Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Mobile Talktime Currency

At first, the transactions seemed fairly straightforward. “Instead of purchasing a voucher or scratchcard, people would purchase airtime using their phones. They would also, we discovered, trade airtime amongst themselves where, for example, someone with airtime worth 500 Naira sells airtime worth 200 Naira on to the next person in exchange for hard currency. The seller’s balance of airtime would be reduced by 200 Naira.” - iAfrica.com

According to Gartner, developing nations are adopting innovation and technology faster than mature markets for three main reasons.

Firstly, emerging markets have fewer legacies enabling them to leapfrog technology and commercialise it faster, making them ideal test beds.

Secondly, in highly-constrained environments, which might include poor infrastructure and low affordability, there is an acute need for products that can serve the local market better, rather than products designed for the developed world.

As an example, Gartner said mobile phones which require less power and have built-in connectivity are more suitable for emerging markets than PCs. They are also cheaper than PCs and more adaptable to the emerging market environment.

Gartner predicts that mobile phones will outnumber PCs by a factor of 15:1 in developing markets by 2010.

"Thirdly, emerging countries such as China and India have the ambition to lead the IT industry in the global market, and innovation is their only way to compete globally", it said. - ET
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