An article entitled, ‘Teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Beyond Universal Access’, co-authored by Harsha de Silva and Ayesha Zainudeen, has been published in Telektronikk, a leading telecommunications journal, published by Telenor, Norway.
Appearing in the journal’s second issue for 2008, aptly titled, ‘Emerging Markets in Telecommunications’, the article explores the extent to which “universal access” to telecommunications has been achieved in Asia, based on findings from LIRNEasia’s five-country study of the use of telecommunication services at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’, namely in India, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Very high levels of access, but low levels of ownership are found. The paper then looks at the potential benefits that these non-owner users are missing out on, and then goes on to look at the key barriers to ownership that are faced by them. The paper estimates that there could be close to 150 million new subscribers at the BOP in these five countries by mid-2008. However, a distinct affordability gap is found. Possible ways to deal with this affordability gap are proposed in the final section with emphasis on multiple stakeholder efforts.