Monday, 11 January 2010

Could Mobile Phones Support Economic Growth in Developing Countries?

At the recent CES 2010 show in Las Vegas Nokia's chief Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo suggested that mobile phones could help to improve the lives of those in developing countries. At first this statement seems a bit strange as we often think of mobile phones a a luxury rather than a necessity but it isn't perhaps as far-fetched as it might first seem. The suggestion is that mobile phones can benefit those who live in areas without the necessary infrastructure which we associate with a high quality of life.

40 percent of the world population don't have access to banking with micro-banking via mobile devices this figure could be greatly reduced. There is also the potential to increase literacy and eduction via mobile phones. Imagine if there had been an automated Tsunami warning system which updated people via mobile phones during the boxing day Tsunami of 2004. Imagine if families in remote rural location could be in contact with doctors instantly when someone fell ill.

I wont go into great detail here but one you start to think of mobile devices as mini-computers and a way of keeping in touch across great distances the possibilities are endless. The production costs of basic level phones are low and free SIM cards or pay as you go contracts offer a low cost option. The Skype Mobile on Three lets users communicate free of charge via VOIP so topping up isn't even an issue. The communication infrastructure in developing countries may be lacking but as they are currently the biggest growth market this is set to change.

No comments: