A new documentary film, titled Teleuse@BOP, recently produced by TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP) and based on LIRNEasia’s study on Teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid, highlights a communication revolution happening in Asia’s emerging telecommunication markets.
When it comes to using phones, the film says, people at the bottom of the income pyramid are no different from anyone else; they value the enhanced personal security, including emergency communications, and social networking benefits. Increasingly, poor people are not content with just using public phones or shared access phones (belonging friends or family). They see a utility and social value of having their own phones.
These insights emerged from LIRNEasia’s large representative sample survey of telephone use at BOP in India, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The survey conducted by ACNielsen, a multinational market research company, confirmed some known trends, whilst challenging conventional wisdom on several fronts. According to LIRNEasia Lead Economist Dr. Harsha de Silva, the findings completely debunked the myth that 50 per cent of people had never used a telephone.
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The survey also found that men and women use phones pretty much the same way at the bottom of the pyramid. Says Ayesha Zainudeen, Senior Researcher, LIRNEasia: “There are almost no differences between men and women — except in the case of Pakistan, where you have the cultural factors playing in.”
The survey, supported by Canada’s International Development Research Centre, IDRC, has been well received by telecom operators and industry regulators across Asia.
The film features an interview with the head of Sri Lanka’s leading mobile phone company, Dialog Telekom, who acknowledges using survey findings to further customise products to suit aspirations at the bottom of the pyramid.
The film will be premiered at the Third Global Knowledge Conference (GK3) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 11 to 13 December 2007. It will be part of an interactive quiz that LIRNEasia and TVE Asia Pacific will jointly present during the global event, expected to attract 2,000 participants.
Focusing on the theme “Emerging People, Emerging Markets, Emerging Technologies”, GK3 will connect those in governments, business, civil society and academia engaged in using ICT tools for meeting the real world’s needs — to reduce poverty, increase incomes, create safer communities, create sustainable societies and support youth enterprise, etc.
The interactive quiz will be conducted by TVEAP Director Nalaka Gunawardene, who counts many years of experience in broadcast quiz shows. He will be joined by LIRNEasia’s research staff to provide the live audience with interesting insights into the wide-ranging survey.
The telecom industry believes that the next billion phone subscribers will come mostly from the emerging markets. Therefore, understanding tele-use at the bottom of the pyramid becomes very important.
As with all TVEAP films, Teleuse@BOP will be available to broadcast, civil society and educational users without a license fee.
Both LIRNEasia and TVE Asia Pacific are members of the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP), conveners of the GK3 platform.