OPEN SOURCE AND THE MOBILE PHONE

Apart from the commission reports and the endless downfall of our stock markets nothing else makes news as is related to the mobile telephony world. In fact listening or watching television these days feels like being in the reception halls of these mobile companies. Its not bad but waking up to a Safaricom tune and the care stereo on Zain you feel like zungu zungu with orange Kenya.

 

Still mobile telephony is making more news and positive ones more than any other sector. Our region will be growing at 30% percent over the next four years. We still have to introduce a greater majority of people to the internet (we just have over 2.0million in Kenya) Nairobi has a population of over 3 million folks.

 

More users will be using their phones on other now important products like M-pesa and sokotele, Data services especially in baking and this will definitely make it easier to introduce the other value additions.

 

What is encouraging is the fast development of the industry in the west. With Symbian becoming bedfellows with open source and the emergence of Google Android, T-Mobile intro of G1 things may be getting better for third world countries. Oh did I mention RIM and its blackberry app store….

 

What this means is simple. When it becomes easier and cheaper to acquire software, risk associated by limited information will dramatically drop. As a result the end user will just have to download and application and configure it to his or her own tastes. Users of open source are increasingly making it cheaper for African operators to come up with products that have dramatic impacts on the society.

 

Undoubtedly more people are using the mobile money transfers for their businesses; probably what is needed is for African governments to use mobile telephony to deliver some of its services.

 

For example I have visited many of our governments websites they are usually very well done. Unfortunately everyone knows that you can not conduct a business transaction with just a brochure.  

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