Weekly Review May 26 – June 1

Every week, we read dozens of articles on our favorite industry trends that relate to our investment thesis. We pick the most popular trend from the week and share the top articles along with our thoughts.

This week, we’re covering the headlines on the mobile phone’s continued boom in developing markets.

How The Future of Mobile Lies in the Developing World” by Erica Kochi on TechCrunch
Kochi of UNICEF’s RapidSMS platform shares examples of the opportunities in mobile innovation that are unique to emerging markets. The best phones in the developing world are cheap, rugged, simple, and have a long battery life. As such, the best innovations are born out of creative innovation despite the limited availability of data-enabled smartphones.

Mobile money: Getting to scale in emerging markets” by Beth Cobert, Brigit Helms, and Doug Parker, a McKinsey Quartlery report
McKinsey released a new report this week covering the scale of mobile money. Given the ubiquity of mobile phones and lack of bank accounts, McKinsey says, “Providers can do better.” We agree that there’s a lot of room for innovation and improved execution in the mobile money sector. To pull this off, McKinsey points out, providers must better understand their markets, a common challenge when working with the underserved.

Voda launches £70 smartphone” by Tim Green on MobileEntertainment
Vodafone, dominating a significant portion of the African market, is introducing a new smartphone valued around $100 USD. The phone, “Smart II,” uses the Android OS. Vodafone is launching this smartphone to attract more consumers to the smartphone market. Patrick Chomet, Vodafone representative, commented: “We believe the Smart II could represent a tipping point in the evolution of the market, bringing a new wave of consumers to the supermobile world for the first time.”

Gartner: Over $172B in Mobile Payments in 2012; SMS, Web Most Popular Routes” by Ingrid Lunden on TechCrunch
TechCrunch covers Gartner’s new report on the global mobile payments market. Over 212 million people use mobile payments, primarily on SMS and the web. This year, payment volume globally is expected to reach $172B and will climb to $617B by 2016. In Gartner’s projections, the Asia/Pacific region is the largest market by volume, consistently followed by Africa. Together the two regions will account for more than 60% of all mobile payments in 2016.

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