The Digital 'Lifeline': Mobile's role in emerging markets

Geoffrey Precourt

Most marketers agree that the mobile 'revolution' is well underway globally. New research from the University of Southern California (USC) supports that contention, with a series of insights from developing countries.

In a presentation to the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) Audience Measurement conference in New York, Lucy Hood, Executive Director, Institute for Communication Technology Management (CTM) at USC's Marshall School of Business, observed, "Emerging economies is where the most significant [mobile] growth will come in the next 10 to 15 years."

Growth will come in vast markets where mobile penetration is still growing but where the raw numbers of subscribers are already staggering for a technology that is barely a decade old.

Key global trends for mobile, as reported by the USC research unit, include:

  • Mobile internet is – and will remain – the primary access for many people who will never use a computer.
  • Globally, social mobile networking is "much more than fun."
  • The tools of mobile payments can enable a variety of financial-service transactions.