Mobile technology has been a hot market for years... but it's on track to get a lot hotter.
According to a new report from the World Bank, the number of mobile subscriptions will exceed the human population by 2015. And that means not just big opportunities for nimble entrepreneurs, but also big changes for the global economy.
"The recent rapid innovation in the mobile sector has generated significant disruptive technological change and uncertainty,” the report states. “This turmoil is also lowering barriers to entry, however, and generating fresh opportunities for small and young firms and entrepreneurs to displace legacy systems, innovate, and grow.”
The study shows that recent mobile growth is happening faster in underdeveloped areas, such as Mexico and Indonesia, than anywhere else. Now that 75% of the world has access to a mobile phone, developing countries are actively engaging in mobile applications, specifically in the health sector the study says.
Transferring money has also become a widespread mobile phenomenon. According to the study, in 2001 only two countries were using mobile payment options. By 2011, a reported 74 countries had access to at least one mobile payment system. Farmers and traders in countries like India, Niger, and Uganda have reported business growth as a direct result of access to mobile payment and other mobile applications.
“Mobile applications not only empower the individual users,” the study says. “They enrich their lifestyles and livelihoods, and boost the economy as a whole.”