Teleuse@BOP Archives — Page 3 of 4


Telephone ownership and use As latest ITU data reveals, active mobile subscriptions continues to increase the world over. Just under two years ago, mobile subscriptions were reaching the six-billion mark. 2009 data from the ITU suggests we are well on our way to reaching seven billion connections. Developing countries, in particular, experienced a 19 percent increase in mobile subscriptions per 100 inhabitants between 2008 and 2009, compared with a modest 5 percent growth in developed countries according to the ITU. Mobile subscriptions in the Asia-Pacific alone have now passed the two-billion mark; according to the ITU, mobile subscriptions per 100 rose by 22 percent from 46 in 2008 in 56 in 2009.

Using the phone for business purposes

Posted on August 13, 2010  /  1 Comments

We want your comments and suggestions in Teleuse@BOP4 questionnaire design In our most recent demand-side ICT study, Teleuse@BOP3, we asked bottom of the pyramid (BOP) phone owners if and how often they used their phone (mobile or fixed) for business purposes or any other financial or work-related purposes. The responses we got were quite encouraging: Teleuse@BOP4 is almost underway. This time, we have decided to seek out the wisdom of the crowds in designing and fine-tuning some of the questions that we ask in Teleuse@BOP4. Responses to the question of business use of phones are important in this research cycle, where we are trying to understand , inter alia, what services (including telecom) would better equip SMEs (many of which are owned by or employ people at the BOP) to participate in the knowledge based economy. Similarly as important are the reasons that prevent greater use of phones for these purposes (trust, alternatives, cost, culture, etc).

Less than 1% uses Mobile 2.0

Posted on June 10, 2010  /  5 Comments

LIRNEasia regularly surveys SEC group D and E (the bottom of the pyramid) teleuse in emerging Asian countries. In the study it was found that less than one percent of the Sri Lankan BOP phone users who are aware of mobile 2.0 services regularly use it. Highlighting this fact we ran an advertisement in the Daily Mirror today. The advertisement’s objective was to show what the policy makers and regulators can do and thereby what the service providers could do to boost up Mobile 2.
One of the things I always have to pause and explain when talking about our Teleuse@BOP work is why 100% of Filipinos at the BOP use SMS and some never use the mobiles to make a call. Now we find the Americans are beginning to emulate the Pinoys. Liza Colburn uses her cellphone constantly. She taps out her grocery lists, records voice memos, listens to music at the gym, tracks her caloric intake and posts frequent updates to her Twitter and Facebook accounts. The one thing she doesn’t use her cellphone for?
Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, CEO of LIRNEasia, was invited to speak a the 18th Convergence India, held from 23 – 25 March 2010 in New Delhi, India. His presentation entitled, “South Asia: Challenges of the Budget Telecom Network Model” presents data on rising mobile ownership levels from the Teleuse@BOP3 study, as evidence of success of South Asia’s Budget Telecom Network Model which has allowed South Asian telcos since 2005‐06 to make excellent (if highly volatile) returns by serving “long‐tail” markets of poor people by for example, investing in the “prepaid” market (lowering transaction costs) and focusing on revenue-yielding minutes rather than ARPUs. A full webcast of the event can be viewed here. View the full presentation here.
There is a massive mismatch between the supply and demand for education in journalism and electronic media in India. All media markets, MSM and new, are booming, with a massive demand for people to work in them. Demand is being met mostly by unaccredited private establishments, and by on-the-job training. The government appears to be supplying significant funding for journalism and electronic media education at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (originally an open university, where people were to study from afar). They held a national symposium to assess the challenges and opportunities.

Users as innovators

Posted on October 26, 2009  /  0 Comments

LIRNEasia has been, for some time, documenting how users at the Bottom of the Pyramid are innovating with ICTs. This story has the views of Eric von Hippel, the guru of the “users and innovators” school on how Twitter has mobilized users as innovators. In the next several weeks, Twitter users will discover two new features, Lists and Retweets, that had the same user-generated beginnings. “Twitter’s smart enough, or lucky enough, to say, ‘Gee, let’s not try to compete with our users in designing this stuff, let’s outsource design to them,’ ” said Eric von Hippel, head of the innovation and entrepreneurship group at the Sloan School of Management at M.I.

