- Masiyiwa is not an inventor, but he is an entrepreneur taking the risk of bringing an innovation to the market. The invention of microprocessor technology makes cell phone communication possible. What innovation of that technology is Masiyiwa offering for sale?
Pre-paid calling plans – an innovative service arrangement.
- Based on the facts presented in the article, who do you think benefits more from cell phone technology in Africa – the rich or the poor? Explain.
The greater benefit is to the poor. The rich already had access to phone communication because they could afford the expensive land lines.
- The owners of GRASSO are not inventors, but they are innovators, entrepreneurs taking the risk of bringing an innovation to the market. The invention of microprocessor technology makes cell phone communication possible. What innovation of that technology is GRASSO offering for sale?
GRASSO’s innovation is the creation of a network connecting cellular phone service, the Internet, and trucking for agricultural produce to serve rural farm communities in India. Realizing that individuals cannot afford to own the technology, they have created an organization that offers community access.
- The article says that farmers will pay “more than five times the actual cost of a call to book the vehicle by phone.” How is this evidence that GRASSO is helping poor farmers in India rather than exploiting them?
Farmers are not forced to pay the cost of the call; they could, for example, continue to arrange their appointments and market their produce in the way that they traditionally have. The fact that they are willing to pay 5 times the cost of the call tells us that it is highly valuable to them and that they believe they will benefit from being able to use the service.
- The owners of cell phone companies in Africa are not inventors, but they are entrepreneurs taking the risk of bringing an innovation to the market. The invention of microprocessor technology makes cell phone communication possible. What particularly African innovation of that technology makes it possible for people living on less than $2/day to use cell phones?
The cell phone companies adapted their service to the communal nature of many African societies when they realized that it’s not necessary for each individual to own a cell phone in order for a whole community to have access. They have created communal access systems for both cell phones and the Internet.
- Why does the author think that “the economic and social value of a cell phone” in a poor country like Nigeria is much greater than its value in richer western nations?
The author points out that the proportion of a person’s monthly revenue that can be attributed to cell phone use in a poor nation like Nigeria is much higher than for a person in a wealthy nation like the U.S. Therefore, the cell phone has a greater ability to change the standard of living for poor people. In poor nations, cell phones give people access to business opportunities that they’ve never had before, whereas for many wealthy people, the cell phone is just a more convenient or more inexpensive form of a service they already had.