Nov 13, 2006
By Tony Chan, Wireless Asia
This article raises the important question of affordability of access to services on mobile networks versus services on fixed networks (e.g HSDPA versus broadband). Some pertinent questions raised include:
Does coverage mean cheaper access to telecommunication services? While it very well might be cheaper for governments to provide mobile coverage to rural areas, are the ongoing costs of access cheaper as well?
Although the author doubts whether users in rural areas of emerging Asia can afford even the cheapest mobile packages ($5/month) that we are paying today in Hong Kong, the 2005 Shoestring research proved otherwise, with 34 % spending USD4-8 on mobile services, and 30 % pendingmore than USD8 per month –significant proportions of their monthly household incomes (below USD100). Similarly, the 2006 Shoestrings research is revealing high expenditure numbers at the bottom of the pyramid.