Tag Archives: mobiles

Mobile internet in emerging markets (The Economist)

The next billion geeks
How the mobile internet will transform the BRICI countries
Sep 2nd 2010 DADRI, UTTAR PRADESH

BUYING a mobile phone was the wisest $20 Ranvir Singh ever spent. Mr Singh, a farmer in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, used to make appointments in person, in advance, to deliver fresh buffalo milk to his 40-odd neighbours. Now his customers just call when they want some. Mr Singh’s income has risen by 25%, to 7,000 rupees ($149) a month. And he hears rumours of an even more bountiful technology. He has heard that “something on mobile phones” can tell him the current market price of his wheat. Mr Singh does not know that that “something” is the internet, because, like most Indians, he has never seen or used it. But the phone in his calloused hand hints at how hundreds of millions of people in emerging markets—perhaps even billions—will one day log on.

Read more at The Economist…

Youth, mobile phones and social change

via Mobile  Revolutions

TakingITMobile is a community-based research study conducted in partnership with the social network TakingITGlobal that examines how youth leaders across the globe use mobile communications to create social change within their local communities and internationally. As an e-PAR study, youth participants were encouraged to take the reigns as researchers through the online TakingITMobile Working Group, which comprised of 39 youth representing 20 different countries. TakingITMobile participants (n = 565) paint a picture of the diversity of mobile youth activism around the world.

More information…

(with thanks to Mireia Fernandez-Ardevol for the link)

Review of research on mobile use by micro and small enterprises (MSEs)

A most pleasant surprise find, given that one of our key interests is mobiles and MSEs (in Latin America):

Donner, Jonathan; Escobari,  Marcela
Publication Date: 1 Apr 2009
Publication Type: Report/White paper
Publisher/Journal: Carnegie Mellon University

This paper offers a systematic review of 14 studies of the use of mobile telephony by micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the developing world, detailing findings about changes to enterprises’ internal processes and external relationships, and findings about mobile use vs. traditional landline use. Results suggest that there is currently more evidence for the benefits of
mobile use accruing mostly (but not exclusively) to existing MSEs rather than new MSEs, in ways that amplify existing material and informational flows rather than transform them. The review presents a more complete picture of mobile use by MSEs than was previously available to ICTD researchers, and identifies priorities for future research, including comparisons of the impact of mobile use across subsectors of MSEs and assessments of use of advanced services such as mobile banking and mobile commerce.

More info

Paper URL

Mobile phones and development in Latin America

Presentation given by Mireia Fernandez Ardevol to the ICT4D Postgraduate Network, UPC Barcelona, 9 September 2010.

Summary by Ismael Peña-López:

Project to analyze mobile telephone usage in Latin America. Diffussion or mobile penetration, though not as high as higher-income countries, it does have a certain level of penetration that sometimes almost reaches 100% (higher-income countries reach up to 120%). Penetration is though unevenly distributed.

Research question: does mobile communication affects (impacts on) socio-economic development in Latin America? That was a new question in the region of Latin America, and it was relevant and ambitious, and wide, as a whole research network of several people and institutions worked together to answer the research question.

The levels of analysis: macro (economics, econometrics, context), meso-organizational (institutions, markets) and micro. It was very important too to maintain a multidisciplinary focus to gather all the shades of meaning of such a complex topic.

continued here…

Research project: Mobile Africa Revisited

via African Studies Centre, University of Leiden website

Mobile Africa Revisited: A Comparative Study of the Relations between New Communication Technologies and New Social Spaces (Chad, Mali, Cameroon, Angola, Tanzania, Sudan)

