LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid 3 (Teleuse@BOP3)

Teleuse at the bottom of the pyramid, or Teleuse@BOP, pioneered by LIRNEasia in 2005, is a unique series of cutting edge demand-side studies on ICT use among the BOP. It was one of the first large regional studies to assess demand for ICT services among emerging Asia’s BOP in a systematic way.

Teleuse@BOP3 was conducted between 2008-09.  It focused on if and how mobile phones are being used for non-voice, or ‘Mobile2.0’ applications.  Many claim that the BOP will have their first internet experience via a mobile phone; Teleuse@BOP3 attempted to find evidence for these claims by looking at the use of Mobile2.0 applications such as payments, text-voting, market information, etc at the BOP.   Teleuse@BOP3 also contained a separate module on the teleuse experience of BOP migrant workers (within their home country, but also away from it) in each of the countries. It looks at how they communicate home, but also the modes of sending remittances and the potential for mobile payments to serve the same purpose.

Teleuse@BOP3 involved a detailed survey of 9,750 sample representative of the BOP in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Thailand. An innovative diary method was developed by LIRNEasia, to capture usage patterns even among BOP users who don’t own a phone. The surveys were conducted from September through October 2008. Initial findings can be downloaded below. An additional booster sample of over 1,500 migrant workers in the five countries was also surveyed. The Quantitative work was also complemented by qualitative research in the six countries, to gain a deeper understanding of the quantitative patterns revealed. The qualitative research was conducted from February-March 2009. The full qualitative report can also be downloaded below.

This work was carried out by with the aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre (Ottawa, Canada) and the Department for International Development of the UK (DFID), and funding by Telenor Research & Development Centre Sdn. Bhd.

Datasets* | Main data | Migrant data

*The use of this dataset is subject  to the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial Share-Alike License 2.5 (

Working papers | click here

Data booklet | click here

Other Downloads: Presentations and briefs | Please note: The data and findings of this study may not be used in legal proceedings

Bottom of the pyramid expenditure patterns on mobile phone services in selected Emerging Asian countries, Presentation made at the 2010 Pacific Telecom Council conference, 19 January 2010, Honolulu

Profiling the BOP, Presentation made at LIRNEasia@5 conference, 11 December 2009, Colombo

Bottom of the pyramid expenditure patterns on mobile phone services in selected Emerging Asian countries, Presentation at CPRsouth4 conference, 7 December 2009, Negombo | Policy brief

The Future of the Public Phone: Findings from a six-country Asian study of telecom use at the BOP, Presentation at CPRsouth4 conference, 7 December 2009, Negombo | Policy brief

How the developing world may participate in the global Internet economy: Innovation driven by competition, Presentation at OECD/infoDev Workshop on the Internet Economy (Policy coherence in the application of information and communication technologies for development), 10 September 2009, Paris

Teleuse by the Bangladeshi migrant worker, Presentation made at the release of the migrant study findings, 26 June 2009, Dhaka

Teleuse@BOP3: A six-country study of Teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Bangladeshi findings released on 26 June 2009, Dhaka

Social Influence in mobile phone adoption: Evidence from the bottom of pyramid, Presentation made at ICA 2009 preconference, Mobile2.0: Beyond voice?, 21 May 2009, Chicago

Teleuse@BOP: Sri Lankan findings Presentation made to Sri Lankan telcos, 4 March 2009, Colombo

Teleuse@BOP3: India’s rural millions: Connected? Presentation made to the Cellular Operators Association of India, 10 February 2009, Mumbai

Teleuse@BOP3: A qualitative study Report by CKS Consulting Pvt. Ltd., March 2009

Female use of public phones Teleuse@BOP3 findings in brief, May2009

Making the decision to adopt mobile Teleuse@BOP3 findings in brief, June 2009

Missed calls and other strategies Teleuse@BOP3 findings in brief, June 2009

Mobiles and transport Teleuse@BOP3 findings in brief, June 2009

Migrant workers in Asia: Potential takers for mobile payments? Teleuse@BOP3 findings in brief, June 2009

Migrant workers, ICTs and remittances in emerging Asia: Findings from India Teleuse@BOP findings in brief, July 2009

Please note: The data and findings of this study may not be used in legal proceedings


As a part of Teleuse@BOP3, seven teleuser profiles were captured on film, exploring different aspects of the teleuse experience at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP), ranging from economic benefits, to entertainment, to sending remittances home. Click here to view videos.

Selected media coverage

Move over computer, the mobile is here, Expanding Horizons (Nokia), January 2010

When FM radio meets the mobile phone in Pakistan, MediaShift Idea Lab, 19 August 2009

India’s “Connected” Poor, Business Today (India; print), 9 August 2009

Mobile phones for inward remittances, awaiting guidelines, The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka), 2 August 2009

Teleuse survey: What women want, Voice and Data, 1 August 2009

Only Indians make, receive missed calls: Study, The Times of India, 10 July 2009
(corrections published in TechGoss)

No computers in poor Bangladeshi households, New Age Bangladesh, 7 July 2009

Phones outnumber radios among South Asia’s poor, The Hindu, 5 July 2009

Public Telephone Booths — Means to Empower Women, The Khaleej Times, 29 June 2009

Calling home means a lot to Bangladeshi expat workers, The Financial Express (Bangladesh), 29 June 2009

Safe, comfy and chatting away – women’s empowerment at PCO booths, Yahoo! News India, 28 June 2009

Why Wireless Makes Sense, Interview with Fred Noronha (Indo-Asian News Service), Penang, Malaysia, 14 June 2009

The economics of chhota recharge, The Financial Express (India), 22 May 2009

VAS a disconnect with cell users, The Times of India, 21 March 2009

Usage Gap: Sri Lankan low income customers can use mobiles more for business: study, Lanka Business Online, 3 March 2009

Mobile penetration in hinterland goes up, The Hindu, 3 March 2009

Fairer sex patronizes public phones, but lags in pvt ownership, The Economic Times (India), 27 February 2009

Mobile users unwilling to change operator, The Hindu, 26 February 2009

Mobile value added services for rural areas need content, The Financial Express (India), 23 February 2009

Rural India key growth driver of telecom industry, Yahoo! News India, 12 February 2009

Rapid mobile growth among India’s poor, Expanding Horizons (Nokia), February 2009

A six-country study of Teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Bangladesh findings


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