Here is an interesting article from The Economist on the mobile phone industry. What interested me, apart from the widely known facts about the growth in the mobile industry, is the impact on GDP. Adding 10 phones for every 100 individuals (10%) creates a 0.8% growth in per capita GDP.
In the developing world, the mobile is not just a communication and social device but has real day-to-day financial impact on the lives of people. I see visible examples of this upward mobility (ha-ha) all the time in India , be it making small vendors more accessible to their customers or providing important crop pricing data to rural farmers. I think the most important thing is it empowers individuals by giving them direct access to people and information. A farmer, for example, previously would have relied on middle men for information and the middle men captured most of the value. With mobiles the farmer gets direct access to markets and information and this not only creates better economic value for the farmer but also empowers him to plan his crops & yields better. I believe we have really seen the tip of the iceberg here. The opportunity to introduce new services to provide new ways of doing business will not only have a huge impact on people’s everyday lives but also create large economic activity. In the next few years, we are sure to see large companies created to leverage this opportunity.