Economist: Mobile phones in South-East Asia: Talk is cheap

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Economist: Mobile phones in South-East Asia: Talk is cheap

Take a taxi in Bangkok and the driver’s mobile phone is sure to chirp. A long conversation ensues, usually by speakerphone, since few cabbies bother with headsets. It is not just that cabbies are chatty; it is also that talk is cheap. Once reserved for the rich, mobile phones are now ubiquitous in South-East Asia.

But what is good news for taxi drivers is less so for mobile operators. Price wars in nearly-saturated markets have mangled profit margins. One answer is to prod customers to use data services, such as e-mail, web-browsing and access to a variety of “applications”—all of which could, some analysts think, spur new growth.

Yet this new growth will not come easy…

(Via Jon Russell.)

Published by Newley

Hi. I'm Newley Purnell. I cover technology and business for The Wall Street Journal, based in New Delhi. I use this site to share my stories and often blog about the books I read, tech trends, sports, travel, and our dog Ginger. Join the growing group of readers who get my weekly email newsletter.

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  1. Thanks for posting this link. Because I understand nothing about economics AND I think we’re, collectively, suckers in the West to cell phone companies, I obsess about cell phone service pricing. It’s an odd thing to worry over, given so many other choices, I know, but I’m mystified. So again, thanks.