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Connecting the next 5 billion users: Emerging markets and the need for new business models

[With so much excitement about smartphone growth, we often forget that the biggest opportunity still lies ahead, in connecting the next 5 billion smartphone users to Internet and apps. Guest author Tom Christian Gotschalksen talks about the idiosyncrasies of emerging markets, and the business model innovations that are needed to close the smartphone gap]

Business model innovations for connecting the next 5B users

Smartphone growth has taken the wireless market by storm, having exceeded the one billion mark back in October. The US and western European markets for smartphones are about to saturate, and with those also the related industries of apps, content and mobile Internet connectivity.

Now US carriers are looking for growth outside of US, and Internet heavyweights like Twitter, Google and Facebook are targeting emerging markets where the remaining five billion users are still to connect to apps and the Internet.

In Asia, Africa and Latin America there is a wave of new, aspiring digital natives. They are enabled by $50 smartphones, and the burgeoning second hand smartphone markets, creating a huge demand for Internet services, apps, games, and Internet connectivity.

But there are two important challenges in connecting the next 5 billion smartphone users to the Internet and apps. It’s the business models behind data and handset subsidies, which are in dire need of innovation.

The elusive long-tail of mobile shipments

[The era of smartphones is upon us, as penetration increases from 11% in 2008 to over 25% in 2011. But what of the remaining three quarters of the market? Marketing Manager Matos Kapetanakis talks smartphone numbers and takes a look at the elusive long-tail of feature phone shipments] Dawn of the smartphone era Smartphone penetration…

[Report] The Netphone: behind the first WAC phone

[The Netphone is a bold attempt by Smart Communications - one of the top 20 MNOs globally - to bring telco services to the mass market But will the Netphone's blend of WAC and Android succeed?  Research Director Andreas Constantinou goes behind the scenes into the Netphone project to find out, as part of our...

BlackBerry: A Dual Personality Disorder?

[RIM is torn between two very different market segments: Enterprise mobile messaging and text-addicted consumers. Amidst troubling signs for RIM's future, the company needs to reconcile its dual personality. VisionMobile Research Partner Michael Vakulenko explains why RIM needs to create separate product experiences for business users and consumers and analyses the possibilities.] It’s hardly news…

Waking the Dragon: The Rise of Android in China

[Android is leading the smartphone revolution in Western Markets. But what about China, the country with the biggest mobile user base? Guest author Hong Wu analyses the state of Android in China - from chipset vendors to software developers - and how the dragon is waking up.] The article is also available in Chinese. HuaQiang…

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