Mobile services: a game-changer for the greater good
March 13, 2015 EditorMobile services are the extension services of inclusion. Increasingly, the world’s poor – and especially the bottom 40 percent in terms of income – are being reached via mobile devices by government agencies, development partners, banks, companies and others.As we extend networks, and in particular broadband, to reach more isolated populations and the bottom 40 percent, we need to foster the development of relevant content in substance (including government services) as well as form (including pictorial and video information for the illiterate).
The private sector is the key driver of this entire change process, which government should facilitate.
The acceleration of technological change – with mobile is at the forefront – is leading to increased convergence between networks, devices, services and content providers. Judging from what I saw and heard during last week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, my sense is that telecommunications regulation (as practiced today) will soon become obsolete, overshadowed by the importance of ensuring an overall balance and flexibility in this broader, converging market.
Consequently, institutions like the World Bank will need to find better ways to ensure that key regulators talk to each other and work towards the greater public good. This includes not only telecom and competition authorities, but also broadcasting, financial services and other regulatory bodies. We should facilitate these conversations between regulators, especially in view of the fast-growing involvement of telecommunications entities in the mobile money space.
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