Monthly Archives: March 2013

Mobile phones have become very popular in development communication and I am constantly on the lookout for information on how they are being used in development programs and what’s working. In my quest to stay current I followed the news from the GSMA Global Mobile World Conference which was held last week in Barcelona Spain.
I can across some interesting intel from the non-profit group Mobile Intelligence. I learned that there is actually a term for my area of interest with its own acronym, Mobile for Development (M4D). Who knew! M4D describes s collection of over 1000 development services available through mobile phones. Mobile health dominates the M4D sector but others include money, entrepreneurship and education.
What is interesting to me is that the sector is maturing from using an SMS exchange of information to a more interactive; personalize communications which involves SMS and APPS for mentoring and delivery of services. These more complex services will require smarter phone, which are still out of reach for most people in developing countries.
Interestingly, the phone company heads were also addressing the issue of internet access for developing countries. Their interest is that there are 1 billion customers up for grabs for the company that can produce the affordable smart phone at the right price point. The race is on and it appears from all the talk at the conference that we will see these affordable smart phones in the near future.
With over 40% of mobile phone subscribers as of 2012, there is still a big and growing market for mobile phones, smartphones and M4D services!
It is wonderful when the private and development sectors all are working toward the same goal!