Asian countries have great potential for the use of m-technology. By March 2007, there were 1. 1 billion
mobile subscribers in this region. The industrialized
countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong,
Taiwan, and Singapore, have some of the highest penetration rates of mobile phones in the world. Therefore, governments in these countries have
implemented various m-government projects.
Japan is one of the leaders in mobile and wireless
technology. The number of third-generation (3G)
mobile phone users is the highest in the world, making Japan the world leader in the
percentage of mobile phones supporting Internet access ( 94.1%)
[ 2]. However, m-government in
Japan is not as widespread as in
other developed countries.
Deployed m-government applications have been related to tasks
that are not legally binding, such
as information on tourism, disaster prevention, and child rearing.
The Vehicle Information and SIM ID
Communication System (VICS)
project provides information to
and collects information from
vehicles so that citizens can receive
timely information services such
as traffic congestion, road work,
car accidents, availability of parking lots, and weather information.
The Japanese government considers m-government a somewhat
old-fashioned term and is striving toward
u(ubiquitous)-Japan to connect everyone and everything, anytime, anywhere.
In Korea, a project called “M-police” was implemented to assist police officers in capturing suspects
and finding missing cars. The project enables the officers to retrieve detailed information on missing vehicles, driver’s licenses, vehicles’ histories, and pictures of
suspects by using mobile devices. In Anyang City,
parking inspectors collect parking information and
print receipts on the spot using PDAs and small printers. The m-local tax management system, introduced
in the cities of Uijeongbu and Kunsan, enables officers
to access information on car taxes, obtain data on
delinquent taxes, and immediately transfer data to the
local tax database [ 3].
SMS has been widely used in many Asian countries. At the height of the SARS health scare in 2004,
the Hong Kong government sent text messages to six
million mobile phone users in an effort to calm citizens who were frightened by rumors. Singapore gov-
ernment agencies send citizens text messages such as
parking ticket reminders, national service obligations,
and passport renewal notifications. Table 3 lists and
summarizes sample m-government applications in
CHALLENGES AND ISSUES IN M-GOVERNMENT
Despite the great potential and positive expectations,
m-government is still in its earliest stage of development and its applications are limited. Governments
are proceeding with caution to m-government appli-
London Police Departments
(Government- SMS for job
- Inform citizens about security threats and
- Track London buses using mobile
- Send messages to control traffic flow.
- Provide job posting for temporary workers
- Wireless map systems
- Allow citizens to pay parking fee through
- ID cards that serve as an official travel
document as a passport does
- Use GPS and mobile phones to track
Austria law enforcement
- Use handheld devices to connect to
central database to monitor parking
Table 2. Examples
cations due to issues, risks, and concerns inherited
from e-government and some specific to m-technologies. Some of the challenges related to e-government include:
• Improving interoperability and integration since
the public sector is legacy-system driven, not
process-oriented driven. A radical reengineering of
processes and supporting information systems is
required that demands many technical, semantic,
organizational, and managerial changes.
• Governments are not very receptive to private and
public service providers who may contribute to
innovative electronic service delivery.
• Many governments lack necessary incentives and
institutional structures to realize the full potential
of electronic service delivery. For less-developed
countries, e-government is either nonexistent or
very limited in scope. For example, China currently has more than 465 million mobile phone
users, yet its m-government practices are still at the
embryonic stage because of the inadequate e-government infrastructure.
M-government also faces some challenges that are
unique to m-technologies. Security and privacy are
considered to be the major obstacles for m-govern-