Mirjam de Bruijn, Inge Brinkman, Francis Nyamnjoh

In Africa, the use of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) − the Internet and mobile telephony in particular − has accelerated remarkably since these were introduced in the late 1990s. This explosion of the Internet and mobile telephony on the African continent is oftentimes portrayed as a straightforward economic success and an opportunity for marginalized areas to overcome their assumed isolation. In the development discourse the new ICT are unequivocally regarded as a means for ‘development’. There are problems still; the ‘digital divide’ and the ‘technology gap’ threaten to slacken the process of Africa’s inclusion as active participants in the global village. Yet, these problems are interpreted only in terms of inclusion and problems of access. Within development circles the aim is to capacitate people (especially disadvantaged groups) so that they can afford these technologies and are no longer blocked from usage. The relation between development and communication technologies as such is not questioned. This view has been criticized by a number of scholars. For these scholars the new ICT are a hegemonising force comparable to a new form of imperialism and neo-colonial control. Introduced by Western companies, these new technologies merely serve to bring Africa more firmly into the orbit of worldwide neo-capitalism. The new technologies are based on illegal coltan-mining, pushed onto African customers with misleading and aggressive advertisement campaigns, undermining local traditions of face-to-face communication, and, on top, old models from the West are dumped on the African continent, adding to the problem of pollution.

Read more…

Mobile phone revolution in the Tundra?

By John Postill

Stammler, F. M. (2009). Mobile Phone Revolution in the Tundra? Technological change among Russian reindeer nomads. Folklore (Tartu) 41, 47-78.

Tentative discussion as author didn’t focus on mobile phones during anthropological fieldwork. Paper based on fieldwork and conversations in 1998-2007.

Mobile phones could well turn out to be revolutionary among Russian reindeer nomads. Novelty is that mobiles bring to Tundra ‘real-time interactive private oral communication’, p. 52.

Mobiles require little energy, and herders already had small portable power generators for lighting years ago, p. 62. Phones carried under their parkas (malitsa), close to body; this protects batteries from winter cold, p. 62

Elena interesting remark: ‘There is nothing to talk about when you visit your neighbours’ – coz now can keep up with news and gossip via mobiles, p. 63

[Great for micro-coordination, see Ling]. For example:

1. Male herder said you can now be with herd and on your way home and tell wife to ‘heat the stove and brew some fresh tea’, p. 63.

2. Reindeer herdering union’s HQ could coordinate slaughters, timing, supplies, meat delivery to oil company settlement, etc, all via mobiles, p. 64

3. collect info for herders’ insurance companies, p. 64 [Freedom of the tundra and modcons all at once? where do I sign up?]

In sum, there is much potential of mobiles to improve herders’ livelihoods, p. 65

Mobile trends among reindeer nomads:

  • Young men are early adopters and drivers of mobile phone changes
  • Middle-aged men starting to use mobiles for work as well as networking with relatives
  • Young and middle-aged women use phones more for leisure, incl. news and gossip, p. 66

In 2006 (only seven months after mobiles introduced) herders laughed at anthropologist for using ‘totally outdated’ mobile and in 2007 for using ‘female’ handset, i.e. have been very quick to absorb wider societal normative views on mobiles.

Researchers in metropolitan centres have argued that mobiles increase the elasticity of life, from precise moments of pre-mobile life to ‘approximate’ moments, esp. teens and young adults ability to ‘tie together their peer group against the backdrop of a relatively nomadic life’.

But in Russian Tundra very different: mobiles don’t increase freedom, they reduce it: ‘planning security increases, moments are stated more precisely, and life becomes less “elastic”‘ , i.e mobiles ‘tighten the grip on people’s life rhythm, and reduce freedom and flexibility’, p. 71.

Mobile technologies for gender development (M4GD)

By John Postill

I have just discovered a very interesting research project named Mobile technology, gender and development in Africa, India and Bangladesh. This project is based at the Department of History and Ethnology, University of Jyväskylä, Finland and funded by the Academy of Finland (2010-2013). The project leader is Prof. Laura Stark:

“Project members will conduct empirical, interview-based field research in Africa and South Asia on the new opportunities and challenges offered by mobile technologies for women and girls, and how mobile technologies are already impacting gender relations in these areas. We will conduct research in Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, India, South Africa and Tanzania.”

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