Mobiles for Development

This section will help you navigate through our vast collection of publications and blogs on mobile phones and telecommunication and the role they play in development.

Research Categories:

 Mobile Access Trends      Mobile And Finance     Sharing Development Info via Mobile Phones     Telecommunication Regulation

Featured Content

Haiti Mobile Money Tracker Project

InterMedia has launched its Haiti Mobile Money Tracker (HMMT) Project with the mission of providing robust research and analysis into the emerging mobile money (m-money) services market.  There is only a limited amount of consumer information publicly available to development practitioners to understand how Haitians are using these relatively new services as well as their access to financial services in general.  The HMMT Project, through the assistance of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, fills this knowledge gap through survey-based research used to evaluate the development of m-money in Haiti.


mobile access and use trends

Mobile Futures: Global Gender Divide

Unprecedented  growth  in  mobile  phone  access  in  emerging  economies  is  the  success   story  of  this  decade  -­‐-­‐  but  what  about  disadvantaged  citizens  in  these  countries  who   continue  to  confront  a  digital  divide?  In  many  cases,  they  also  represent  the  largest   potential  market  for  mobile  operators.  Gayatri  Murthy  digs  into  the  data  so  that   development  practitioners  and  mobile  operators  can  understand  the  disparities  and   opportunities  in  these  countries.


Mobile Communications in Zambia- Demand-Side Survey Analysis of Mobile Phone Access

Beyond measuring basic access and use levels, this report works to answer several key research questions regarding the role of mobile phones in economic and social development in Zambia. These include but are not limited to; what is the potential for SMS-based information services as a development tool, is the mobile market beginning to reach disadvantaged populations, what are the continuing barriers to mobile phone access and use, who is using mobile money and is their greater market potential for these services?

Also See Chapter 5 of this reportBarriers to Phone Ownership and the Dynamics of Phone Sharing: Examines barriers to Zambians owning or using a mobile phone and why some Zambians have never used one. Compares the use patterns of mobile owners compared to mobile borrowers.

Also see Mobile Access and Use in These Countries:

Ghana      Kenya       Pakistan      Uganda       Sierra   Leone        Mozambique

How do Early Adapters of Mobile Phones Stand Out Among All Mobile Users? See Our Analysis in These Countries:

Ghana   Kenya   Zambia

Mobile and finance

Lessons from Tanzania: Mobile Money for the Unbanked

There is considerable interest in using mobile phones to increase citizens' access to efficient and affordable financial services in developing countries. The July 2010 AudienceScapes national survey of Tanzania queried respondents on their use and knowledge of mobile money, with a view toward answering two key questions: Who uses these services in Tanzania? Are users mainly those who previously had access to other banking services, or do they include the poorest and the largely unbanked Tanzanians at the so-called “bottom of the pyramid” (BOP)?

Mobile Banking in Zambia: Who is it reaching?

Profiles Zambia's m-money users and considers whether these services have reached those most in need. Are Zambians using these services for more than just money transfers?

Also read the complete report: Mobile Communications in Zambia- Demand-Side Survey Analysis of Mobile Phone Use and Access

Research Brief: The Mobile Money Revolution in Ghana and Kenya 

 A great deal has been written about how in Africa mobile communications and the use of mobile money has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Here the AudienceScapes team seeks to answer the question, how exactly are Ghanains and Kenyans using their mobile money services?

Pakistan on the Cutting Edge of Mobile Technologies, Including Branchless Banking

Pakistan, like many other developing countries, has seen an explosion in its mobile communications market in recent years, with new mobile services such as branchless banking and social networks beginning to emerge.

<<more mobile and finance

Development information on mobile phones

New Wireless Pill Phone Study in US has implications for M-Health Globally

A new study proving the effectiveness of mobile phone technologies in relaying medication adherence information from hypertension patients to healthcare professionals in the U.S. has applications globally. If proven successful, scalable and geographically feasible in diverse locations, such applications can potentially transform health care systems through simple use of one’s mobile phones. AudienceScapes Research Assistant Gayatri Murthy reports....

