Poor markets make good cents

Poor markets make good cents – phones, finance and innovation at the base of the pyramid
David Lehr and Daniel Greenstadt
Vodafone Receiver

When mobile phone adoption first began to spread beyond just business customers in Europe and the US, it was easy to overlook the potential in other markets and assume that base of pyramid (BOP) residents could neither afford nor make effective use of mobile phones. After all, most of them had never made even a landline phone call, phone rates were extremely high relative to incomes; and without a critical mass of phone users, who were they going to call anyway? As the following examples show, conventional wisdom was wrong and the mobile phone is being adopted and used among these consumers in ways that were impossible to predict even a few years ago. In fact, today, Africa and India have the world's fastest growing subscriber rates, with Latin America and the Middle East not far behind.

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