Why refuseniks get mobile phones

Posted on October 23, 2009  /  1 Comments

I have always been interested in why people refuse convenient technologies that most of us take for granted. I recall visiting Amish country in Pennsylvania with a friend, Diane Zimmerman, who had written a book on their refusal to use the phone within their homes. Now the NYT has done an interesting piece on those whose refuse to use mobiles. Given our teleuse@BOP work, I found this piece about what is likely to tip a non-owner into ownership quite interesting. It is the “crisis.
Rohan Samarajiva, LIRNEasia Chair and CEO, made the lead presentation on access to ICTs at an OECD/infoDev Workshop on the Internet Economy yesterday in Paris. The workshop, “Policy coherence in the application of information and communication technologies for development,” is currently underway. In his presentation, Dr Samarajiva described the new “Budget Telecom Network Model” developed in South Asia that is enabling mobile operators to serve low-income customers who yield very low ARPUs [Average Revenues per User] and discuss its extension to enable broadband use.  Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have offered the lowest total costs of mobile ownership since 2005-06 while still yielding adequate, though somewhat volatile, returns to ensure continued investment in network extension and new services.  LIRNEasia research shows that this has been made possible by business process innovations to reduce operating expenses, and the minimizing of transaction costs made possible by widespread prepaid use.
Full participation in the global Internet Economy requires electronic connectivity of considerable complexity. Today, due to a worldwide wave of liberalization and technological and business innovations in the mobile space, much of the world is electronically connected, albeit not at the levels that would fully support participation in the global Internet Economy. Yet, many millions of poor people are engaging in tasks normally associated with the Internet such as information retrieval, payments and remote computing using relatively simple mobiles. Understanding the business model that enabled impressive gains in voice connectivity as well as the beginnings of more-than-voice applications over mobiles is important not only because widespread broadband access among the poor is likely to be achieved by extending this model but because it would be the basis of coherent and efficacious policy and regulatory responses… This is an excerpt from a background report by Rohan Samarajiva, to be presented at “Policy coherence in the application of information and communication technologies for development,” a joint workshop organized by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Information for Development Program (infoDev) / World Bank from 10-11 September 2009 in Paris. The report has been published in the OECD’s Development […]
Reliance was at the presentations we made on teleuse@BOP3 results about awareness, trial and use of more-than-voice applications on mobiles. We can only speculate whether our results were used in the design of the services described by The Hindu: RCom is launching three initiatives — BharatNet plan, Grameen VAS and M2M (Machine to Machine) solutions — under its rural drive. BharatNet plan is a high-speed wireless Internet service in over 20,000 rural locations across India and will address four million PC users in rural India. A high-speed variant of the Reliance NetConnect service specifically designed for rural and sub-urban markets, it will offer speeds of about 153 Kbps, which is 4 to 8 times the current dial-up speed of wire-line services. BharatNet is being offer at Rs.
Reading the WEF and INSEAD Global Information Technology Report 2008-09, I was struck by the presence of several references from within the LIRNE.NET community. I would have of course preferred some mention of LIRNEasia (in the same way DIRSI had been mentioned) and or a URL, but still, nice to know our work is being read and used. It is noteworthy that the second author on the first reference below, A. Aguero, is currently with LIRNEasia completing a professional internship.
LIRNEasia’s T@BOP3 research findings on ownership levels of mobile phones versus radios at the BOP have been cited in both MobileActive.org and MediaShift Idea Lab. Seemingly surprising findings reveal that in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, more people own mobile phones than radios. Read the two articles here and here. MediaShift Idea Lab, 19 Aug 2009: In the United States, high-end smartphones like the iPhone and BlackBerry don’t have built-in radios.
What LIRNEasia tries to do with its teleuse@BOP research is to understand how and why people use ICTs at the bottom of the pyramid. We do this from the demand side. That has its advantages, but disadvantages too, such as cost, shortcomings in memory, etc. Therefore, we were thrilled to see someone else engaged in the same project, but from a different angle. Nathan Eagle, a research fellow at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, believes that mobile phones offer more than a way to communicate.
The sixth edition of the “Telecenter Debates” published by Telecenter Magazine presents a debate on whether or not the PC is the best vehical for providing IT-related services to rural areas. Rohan Samarajiva presents an article against this assertion, using evidence from the Teleuse@BOP3 study, to state that “mobiles, not PCs, have the potential to be best vehicles for delivering services to rural areas in the Indo-Gangetic Plain, the world’s largest concentration of poor people”. Read the full article here. The PC is the best vehicle for providing IT-delivered services to rural areas

Teleuse@BOP profile: Sayar Singh

Posted on August 11, 2009  /  0 Comments

Continuing our series of T@BOP3 user videos, below is a video interview with Sayar Singh in Rajastan, India: Business and social life have definately improved for Sayar Singh since he bought his mobile phone in mid-2008. Earlier, he was frustrated with a fixed phone that didn’t work half the time. This wheat and flower farmer in India’s Rajasthan state now tracks market prices and moves his produce quickly for better profits. With workload reduced and income doubled, Sayar has reaped dual benefits from his mobile. Click here to view other videos.