The New York Times magazine recently featured an article (you may need to be registered to nytimes.com to read this) about Jan Chipchase, human bahaviour researcher aka user anthropologist, and his quest to make user-friendly mobile phones for everyone who doesn’t yet have one, so that he/she can maximise his/her economic potential, the idea being that – like landlines before it and the Internet now – mobile phones enhance connectivity and help the different nodes in a web of traders and consumers reach one another more efficiently. Enjoyed the article.
I mentioned this to a colleague, and he pointed out that the infrastructure for the mobile phone network – those towers and stuff – would need to be built first, and isn’t that expensive. That didn’t cross my mind – but I guess the business model of those mobile network/service providers would be to build the infrastructure and then live off the services they can then offer to mobile phone users. Wonder when the “break even” point is – five years? Ten? One?!