W3C International Workshop on the Mobile Web in Developing Countries

On December 5 and 6, 2006, the W3C Workshop on the Mobile Web in Developing Countries took place in Bangalore, India. Half a year has passed, but the conclusions still apply.

It is very important not to forget the real goal of providing ICT in developing countries. The point is not at all to connect people to the Web but to provide services (health, banking, government service, education, business,…) […] the most appropriate way to provide such e-services on mobile phones is with SMS-based applications. The reasons for that are numerous:

* Easy to use (everybody knows how to send an SMS)
* Low and predictable cost (no cost for receiving a message, low and known cost for sending a message)
* Availability on all phones

Of course, there is a general agreement on the limitations of such applications :
* Low capabilities (text-only, limited size, basic services like single query – answer, …)
* Interoperability problems between operators

Adopting the Web as the platform for developing future services requires work on these blocking factors which have been identified:
* Problems of availability of Web browser
* Problems of configuration
* User Interface
* Cost

That said, there is a general agreement that the Web is providing unique opportunities which may facilitate the bridging of the digital divide:
* a standardized platform to ease service development
* cheap service development and hosting
* large scope and wide audience
* easy reachability and “discoverability” of existing services (search engines, portals, …)

More info


If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2007) “W3C International Workshop on the Mobile Web in Developing Countries” In ICTlogy, #44, May 2007. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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2 Comments to “W3C International Workshop on the Mobile Web in Developing Countries” »

  1. I am quite surprised how less has been discussed in this regard compared to the OLPC initiative. However some things are flourishing like this: http://www.tacticaltech.org/node/345. Very interesting in could be also a tool like twitter (http://soyapi.blogspot.com/2007/03/potential-of-twitter-in-africa.html) or a chat function like http://www.mxit.com/, which combines web and mobile and has a big growth rate in South Africa.

    Best regards


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