recommended reading

The world's largest payment platform can reach 2 billion people

style-photography.de/Shutterstock.com

When Jana co-founder Nathan Eagle needed to connect to a cell carrier in the developing world, he'd come to meetings with a duffel bag full of cash and say that he wanted to buy airtime. For carriers who were taking on more customers than ever, but struggling with declining revenue per user, it was an irresistible sales pitch. The result, two years later, is that Jana is now the largest payment platform in the world.

Eagle describes Jana as an "opt-in mobile network" that pays users to fill out consumer surveys and try products. The company has access to 100% of the users on 237 cell carriers in 101 countries throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America.

By 2004, there were more mobile subscribers in the developing world than in developed countries, and the gap has been widening ever since. In 2012, Jana estimates that of the 6.5 billion mobile subscriptions on Earth, 5 billion are in emerging markets. The World Bank estimates that 75% of the people on Earth have access to a mobile phone. According to the McKinsey Quarterly, three billion people are projected to move into the middle class in the next twenty-five years. Right now their mobile devices are in some respects the most direct way to reach them.

Eagle comes from an academic background--he has appointments at Harvard and MIT and once more than a year as a Fulbright professor in Kenya--and his roots lie in using technology for development and social good. Jana was born, in part, of Eagle's success in setting up a network in rural villages in Kenya for nurses to text in status reports on supplies of hospital blood banks.

Jana's network, which is connected directly to the computer systems used by mobile carriers around the world, doesn't send actual money; instead, it gives mobile-phone credit. In emerging markets, where, according to Eagle, the average user spends 8%-12% of his or her income on prepaid mobile service, that's almost as good as cash.

Read more at Quartz.

(Image via style-photography.de/Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.