I was recently listening to Johannesburg’s Classic FM to a interview with Stafford Maisie, country manager of Google in SA. Part of the discussion was on the growth of Internet access via cellphones. Because of our appalling fixed-line telco history, South Africa has become one of the innovators in cellphone deployment and use.
The population of SA is 40+ million, only 5 million have fixed-line Internet access, but almost everyone in the country has a cellphone. Research by Google found that 1 in 6 of all google searches in SA are from cellphones. SA is also one of the early adopters of Google mobile search.
In many developing countries, the situation must be similar. The problem for me is that most of the business applications have come from the developed world where PCs and a fixed-line Internet cloud are taken as the standard for Internet access.
At last however, the BBC reports that some companies are beginning to recognise the potential of the mobile Internet.