Mobile 2.0 applications: Potential use among BOP in emerging Asia

Posted on May 10, 2010  /  1 Comments

An article by an Indian journalist who attended the recently concluded Expert Forum in Islamabad, summarizes various “Mobile 2.0” initatives deployed by emerging South and Southeast Asian countries in recent years. “Mobile 2.0” applications can be described as those which offer services which are more-than-voice, such as payments, money transfers, and mobile banking.

Bus tickets:

The use of mobile phone to buy tickets has shown promising results for the public transport system in Sri Lanka. Currently, Government buses use both ticket books and manual ticket machines to issue tickets on payment of cash. Private buses mainly use digital ticketing machines that print out the tickets, said Harsha de Silva of LIRNEasia.

The major problems in this system include a 25 per cent revenue leakage for the bus operator, a process that is time-consuming and the bother of carrying exact change, for the commuter. The challenge is to reduce revenue leakage and speed up the transaction.

With 10 million passengers daily using 10,000 private and 5,500 Government buses, and 13 million of the 20 million Sri Lankan population having access to mobile phones, there is a fit case for mobile-based ticket vending, de Silva said.

…NFC is a standards-based, short-distance, wireless connectivity technology which enables two-way conversation between electronic gadgets. The user can authorise the payment requested by the NFC reader. While Nokia had introduced the NFC technology in 2005, in recent times an NFC SIM has also been introduced by China Telecom, Nokia and Japan’s NTT DoComo. Mobile-based bus and rail ticket systems are operational in developed nations, and it is time to try them out in South Asian countries with appropriate innovations, de Silva added.

Pakistan: Experiencing Easy Paisa

In Pakistan, Telenor has in collaboration with the State Bank of Pakistan launched ‘Easy Paisa’, whereby the mobile phone can be used for payment of utility bills and money transfer through banks. The service was launched last year with the help of the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA).

Kenya: Embarking on M-PESA

This African country with 75 per cent of its 39 million people living in rural areas has an interesting story on M-PESA ( pesa is Swahili for money). In five years, the mobile-based initiative has virtually killed all informal and some formal modes of money remittances in this country. It has indeed nearly killed the post office, said Muriuki Mureitha of Summit Strategies.

India: Agri value-addition

About eight services have been launched in India since 2007 targeting the agricultural sector, said Sriganesh Lokanathan of LIRNEasia in his presentation.

Of these, the Reuters Market Light (RML) is a subscription-based model while IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Ltd (IKSL) is free. Technologies such as IVR, SMS, WAP and so on are being deployed to provide the services in at least nine languages at present, Sriganesh told Business Line.

Read the full article here.

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