Mobile Apps: The World Bank Reviews Lessons Learned

AudienceScapes overviews the World Bank’s latest study on the use of mobile applications for the health, agriculture and rural development sectors. What makes a successful mobile health project? How does a mobile app project become self-sustaining?

SMS Use and its Role as an Information Exchange Tool in Zambia

Evaluates the prevalence of SMS as a tool for news and information, identifies who are the key groups who are using this tool and what demographic groups are most likely to be reachable via SMS.

Also read the complete report: Mobile Communications in Zambia- Demand-Side Survey Analysis of Mobile Phone Use and Access

From Pilot to Franchise: Esoko Arms Farmers with Information

Farmers throughout Africa are using mobile technology to get access to current market information for their crops. Esoko, a Ghanaian software company, is moving from a nonprofit model to a business model to increase the use of its agricultural software. Dinfin Mulupi reports.

<<more development information via mobile phones

Telecommunication Regulation

 India's IT Sector- Caught Between Social Innovation And Government Surveillance

A new effort by the Indian government to monitor electronic communications has gained international attention. Critics warn that it could dampen innovation.

Gayatri Murthy looks at the argument that a more restrictive environment might hamper ICT advances that have often helped development goals as much as the individual corporations’ bottom line.

<< more telecommunication regulation

More blogs

Company Launches Free SMS Service in Zimbabwe

As mobile operators build infrastructure and upgrade services, a newcomer launches a free SMS service. If subscribers are willing to put up with ads at the end of their messages, that is. As texting has gotten more expensive in the country, this new product could fill a need. Tawanda Karombo reports

Mobile Apps and Development: Getting from Pilot to Scale

USAID held a panel discussion on mobile phones and development today that did a good job of highlighting the promises and challenges of using mobile phone applications to improve people's lives. Clearly, mobiles apps are proliferating in the development space, especially in health, education, finance and the delivery of government services. But success is contingent on the right environment -- regulatory, cultural, informational and commercial -- to achieve scale beyond the scope of most pilot projects.

Big Boost for Zimbabwe’s Mobile Network

Tawanda Karombo reports on Econet’s plans to significantly upgrade its mobile network in the capital. The company just received a multimillion line of credit from a Swedish creditor.

Zambia: Mobile Vouchers for Development

A recent visit here highlighted that the mobile money space in Zambia is busy now and likely to get busier soon. In addition to current services offered by Celpay and the Xapit service from Zambia National Commercial Bank (Zanaco), Bharti Airtel (which recently purchased Zain's Africa operations) is eyeing a launch of mobile money service soon, while South Africa's MTN also appears to be mulling an entry.

Uganda: Mobile Applications for Development Poised for Growth

Mobile phones, introduced in Uganda about 15 years ago, are becoming a key driver of development solutions in a range of areas-from health care to personal financial management to emergency service access.

Optimism for Sierra Leone Mobile Market Blooms but Difficulties Remain

Sierra Leone’s first mobile network was established in 1994 by U.K.-based Mobitel Sierra Leone Limited, which offered a radio-based telephony network and a mobile paging system throughout the country. But only recently did mobile phone use truly take off-and to such an extent that the days of landlines in Sierra Leone now appear to be waning.

As Mobile Phones Take Over, Colombians Discover “Real Time” While Regulators Face Challenges

In Colombia, the growth of information technology and the communication sector in the last 5 years clearly constitutes a radical transformation in the way in which we view and how we relate to the world.

In Colombia, Street Vendors Hawk Candy, Cigarettes...and Mobile Minutes

In the last three years, the Colombian capital has seen the emergence of an informal street market for mobile phone minutes. At nearly every corner or shopping mall, you can see vendors selling mobile minutes alongside their typical offerings of cigarettes, candies and chips. This informal market has allowed many more people, especially from low-income neighborhoods, to have access to and use mobile phones when they are needed.