Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cellphones, Real-time Prices, Real-time Negotiations

One hype/rhetoric in the field of "ICT for Development" is that price information, in the hands of poor producers, can help such producers gain leverage in dealing with middlemen. This is maybe true, but then again too many "ICT for Development" initiatives are so focused on the Internet, they forget the simple things that actually work: real-time voice communication.

Harvard economist Greg Mankiw pointed me to this Washington Post article on how cell phones have levelled the playing field in favor of poor fishers in the Indian fishing industry.

In this case, cell phones are more effective than a website containing list of prices, given that it's ubiquitous:
With 6 million new cellphone subscribers each month, industry analysts predict that in four years nearly half of India's 1.1 billion people will be connected by cellphone.
And dirt cheap:
less than a penny a minute -- the world's cheapest cellphone call rates
Technorati technorati tags:

No comments:

Post a Comment