LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

M-donations to Haiti: Will this be permitted in most countries?

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami showed, among other things, the power of the Internet to raise money. Now Haiti is showing the power of the mobile to raise donations for earthquake relief.

Old-fashioned television telethons can stretch on for hours. But the latest charity appeal is short enough for Twitter: “Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to @RedCross relief.”

In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, many Americans are reaching for their cellphones to make a donation via text message. And plenty of them are then spreading the word to others on sites like Twitter and Facebook.

The American Red Cross, which is working with a mobile donations firm called mGive, said Thursday that it had raised more than $5 million this way.

Now I wonder would this be permitted in our countries? Haven’t thought about it at length, so I may be wrong, but methinks there will be some barriers. Any views? Solutions?

4 Comments to M-donations to Haiti: Will this be permitted in most countries?

  1. fuss word's Gravatar fuss word
    January 15, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Permalink


    our regulator is struggling to put interconnect in place, wonder they understand the concept in the first place.

    But if I remember correct we had a similar system of donations for “Api wenuwen Api”. In this model the mobile operator collects the money and handover to the fund.

  2. Divakar's Gravatar Divakar
    January 15, 2010 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    This works well in a developed country context where most mobile subscribers have post-paid accounts and get monthly bills. I am not sure how well it would work for folks with prepaid accounts (how will they get receipts for their donation for starters?) Revenue model wise, it is similar to any value-added service (stock alerts, daily horoscope, special charge sms etc) provided by a mobile operator and billed to the customer at the end of the month in the bill. From my research, this is the most effective mobile payment service that a carrier can provide without involving financial institutions and not crossing any boundaries set by banking regulations.

  3. fuss word's Gravatar fuss word
    January 15, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    in the prepaid business this may sometimes erodes operators ARPU as the customer will limit his conversations to the balance available in the mobile wallet.

  1. By on January 15, 2010 at 8:23 pm


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