South Asia is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing mobile markets, but still suffers from a significant digital divide. Mobile phones are surpassing all other media in terms of penetration in the region: television, radio, Internet, newspapers, magazines and landlines. Mobile platforms are becoming the natural choice for extending essential and innovative digital services to the broadest section of the population. From humble SMS and basic voice to smartphones and enterprise workflow, mobile is the choice for new content and services.

Mobile phones are not just convenient and fashionable, but liberating and empowering for hundreds of millions of South Asians previously locked out of the digital movement. From cricket news and music ringtones to agricultural price information and tsunami alerts, mobiles have become the “first screen" of choice for millions of South Asians. The mobile phone is improving the marketing reach of consumer brands— while also providing vital connectivity to “bottom of the pyramid" users in remote parts of South Asia.

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The mobile revolution has triumphed in South Asia, and now needs regular industry-driven peer-acknowledged awards to highlight the best successes and point the way towards even more benefits. The mBillionth Award brings together the best mobile experts in South Asia as jurors, to deliberate and decide on the award-winning mobile applications and entrepreneurs in the region. The nomination and jury process is transparent and fair, and has drawn support from leading corporate and government players in the region.

The annual awards and the accompanying South Asia Mobile Congress promote cross-border exchange of ideas, policy strengths and mobile advocacy. Awards will be given in 10 categories, covering the entire breadth of the mobile ecosystem: platform, business, culture, education, entertainment, government, health, inclusion, environment, news, heritage and travel and tourism.

Osama Manzar is founder and director of Digital Empowerment Foundation and chairman of the mBillionth awards. Mint is a partner of the mBillionth awards.

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