Teleuse@BOP3, LIRNEasia’s six country study has shown that between 2006 and 2008 there has been significant uptake of mobiles by the BOP in emerging Asia. Access to computers on the other hand (see here for numbers) in these countries at the BOP is minimal. Together with the increasing capabilities of mobiles to deliver an array of services, which essentially boil down to what you can do on the Internet (information publication and retrieval, transactions, etc) this means that much of the BOP will have their first Internet experience through a mobile.
The current issue of Nokia’s Expanding Horizons quarterly magazine highlights LIRNEasia’s Teleuse@BOP3 study findings from India, illustrating this point.
Mobiles are now the most common form of communication, pushing public phones into second place… The rapid evolution of the mobile into a multi-purpose communications and knowledge tool combined with its fast adoption by the BOP, means they and the majority of people in the developing world are likely to have their first Internet experience via a mobile.
Although use of “Mobile 2.0” services such as payments and e-government services is low, these are the ‘doors’ through which people are likely to enter these services. Governments and industry in South Asia need to understand potential barriers to usage and to identify what will motivate use of ‘non-voice’ applications among the BOP.