A Economist é poderosa. Os caras sabem falar com propriedade sobre as coisas. A edição dessa semana tem uma matéria muito interessante sobre a importância dos celulares nos mercados emergentes, inclusive na África.
O mundo tem 4 bilhões de celulares no mundo. O número é impressionante. Muitas pessoas, mas muitas mesmo, não têm acesso à água e à energia, mas têm celular. Afinal, é uma tecnologia barata e sem fio… não precisa de infra-estrutura física, que, em países pouco desenvolvidos, é atrada. Basta uma antena e pronto.
Na África, 4 em cada 10 pessoas têm um aparelho. E ele é usado de forma muito mais completa que aqui no Brasil. Eles vêm desbloqueados e pra mudar de país é só comprar um chip. Com eles, as pessoas pagam contas e mandam dinheiro para a família em outras cidades ou estado. Compra-se saldo em qualquer esquina, aparelho também. Não precisa ir em loja. As zungeiras vendem, os putos vendem, tudo é na rua. Não tem burocracia.
A special report on telecoms in emerging markets.
Sep 24th 2009
BOUNCING a great-grandchild on her knee in her house in Bukaweka, a village in eastern Uganda, Mary Wokhwale gestures at her surroundings. “My mobile phone has been my livelihood,” she says. In 2003 Ms Wokhwale was one of the first 15 women in Uganda to become “village phone” operators. Thanks to a microfinance loan, she was able to buy a basic handset and a roof-mounted antenna to ensure a reliable signal. She went into business selling phone calls to other villagers, making a small profit on each call. This enabled her to pay back her loan and buy a second phone. The income from selling phone calls subsequently enabled her to set up a business selling beer, open a music and video shop and help members of her family pay their children’s school fees. Business has dropped off somewhat in the past couple of years as mobile phones have fallen in price and many people in her village can afford their own. But Ms Wokhwale’s life has been transformed.
Ms Wokhwale prospered because being able to make and receive phone calls is so important to people that even the very poor are prepared to pay for it. In places with bad roads, unreliable postal services, few trains and parlous landlines, mobile phones can substitute for travel, allow quicker and easier access to information on prices, enable traders to reach wider markets, boost entrepreneurship and generally make it easier to do business. A study by the World Resources Institute found that as developing-world incomes rise, household spending on mobile phones grows faster than spending on energy, water or indeed anything else.
The reason why mobile phones are so valuable to people in the poor world is that they are providing access to telecommunications for the very first time, rather than just being portable adjuncts to existing fixed-line phones, as in the rich world. “For you it was incremental—here it’s revolutionary,” says Isaac Nsereko of MTN, Africa’s biggest operator. According to a recent study, adding an extra ten mobile phones per 100 people in a typical developing country boosts growth in GDP per person by 0.8 percentage points.