Chapter 29

Looking Internationally for Guidance

The international influence on the wireless industry is profound and complex. A look at each market could fill another book, given the differences as well as the nuances.

The commonality is that consumers and merchants worldwide are using mobile in personal and relevant ways. Also, you would be hard-pressed to find a locale where wireless is moving backward rather than steaming forward.

In 2010 a United Nations’ study on sanitation reported that far more people in India have access to a mobile phone than to a toilet. A year later, Nielsen reported that in Africa more people can get their hands on a wireless device than clean drinking water.

Among the most fascinating mobile evolutions is in the area of the so-called unbanked, those who never have had access to money services and those living on less than $2 a day.

The GSMA Mobile Money for the Unbanked program (MMU) was launched in 2009 supported by worldwide mobile operators as well as a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The program’s goal was to reach 20 million people in remote areas such as Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, El Salvador, and Mozambique by 2012.

“When you think about Asia, every country is different,” says Michael Becker, Mobile Marketing Association North America managing director. “For instance, in India, they are worried about scale because their systems are taking on so many new customers so quickly. We can definitely learn about scale. The likes of ...

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