The Next Billion Cell Phone Users

Thursday, August 6, 2009

If you’ve ever traveled the world, you’ll eventually discover that the US mobile phone market and technologies are always about 2 – 4 years behind Japan, Korea, the Nordics and even the Philippines and India. The US with it’s advanced telecommunication infrastructure is hobbled by its own enormous capital expenditure investments in hardwired systems. Mobile infrastructures in emerging countries have no need to string copper and fiber optics along great distances to deliver widely available communications services. But it is still a struggle to reach billions of people.

On the device side of the equation, the iPhone, Palm Pre and Blackberry have brought excitement and innovation as new cool and nifty gadgets. Mobile applications have become very complex ranging from complex business applications to plain fun and banal prurience. However, the true power of phones, mobile or not has not really changed since the time of Alexander Graham Bell – allowing and giving two (or more) people separated by distance the ability to communicate.

There are many parts of the world who would not care or need the iPhone’s thousands of apps. They just need to communicate by voice or text messaging. So here’s an Indian company that was brought to my attention (Disclosure: I have no interests whatsoever in the company nor have I had any communications with the company) – VNL. The company is developing a set of technologies called WorldGSM and it is interesting for 3 reasons:

First, it’s target market is the next billion (I say way more than that!) people who do not have access to any communications infrastructure.

Source: mobile phones (link opens in a new window)