, Mehul Desai
The man behind India's telecom revolution brings us the future - and it's on our cellphones. Sometime in the early 1990s, as Sam Pitroda watched his wife write cheques for numerous bills, he came up with the revolutionary idea of a digital or mobile wallet - an electronic version of the leather wallet.
Pitroda registered his first patent on the mobile wallet in 1994, and since then he and his colleague, Mehul Desai, have been traversing the world, taking this technology forward.
Initially resistant to the idea of mobile money, the three stakeholders in mobile telephony - telecom companies, banks and merchants - are now realizing that it is crucial to their growth. All of them are now reinventing themselves for our mobile phones, and competing with each other to manage our lifestyles.
For telecom companies, it is no longer about connectivity but about delivering personalized and secure services. For banks, it is no longer about deposits and lending but about the convergence of financial products and services; and for merchants, it is no longer about goods but goods bundled with services.
For India, which has more mobile phone subscribers (over 470 million, with over ten million being added every month) than bank account holders, mobile money can be an engine for growth. It can also be a life-transforming technology for social good, empowering those at the bottom of the pyramid. Once again, India can show the way to the world.
Author : Mehul Desai
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