The number of users is still small: even among young people in South-East Asia (a tech-friendly lot) only 8% had used “more-than-voice” services, according to a poll by LIRNEasia. But the potential is exciting. Mobile phones are the world’s most widely distributed computers. Even in poor countries about two-thirds of people have access to one (see chart 1). As a result, such devices and their networks, though mainly still much simpler than in the rich world, have become a platform on which many other services can be built. This boosts innovation—just as smartphones and faster wireless data networks have led to an explosion of mobile applications (“apps”)”
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