GigaOm has an interesting post about mobile revolution in areas such as banking in Kenya.
Safaricom realized a huge opportunity and started a mobile payment service called M-PESA. To call M-PESA a success would be an understatement, according to Eagle. “Within about a year, (Safaricom) became the biggest bank in East Africa.” Today you can use your phone to pay for cab rides and electricity, to get money out of ATMs without owning an ATM card or even having a traditional bank account.
Eagle shared another striking example of the transformative power of mobile payments during his ETech talk. Rural communities used to have to pay a lot of money upfront in order to get a modern well capable of providing clean drinking water. Now, there are companies that install these wells for free, complete with an integrated cell phone payment system. Want some water? Just pay as you go with your M-PESA account.
“It has transformed the country,” says Eagle.
I believe mobile applications, mobile texting aps in particular, provide a huge transformative oppotunities in developing countries such as Kenya. We will soon be launching a SMS based service in India that we hope will make a big difference in people’s lives in an important area: healthcare. Stay tuned.