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Surprising Science

Developing World Leads Phone Innovation

We’re accustomed to thinking developing economies follow in the footsteps of developed ones. The progression of mobile commerce turns that notion on its head.

No one is truly surprised to see mobile commerce bloom. What is surprising is that it is blooming in a way no one foresaw back in the 1990s, when it was expected that the U.S. and developed countries would lead the way. In practice, developing economies in Africa and the Middle East, where financial infrastructure is sorely limited, are leading the way in mobile commerce deployments. There and elsewhere, mobile wallets and mobile-driven consumer interaction schemes are flourishing in ways that define mobile commerce. The majority of these transactions are being conducted using conventional feature phones, and not sophisticated smart phones.


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