Something just feels dirty about this following piece of news.
World association of GSM providers, under the umbrella of the GSM Association (GSMA), has announced an initiative to provide funds for nations in the emerging markets area, in its efforts to encourage a better environment for mobile growth and drive economic and social development.
The emerging markets include countries in Africa, Asia and Russia.
Perhaps its just us, but could GSM standards advocates be trying to get the poor "hooked" on GSM. Because once you're using it, its hard to stop.. and switch to the competing CDMA standards.
According to the GSMA, Accenture Development Partnerships has been engaged as implementation partner, and in using the Fund to back a wide range of projects that provide mobile technology to local communities that previously had little or no access to telecommunications. Development Fund Board has also been established to oversee the projects, including representatives from the GSMA.
The GSM Association has, since October last year, been working on the pilot phase projects with operators in eight countries in Asia and Africa. Last year, Motorola won the bid to supply handsets which would cost African subscribers less than $US30 (about N5,000) to buy a phone.
Imagine if Hewlet Packard donated printers to poor schools around the world, only to get them in the habit of buying high-margin printer ink on a recurring basis. Could these development projects by GSM providers be something similar? Is GSM making a landgrab in order to beat out CDMA? From here:
Several forms of CDMA have been introduced in Africa. The progress of cdmaOne, however, has been hindered by the aggressive deployment of GSM on the continent. Even Telecel International, which pioneered CDMA in Africa, has changed sides. In Zambia the CDMA equipment deployed in the capital of Lusaka in 1997 is being replaced and rollout expanded to Lusaka and the Copperbelt.
"It was purely a political decision," says Michel Tsumbu, Telecel International's Africa director in business development. "The Zambian government decided in May 1998 to comply with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) conditions to deploy GSM in the area and the rest of Africa is likely to follow suit." [Emphasis added]
Charity can be more than meets the eye.