The cell phone business accounts for a large portion of the growth of marketing to the economic bottom of the pyramid (BOP). With almost 5 billion subscribers globally, multinational companies are realizing that they can no longer afford to ignore the viable business opportunities that this market sector can provide.

Like Ricardo Salinas, Carlos Slim, Mexico’s telecommunications mogul, foresaw the potential goldmine that the BOP market represents if only given accessibility to an affordable phone service—and he pinpointed the solution at just the right time. In 1989, Telmex created a cell-phone subsidiary, Telcel, which introduced the golden concept of pre-paid credit to the Mexican market.

Fixed lines in Mexico were predominantly unaffordable ...

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