Will Google dominate the African Mobile landscape?

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google mobile phone
At the end of last year rumours were flying around about the Google Mobile phone being available by 2008.

Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch reports that now there are rumours that Google will become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) via a deal with UK mobile phone company O2.

While reading BizCommunity via the new & improved RSS the following was uncovered about the growth of mobile internet usage in Africa.

South African mobile internet usage is growing exponentially. We have a unique situation in that there is a very high mobile phone to PC ratio – one of the highest in the world. This coupled with extremely affordable mobile data rates, high penetration of GPRS or 3G ready phones and tech-savvy consumers will provide the catalyst for future growth.รƒยขรขโ€šยฌ?

These market factors have driven the adoption of disruptive communication services such as MXit, now boasting over 3.5 million users. And, will provide a platform for the rapid adoption of mobile web content going forward.

Several international reports provide further evidence of the potential that exists for the proliferation of the mobile web locally:

  • BBC reported 20% of their international WAP traffic originating from South Africa;
  • Opera Mini, a leading mobile browser, report South Africa as one of their top five territories worldwide;
  • An international mobile advertising network claim over 60 million page views per month originating from South Africa.

Would it not make more sense for Google to roll their mobile phones out in Africa sooner rather than later? This could stimulate economic & social development quicker than waiting even more years for the Telecommunications Monopoly saga to sort itself out.

Screw the handouts to Africa, give us the tools that allow us to solve our own problems.

Let me put my money mobile where my mouth is: You will not see me at TED Global 2007 with a notebook.

Will be telling our story with a super-thin Samsung d900*. If you’re wondering how on earth it is possible to do a presentation with a mobile phone:

Document Viewer
Turn to your mobile phone when you need to access business documents while you’re on the move. Document Viewer delivers the productivity of your office to your mobile. The Ultra Edition 12.9 supports MS Office, TXT, Adobe PDF, HTML, and JPEG.

TV Output
An indispensable tool for business conferences and presentations, TV/Audio Output enables the mobile’s content to be easily exhibited on television screens.

Your Web AddiCT runs everything on Linux but fortunately OpenOffice & Google docs supports exporting to the closed wall garden which is Microsoft Office.

More questions… If Microsoft’s local TV ads portrays the company as one which supports the development of business on the African continent why is it that there are no representatives from Microsoft on the list of attendees/speakers/sponsors at TED Global 2007? Think I have the answer to that: TED’s tagline is Ideas worth spreading.

*Discalimer: Samsung have given us a d900 to review & test. More on this a little later on.

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