Barriers to mobile ‘net in Kenya, Ghana
MOBILE| Jan. 3, 2013, 10:47 a.m.
Google surveys have identified internet speed and cost, transparency about pricing and usage as potential levers for improving mobile internet adoption in Kenya and Ghana.
Google says in its Africa blog that across Africa, mobile subscription rates have increased from 24% in 2007 to 53% in 2011 [ITU 2012]. However, while mobile phones have become commonplace, mobile Internet adoption has lagged. In 2011, for instance, mobile Internet adoption in Africa was 3.8%, compared to 54% in Europe. To better understand the nature and root causes of this dynamic, Google partnered with iHub Research to implement field studies in Kenya and Ghana.
In Kenya, Google interviewed 82 participants over three days. Highlights from the full summary include:
- Mobile data service cost is an important factor; however, access to a data-enabled handset appears to be a larger barrier. Among participants who do not currently use the mobile Internet, lack of a data-enabled phone and other factors were cited more often than service cost.
- Better understanding of mobile Internet costs may associated with less usage. Respondents who understood the relationship between the size of a webpage and the associated cost reported spending less money on mobile data. These same respondents were willing to pay less per megabyte of data than those who did not understand this relationship.
- However, improved information about mobile data costs while browsing may increase usage. Of users surveyed, half said that they would use the mobile Internet more with improved cost management tools, 13% said they would use it less, and 32% said their usage levels would remain the same.
Google ran a similar study in Ghana in August this year. Key insights from the summary report include:
- Mobile data users spend more money to make calls and send SMS messages than to use mobile Internet. Most users of mobile Internet (48%) spend less than GHc 5 (USD 2.50) per week on mobile data, while 28% spend less than GHc 5 on voice calls per week. Approximately half of users top up their mobile accounts daily in order to make calls and send SMS messages, compared to 37% of users who top up daily to use mobile Internet.
- Users and non-users do not have an accurate understanding of mobile Internet costs and many believe they are billed by time. Only 19% of users were able to correctly identify which mobile Internet activities were most expensive.
- Fewer users monitor mobile Internet spend, compared to voice/SMS balances. Nearly 75% of users keep track of their voice/SMS balances, compared to 38% who track their mobile Internet balance. Thirty-seven percent of users have accidentally spent more money than they intended on mobile Internet.
- If mobile Internet costs were more transparent, it might encourage non-users to become mobile Internet users. Of the non-users who are already tracking voice/SMS balances, 28% responded that better knowledge of mobile Internet costs could convert them to mobile Internet users. Among users, 42% stated that they would increase their usage if they could monitor their mobile Internet expenses more easily.
Google says: “These insights are useful to Google and others who are developing solutions to help increase access to the mobile Internet. For example, in addition to speed and cost, transparency about pricing and usage emerged as potential levers for improving adoption. Using these findings, we are leading experiments in sub-Saharan Africa to learn more about how users interact with the mobile Internet and how to provide a better user experience. We hope these findings will also encourage industry, nonprofit, and government entities to collaborate on research and solutions to make the Internet more readily available to everyone, regardless of geography or income.”
MORE MOBILE NEWS
Airtel, UNAIDS partnerThe Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, has explained that the partnership of the telco with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) will allow ample opportunity to further promote its Touching Lives initiative aimed at positively impacting on Nigerians, especially in the area of quality healthcare ... Read More
GSMA: mobile phone gender gap emergesA new GSMA report says over 1.7 billion women in low- and middle-income countries do not own mobile phones. Read More
French phone maker Archos debuts in NigeriaFrench mobile devices major, Archos Societe Anonymes, at the weekend in Lagos, launched its range products and connected objects, promising to redefine the service offering in the country. Read More
Glo’s smart plan gives enhanced voice, value to customersGlobacom subscribers on the postpaid platform will enjoy up to 5,000 free Short Messaging Service (SMS), up to 50GB data and up to 50 hours of free voice calls in a new and unprecedented Smart Postpaid Plan launched by the company in Lagos. Read More
Airtel Kenya launches UnlimiNET bundles for unlimited connectionsAirtel Kenya has announced the introduction of a flexible and affordable bundled tariff dubbed UnlimiNET. Read More
African Android growth makes strong headway for mobile internet accessAfrica is poised to become a hotbed for mobile growth and commerce in the coming years, according to Opera Mediaworks’ State of Mobile Advertising report released today. Read More
Orange rolls out Wi-Fi in Bungoma CountyIntegrated telecommunications solutions provider Orange has rolled out Wi-Fi in Bungoma County. The Wi-Fi solution, which is in its first phase, covers the county headquarters in Bungoma and the town. Read More
Tigo Senegal invests over US$220 000 to deploy 3G+ networkMobile operator Tigo Senegal says it has invested more than 110 million FCFA (about US$220 000) to deploy and expand the 3G+ network in various areas of this West African country. Read More
Airtel star prize winner bags Range RoverThe star prize winner of Airtel Nigeria’s redhot promo, 50-year old Abiodun Adio, has said he plans to use the 2015 edition of Range Rover valued at N30 million he won for a while then resell it to invest the proceeds. Read More
FEATURED STORYMalawi Govt denies clinging to ‘Cashgate’ software
The Malawi Government will not exclude the software brand that has been in use for the country’s Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS), but it has rejected reports implying that it is ‘clinging’ to the old system.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHKenya’s digital TV battle hots up
Kenya’s journey to Digital TV broadcasting took a new turn this week, when the Communication Authority of Kenya (CAK) accused three local media firms of intent to disrupt the process.
COMPANY NEWSVMware unveils vCloud for NFV with Integrated OpenStack to accelerate service innovation
VMware, the global leader in virtualisation and cloud infrastructure, today debuted VMware vCloud for NFV, an integrated Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) platform that will combine VMware’s production-proven ...