The Mobile Minute: Mobile Subscriptions Per Capita, Challenges to mHealth Projects, and the Importance of Password Protection

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Oct 13, 2011

Today's Mobile Minute brings you news about the decline of knock-off phones in China, mobile phone statistics in South Africa, the case for password protecting your mobile phone, challenges to mHealth projects in Africa, and new global mobile statistics.

  • A new article from the L.A. Times looks at the fall in popularity of shanzhai (knock-off) phones in China, as shanzhai phones now represent only 7% of the Chinese market, down from 20% in 2007. The article says that the trend for buying brand-name phones is due to the greater availability of low-cost smartphones, and a preference for high-end features in smartphones that the knock-offs can not replicate.
  • Nielsen Wire recently released a study on mobile use in South Africa, examining everything from network loyalty and social mobile use (such as downloading ringtones, wallpapers, and screensavers), to comparisons between mobile contracts and pre-paid phones and the use of SMS and mobile instant messaging services.
  • Do you password protect your phone? Read Write Web reports that more than half of smartphone owners surveyed by Confident Technologies do not lock and password protect their phones. If your phone is stolen, lost, or confiscated then all of your personal data (including contacts in the address book, emails saved in your inbox, and log-ins for social media sites like Twitter and Facebook) stored on your phone could be compromised; using a password makes this information harder to access.
  • PBS examines the hype around mHealth projects in the developing world, and whether mobile technologies are successful at managing health issues. The article looks at challenges to mHealth projects such as limited mobile access for beneficiaries, spotty network coverage, the high costs of large-scale projects, and the difficulty of maintaining charged phones.

Mobile Stats for Africa: Video Report on the Growth of Mobiles

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 15, 2011

The Praekelt Foundation, a South African organization that runs several mobile-based programs in South Africa, recently produced a catchy video infographic of mobile statistics for Africa. Looking at accessibility, growth, and usage, the video gives a good look at how mobiles have taken off in in the continent of Africa.

The video covers a lot of facts about mobiles, from a breakdown of the rapid growth of mobile phones compared to other forms of media (like radio and television) to the huge drop in price points (the first mobile phone cost US $3995 in 1973 compared to roughly US $15 for certain models today). Some facts from the video:

  • "Today the number of SMSs sent and received everyday exceeds the population of the planet"
  • "In 2002 there were 49 million cellphones in Africa, now there are 500 million"
  • "In Africa, over 95% of mobile users are pre-paid subscribers"

The video also covers other uses of mobile phones such as Please Call Me messages (in which pre-paid mobile users who have used up their airtime send a free message requesting a call back from whomever they want to speak to) and mobile payments, reporting that almost 11% of Kenya's GDP goes through the M-PESA system. M-PESA, a mobile money transfer system, registers almost 10,000 new people each day to use mobile phones to transfer money credits.

If you're curious about the mobile situation in Africa, take a few minutes to watch!

Pricing and Mobile Usage: Wireless Intelligence Reports on Worldwide Mobile Usage Trends

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 08, 2011

In a report on worldwide trends in mobile usage, Wireless Intelligence investigates the relationship between decreased prices of call times and the related increase in mobile usage around the world over the last decade. "Analysis: How Pricing Dynamics Affect Mobile Usage" looks at both developed and developing countries to see where call prices have changed most dramatically in the last ten years, and how those changes have affected call times and mobile usage. Although the full report is restricted to Wireless Intelligence members, some of the key data is summarized below.