Understanding the Mobile Phone Usage in Developing Countries

mobile phone usage in developing countries

The primary reason behind technological advancement is to provide better resources to everyone to improve their living standards and do something to avoid relying on others. Since some parts of the world are not as developed as others are, innovators have looked into the fact that developing countries also have to change themselves and replacing landlines and desktops with mobiles and laptops could be the crucial aspects in doing so. Believing in the fact that two-way communication is the basic thing to bring changes in the international development, innovators have taken on the challenge to clear everything to people who have stuck in the middle of nowhere. Yes, like developed countries, they can also be able to think of themselves and find perfect ways to lift up the quality of their lifestyle.

According to industry statistics, there are over 7.5 billion mobile connections and 3.7 billion subscribers. But, what about those 7.2 billion people who still don’t have access to even basic facilities of text and voice? What’s actually going wrong with them? Even, one third of them are unable to use 3G or 4G internet buckets. Such people belong to developed countries where, people only have to get some resources and things could be done just the way people do in developed countries.

While talking about developing countries, most of the people are quite clear that the boundaries are extended to Asia and South Africa where, there are a lot of places that still need efforts to make everything right.

Almost 2% of Africans have the landline facility while more than 2/3 of the Americans are having the same. Recent studies have cleared that mobiles phones are equally common in South African and Nigeria just like they are in the USA, meaning that around 90% of people have their own mobile phones. However, the worth mentioning fact is that those mobile phones are only able to perform basic functions like calling, messaging and simple internet browsing. So, when it comes to considering the mobile phone usage in developing countries, there are a lot of aspects to look at. No one could overlook their limitations to earn basic necessities and in order to bring some change in their lives, the key is to spread mobile networks in the rural areas so that people can get enough help to think of how to improve their lives and create a better future. For this, it’s necessary to know the benefits of mobile phones in developing countries.

Benefits of Mobile Phones in Developing Countries

1.Money and Banking

People, living in developing countries, are not having approach to traditional banking. Some of the areas don’t even know about anything like a bank. However, with increasing mobile phone usage in developing countries, things are changing with high pace and it has been expected that the residents would soon be able to know about different financial systems. They would be able to know that financial inclusion allows them to save money for starting businesses, invest in kids’ education and use them in bad times.

M-Pesa was the first money transfer medium launched in Kenya during 2009 where, people just have to use text messages to send money to the respective person. Studies have shown significant rise in its
demand as 61% Kenyans used M-Pesa through their mobile phones to send or receive payments while 39% Tanzanians and 42% Ugandans are also satisfied with this initiative.

2. Governance

It’s quite obvious to have no response from the world when people are living in the third world or under-developed countries. Though, when talking about developing countries, UNICEF used to conduct some polls periodically in order to collect information from 15 major countries in the real time. A couple of years ago, Uganda was wondering why people are not applying for their entrepreneurship program for which, UNICEF’s UReport mentioned that people were not taking as much interest in school diploma as they should. The applications and requirements started to flood in while polling was used to track violence and disease outbreaks.

In the Philippines, the government started to use mobile money to distribute welfare benefits, collect fees and handle payroll. Libya also introduced mobile voter registration system for the first time in 2014.

4. Agriculture

While looking at the mobile phone usage in developing countries, it’s necessary to have a look at how things have been changed in agriculture.

According to UNICEF, most of the people in developing or under-developed countries are subsistence farmers who are growing a limited amount of crops that is enough for themselves and the community. They avoid growing in bulk because of rising expenses that may or may not be received over time. USAID Pakistan has gone a long way in this regard as they joined hands with the local government and a telecom service provider to create motivational campaigns for the farmers. They designed a mobile program for potato and peach farmers to receive voice or text messages regarding market growth, crop prices and ways to prevent disease.

In Mozambique, USAID used to encourage farmers for mobile money so that they can save something for fertilizers to be used in the next season, which ultimately leads to increase in their profits. In Kenya, mobile phones became the source of crop preservation, thus allowing them to wait for the time when the prices go high and they can maximize the return.

5. Education

Credit goes to the decreased hardware prices that now students, in developing countries, can have access to quality educational resources. There are low-power tablets that have pre-loaded libraries for students’ assistance. Even, mobile phones helped teachers to learn new things- particularly in Pakistan, where teachers got to know about different effective teaching methods.

Another program of UNICEF, EduTrac also focuses on how to polish teaching skills. The Ministry of Education in Uganda was successful to approach subscribed teachers to keep track of their attendance, supplies and facilities without having to travel to every site. Mobile banking has also turned out to be an incredible source to learn education- schools allow parents to pay fees through their mobile phones.

6. Health

Last but not the least, mobile phone usage in developing countries is also extended to health in which, the Grameen Foundation initiated Mobile Midwife program that used to send daily text messages and weekly voicemails to women so that they can take good care of their pregnancy. Basic services are available with no charge but may cost if there are add-ons.

In Mozambique, cell phones well used to fight against AIDS and HIV while a non-profit organization also incorporated a mobile messaging system to remind patients about their medications and anti-retroviral therapies.

What else?

There are numerous other aspects that explain the significance of mobile phone usage in developing countries. The key is to dig deeper and get to know everything about how they have changed everyone’s life and helped to improve overall living standards.

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