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Poor infrastructure is crippling mobile for good

10 Dec 2012

1566New report maps out the mobile future


Finance and education sectors have the greatest potential for impact from mobile technology according to business executives. 

Of the 8,500 business executives polled on this topic by London Business School, seventy-three percent believe that these sectors have the greatest potential for social impact when it comes to mobile technologies. 

One in three (thirty-five percent) of those polled said that the biggest barrier to mobile technology realising its potential for social impact was poor national infrastructure.  This was more pronounced in developing nations where forty-five percent of those polled cited this as the greatest barrier.

This poll follows a new report, “M World” by London Business School professors Kamalini Ramdas and Rajesh Chandy, which provides unique analysis of how mobile phones are changing the world and the challenges facing the next mobile revolution. 

Their research suggests that mobiles are at the cusp of another inflection, with smartphones sweeping the world, prices going down and capabilities going up.  Yet with these bright ideas, smart technology and investment there are still a number of obstacles that are standing in the way of mobiles to reach their full potential.    

“While the array of initiatives and opportunities is striking, it is notable that few have achieved significant scale in their activities.  There is an incredibly dispersed range of people and companies doing interesting and innovative things.  But, to date, few have really achieved commercial and popular scale,” lament Ramdas and Kamalini. 

For impact at scale, Ramdas and Chandy provide five wide ranging recommendations for those in the mobile world and for policy makers: 


  1. Define “core” more broadly, invest more aggressively across industry boundaries.
  2. Aggregate, consolidate, and coordinate across projects, pilots, and platforms.
  3. Organise for innovation
  4. Develop the supporting infrastructure
  5. Strengthen the evidence base for user demand, commercial viability, and social impact.

 “M World” is being published to set the agenda for a one-day conference Mobiles for Good, sponsored by the Vodafone Foundation and London Business School. The conference, on December 10, brings together some of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners in the mobile world.