[By SHARON LaFRANIERE, New York Times, Aug.25.05]
This NYT article looks at Africa’s mobile boom, stating that it has taken the industry by surprise; common wisdom was that Africans are not big telecom users. But ‘it turned out that Africans had never been big phone users because nobody had given them the chance.’ Today, one in eleven Africans (roughly 9%) is a mobile subscriber.
LIRNEasia recently conducted a survey (of over 3000 respondents) of the use of telecom by the ‘poor’ in 11 localities spread over India and Sri Lanka, to find that 19% were mobile users.
It appears that many Africans are taking to mobiles to enhance their micro-entrepreneurial activities. This contrasts to findings of the LIRNEasia survey, where 11% of mobile users do so to undertake business or make business enquiries, while the majority of users do so for what can be termed ‘relationship maintenance’, or simply, keeping in touch with family and friends.