Interesting. It says "small payments" but doesn't give details. I'd guess they get raped by fees. Maybe he starts by paying their phone bills though.
I saw one of these sites where they would have you come up with some sort of task that is tedious and perhaps monotonous for somebody to perform but needs a human eye to perform. An example would be to verify signatures on documents of some kind (like a voting petition or signatures on checks). OCR matching on stuff like this isn't so good, so setting up some system where a person in a 3rd world country that would look at two signatures and click on one of two buttons to say "yes, it is the same" or "no, it isn't" would help you to "earn" a few cents per signature that you clicked upon.
More complicated would be to assist in correcting OCR'd text to verify document spellings that might have been missed from the original scan... sort of like what Distributed Proofreaders is doing.
In both of these cases you would have some checks where you wouldn't trust just one person but would have several people see the same thing and "vote" on the correct information. Somebody who consistently shows up in the "minority" (aka is being contrary) to the acceptance or rejection might eventually get fired so they have some motivation to getting it right.
I've seen it suggested that you could use a simple computer like the XO computer developed for the OLPC project as well, although a common cell phone could certainly be used to check signatures in this example. Presumably any group doing this would have a contract with the cellphone company to pay for the data delivery fees, so the only cost for the participants would be their time and possibly some "free" airtime on the cellphone as well. In some places of the world, if they could earn $5-$10 in a day, they would be doing very well.
Since Bitcions can be used for micropayments with considerably lower overhead costs, I think it would be useful for a situation like this. Bitcoins in this case could be put right onto the phone itself for use elsewhere. If you told somebody that in order to get a loaf of bread all they had to do was to compare a couple hundred signatures, how many people might be interested?