Feature Article

March 23, 2012

Brazil's Mobile Service is Taxing

Over three million Brazilians are using their mobile phones in an effort to learn Spanish and English. Strand Consult investigated the Brazilian mobile market to gauge whether the foreign language craze is indicative of opportunities for prospecting merchants. What they discovered was complicated and sobering.

The majority of the three million Brazilians with mobile language apps are poor. Paradoxically, mobile use is expensive because Brazil’s mobile market has one of the highest industry taxes in the world. Taxing the poor for trying to educate themselves using minimal resources? The English word for this situation is wrong.

You might be wondering what these people are doing with iPhones if they are so poor. But the method that many Brazilians are using for their mobile language studies is SMS. Since the national mobile operator, Vivo sells language services that work via SMS, IVR or WAP, smartphones may be ideal, but basic mobile phones will do.

The Press Room commends Vivio’s efforts in recognizing the demand for language educational services and providing services in the form of mobile applications, but the operating service is not autonomous. The author of the report believes that there needs to be some serious governmental reform in Brazil. The government is essentially taxing the poor over 40 percent for pursuing an education through the only means they can afford.

The report states, “In our opinion this Brazilian case shows how important it is for mobile operators, governments and educational institutions and schools to be able to create constructive partnerships to take advantage of the mobile operators’ large customer bases and boost interest for education - which is the single most important factor to any modern society.”

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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