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.
Sayar Singh, Rajasthan, India
Business and social life have definitely improved for Sayar Singh since he bought his mobile phone in mid 2008. Earlier, he was frustrated with a fixed phone that didn’t work half the time. This wheat and flower farmer in India’s Rajasthan state now tracks market prices and moves his produce quickly for better profits. With workload reduced and income doubled, Sayar has reaped dual benefits from his mobile.
Judy Baltazar, Philippines
Housewife and mother of three Judy has been using mobile phones since 2000. It helps her to stay in touch with her jeepney driver husband as well as family and friends. In 2004, she started re-selling mobile e-loads. Buying in bulk from telecom network and selling retail required everyone involved to trust the system
Chamara Pahalawattage, Sri Lanka
School leaver Chamara, 18, does not yet have a steady job but that hasn’t dampened his enthusiasm for mobile phones he now uses his sixth phone in two years. This resident of Gonapola, western Sri Lanka, finds odd jobs at construction sites thanks to his phone. And after a hard day’s work, he unwinds listening to the radio, or swapping phone songs with friends.
Lourdes Casipit, Philippines
Although Lourdes started using a mobile phone only in 2007, at age 55, it has now become indispensable: for her, losing the phone would be ‘worse than a death in the family’! The phone provides a vital link between Lourdes in Metro Manila and her daughter Mary Ann working in Saudi Arabia. They talk and text frequently about family, friends and money transfers.
Kittipong Sangsri, Thailand
Kittipong, 18, saved for two months to buy his mobile. In just a few months, it has become an integral part of this Thai youth’s social life. It keeps him connected to his girl friend as well as friends in his rural home town. While he plays games, sends text, loads call melodies and makes calls using his phone, he also keeps a sharp eye on keeping costs down.
Pradip Gogoi & Purni Gogoi, Assam
Pradip and Purni Gogoi have been talking about having their own phone for over a year. Finally, in early 2009, they are about to buy their first mobile! This will allow roaming labourer Pradip to stay connected to wife and four children. The Gogois, based in the Lakhimpur District in India’s north-eastern state of Assam, also hope to save on travel costs visiting relatives in other states. With their own phone, they want to commute less and communicate more.
Soledad Alvis, Philippines
All that Soledad knows is how to receive an incoming call; she relies on grandchildren and neighbours to initiate calls, send text and add reloads. The mobile is the ‘lifeline’ with her daughter in Saudi Arabia, whose children Soledad is raising in Santa Rita city. For this migrant family, the phone is all about staying in touch across continents.
These videos were filmed on behalf of LIRNEasia by TVEAP between January and March 2009.