Emergence of Mobile Commerce in Developing Countries
Helen U. Eno
INFO 5303-02: Info Tech and the Future
Oklahoma Christian University
Dr. Kimberly Merritt
September 26, 2011
Mobile Commerce or M-commerce as it is more commonly referred to is simply the ability to do business electronically without any physical limitations or barriers. This is more popular with the use of smartphones today and other mobile devices. After researching several journals and articles, it is obvious at this point that there is no standard definition of the term “Mobile Commerce.” Many authors and writers have coined phrases and come up with definitions that are similar to each other; the general idea is similar but the words in the different definitions vary somewhat. However, one acceptable definition is used and this comes from Liang and Wei (2004), “M-Commerce generally refers to the use of wireless devices (particularly mobile phones) to conduct electronic business transactions, such as product ordering, fund transfers, and stock trading” (p. 7). M-Commerce was formed as a result of the Internet and mobile computing coming together to create a new business area. The benefits of Mobile Commerce are almost endless and a few will be discussed later in the analysis. However, the focus of this paper is the emergence of this trend in developing countries with emphasis on Africa- Nigeria to be precise. The population of Nigeria is over 150 million boasting one of the largest markets in Africa. Akpan-Obong (2009) states that “Nigeria is a major actor in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector in Africa, Nigeria has so far recorded significant achievements in ICT utilization, and has recorded higher growth rates in the penetration and diffusion levels of ICT” (p. 208). With Mobile Commerce rapidly taking over the business world, it is important to gain an understanding of how the so called major actors are fairing on the playing field hence the emphasis on Nigeria in the topic of Mobile Commerce.
Liang (2004) and Akpan-Obong (2009) in their separate articles introduce the concept of Mobile Commerce and present generally accepted definitions of the term. While Liang focuses on the likely successes and failures of M-Commerce applications, Akpan-Obong specifically suggests electricity and infrastructural inadequacies as the reasons for the underutilization of M-Commerce in Nigeria. Greengard (2008) goes on to discuss the general impact of mobile phones on the world as a whole. He talks about the development opportunities that the presence of mobile phone technologies has created with the transformation of commerce, banking and healthcare. In his article, he states that the most profound changes and biggest dividends are being realized in developing countries. Formulation of a series of hypotheses from a research model developed by Peter, Philip and Victor (2005) identifies some of the factors affecting the use of mobile ICT in the least developed countries. Ayo and Agboola (2006) delve into the uses of M-commerce in Nigeria and how this technology is becoming widespread in the country. Solutions are also offered to deal with the issues of underutilization of the technology. Generally, these articles discuss the current practices and also anticipated future implementations of M-Commerce.
The Internet, which is a form of electronic commerce has been in existence for years but it has been difficult to cover as much of the market as it could especially in some parts of the world where amenities like a computer are not only unaffordable but considered a luxury. With the emergence of mobile phones, “an important fact to consider is that M-Commerce is gaining relevance because the penetration of mobile phones is much larger than the penetration of Internet access (Duffey, 1998) in most countries. Greengard (2008),...