Mobiles for Development: Understanding the Mobile Telephony Landscape

Posted by MelissaUlbricht on Mar 18, 2011

A comprehensive new study, commissioned by UNICEF, sheds light on trends and challenges in global mobile telephony. The report, Mobiles for Development, focuses on mobile tech as an area of significant future opportunity for advancing social development around the word. The report finds that there is an increasing number of mobile-based projects, with the most common sectors being health, socio-economic development and agriculture. Findings also show that "mobile tools can identify the most deprived...communities, provide cost effective interventions, overcome bottlenecks to services, and enable communities to maximise the impact of available resources."

Additionally, the report takes a look at the mobile operators in this field. It finds that there are significant business opportunities for regional operatators in the field of social development, including:

  • Network extension into rural areas
  • Network upgrading (focused on urban areas)
  • Innovative applications, content, and service

For more on mobile operators, see also our series on how to work with mobile operators.

According to the study, remaining challenges to growth in mobile telephony include:

  • Continued high price of services
  • Poor levels of compettition in a number of countries
  • Low levels of economic growth and income
  • Policy makers and regulators impeding 3G services
  • Extending networks to rural areas

If you are interested in this topic, we highly encourage you to download and read Mobiles for Development for information on regional trends, up-to-date mobile penetration and price data (including a look at contrasting Internet penetration statistics), and discussion on key drivers for mobile telephony growth.

Photo courtesy UNICEF

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