Mobile Web in Africa

There was a great article on BBC News Online last week on the use of the Mobile Web in Africa. It presents some very exciting usage statistics and anecdotal reporting of the growth of mobile browsing in the “developing world.” Exciting because it bolsters my view that mobile browsing will be the primary means that people use to connect to the Web in these countries. I’ll be working over the next few months on helping W3C put together a workshop on this topic — I’ll post more information here when it becomes available. My view is that content creation will be the key issue here. The Mobile Web must not be a one-way medium. If it is to be most useful for communities where the mobile is the primary means of access, it must be as easy to create content as to consume it. This revolution has already taken place on the desktop Web through blogs, wikis, photo/video sharing and so on, but remains a challenge on the mobile.

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Posted in Mobile Web, Mobility
3 comments on “Mobile Web in Africa
  1. Great BBC article – very encouraging! FYI, W3C posted a
    pre-announcement for the workshop
    – it will take place Dec 4/5 in New-Dehli, India

  2. Anonymous says:

    Only “one” problem. Mobile Internet (data) in Africa is blooming expensive. A basic HSDPA (1.8Mb) contract will set you back about 60 Euro a month in South Africa, WITH a 500Mb data LIMIT (therefater additional Mb charges). For less than 1/2 of that you get the same “unlimited useage” service elsewhere in the world. And considering the “low income” margin is around 100-300 Euro a MONTH the benefits of mobile internet will never reach the people who really could use it. Suprisingly South Africa was one of the first countries to implement HSDPA.

  3. Agreed. Cost and cost transparency are huge issues threatening the growth of the Mobile Web. My personal view is that costs will become more manageable over time. Professionally speaking, it’s not my department. :)

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Who is Daniel K. Appelquist?

I'm an American ex-pat living in London and an independent consultant and advocate for emerging web technologies, the open web, open source and open data. As well, I am co-chair of the W3C Technical Architecture Group, I am a founder and co-organizer of the Over the Air hack day series and a founder of Mobile Monday London. I'm a former .com CTO and subsequent .com refugee. I am a parent dealing with the increasing complexities of raising children in a hyper-connected world.

If you are so inclined, you may find my public key on

My books:
Mobile Internet for Dummies

For more info, see my Linkedin profile.

More (probably than you ever wanted to know) about Torgo.


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