Making affordable communication devices for the BOP is not a high school project. It requires strong backing from every stakeholder of the industry. GSMA’s Emerging Market Handsets (EMH) was intended to make the mobile handsets at or below $30 level. Motorola won the GSMA’s deal. My study on Stolen Handsets has captured the semiconductor industry’s involvement in scaling down the handset prices.
In an interesting post, that we recommend you read in full, Micheal Gurstein makes the case for telecenters despite the Nenasala debacle of the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka. Here is his key question: Or to put the question another way—what do we lose if we (or rural Sri Lankans) only have mobile communications with optional access to the Internet and we by-pass the personal computer completely? What happens if that becomes the communications paradigm for a range of countries such as Sri Lanka who, having not managed to effectively respond to the digital divide to this point, decide basically to give up the fight and leave it all to the ambitions and creativity of the mobile operators. We can say more, much more (and have, with more evidence than casual observation), but here is the comment I left on his blog: “Give up the fight and leave it all to the ambition and creativity of the mobile operators?” Well, isn’t that a smooth rhetorical move?