04 April 2011

Africans Use Mobile Phones for Roles Beyond Communicating

Africans Use Mobile Phones for Roles Beyond Communicating CIO.com: "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."

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?"

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