12 April 2011
04 April 2011
IDG News Service — African mobile-phone users are increasingly turning to their devices for functions beyond making calls, said speakers at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology panel discussion on Friday.
In a continent with limited infrastructure, phones serve as income boosters, a teaching tool and wallets, according to speakers during a session at the Africa 2.0 forum.
The predominance of pre-paid phones in Africa means that "air time is exactly equivalent to cash," said Nathan Eagle, CEO of Txt Eagle, a company he started in 2008 that aims to help mobile-phone users in developing nations earn income with their handsets.
With Africans spending 10 percent of their yearly income on air time, Eagle said the question becomes: "How can we think of the phone as a mechanism to compensate people?"