Mobile Technology Updates

Following last week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, we’re exploring updates in the mobile technology space and the potential impact on emerging markets. Availability of mobile money: What does the global industry landscape look like in 2014? by Jennifer Frydrych on GSMA At last week’s Mobile World Congress, GSMA’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) released its 2014 State of the Industry Report on Mobile Financial Services. Frydrych, researcher and author of the report, discusses some key findings focusing specifically on answering the question: What did the global mobile money industry landscape look like in 2014? As of December 2014, mobile money is now available in 61% of developing markets worldwide. Aas the industry matures, the number of new launches is steadily decreasing, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa which still accounts for the majority of the 255 live services. In 2014, 53% of launches occurred outside of the region, and the Dominican Republic, Myanmar, Panama, Romania, Sudan and Timor-Leste saw mobile money launches for the first time. As mobile money markets become increasingly competitive, Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are showing growing interest in the development of interoperable solutions. There are still 54 developing countries without live mobile money services. 70% of these countries have a total population of less than 10 million, indicating that a small addressable market size makes it significantly more difficult to build a business case for investment in mobile money. In larger, more populous countries, non-enabling regulations are slowing down the launch of these services. 10 Barriers to Using Mobile Technology to Fight Inequality by Tamsin Rutter on The Guardian Mobile technology can drive inclusive growth: it opens up access to opportunities and services for the poor in even the most rural communities. However, using mobile technology to lift people out of poverty has its challenges. This article highlights 10 barriers and offers advice on how to overcome each:

  1. Lack of electricity for phone charging
  2. Lack of personal identification
  3. Literacy and language barriers
  4. Lack of partnerships between mobile money programs
  5. Focus on technology not people
  6. Gender inequality
  7. Misunderstanding local need
  8. Lack of digital skills
  9. Complex regulatory frameworks
  10. Poorer communities have been ignored

Make the Solution Fit the Challenge: Tapping into mobile telephony’s potential to address long-standing problems in Africa by Brenda Katwesigye on Next Billion Mobile telephony continues to grow exponentially and offers the potential to become a precursor for innovative solutions to long-standing challenges in Africa. To do so, it is imperative to focus on creating mobile products to address specific social challenges. According to Katswesigye, tech entrepreneur and co-founder of InstaHealth, “the solution should be appropriate to the challenge”. Challenges such as health care access and financial inclusion remain critical in Africa, but the increasing level of innovation in mobile technology is an encouraging step towards solving them. New Here?