptop from One Laptop Per Child and the Asus Eee PC promise to radically change Internet access with breakthrough portability, performance, power and price. Does “4P Computing” pose a challenge to mobile phone dominance, or does each approach blend into the other?