I think William Lester and Fola Odufuwa are pointing out something
important--the potential of cellular networks to provide data
connectivity inexpensively, if imperfectly. As converged devices
proliferate and newer network technologies spread to developing
countries, these problems will ease--and in the meantime, the installed
user base is more than twice that of the Internet and growing more
rapidly. Phones already have the potential to provide secure ID
(combining voice and face recognition at the server level), and can
serve as powerful transaction platforms (see the current
micro-entrepreneur reseller activity with Smart Buddy in the
Phillipines.) Whether WiFi-like or cellular solutions are most feasible
may depend as much on the regulatory environment (what's legal) and on
the openness to innovation in cellular providers.

Allen L. Hammond
Vice President for Innovation & Special Projects
World Resources Institute
10 G Street NE
Washington, DC 20002  USA
V (202) 729-7777 
F (202) 729-7775

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