Source: Times of India
Date: 10, Thursday, July
India does more than just make and receive calls on its mobile phones. It is the only country in the world to send and receive missed calls, has the lowest usage of multiple SIMs, while Indian women show a unique preference for public phones, including PCOs to make calls, according to a study.
The study also reports consumer-led innovation like wives using tracking devices on phones to pin cheating husbands or a migrant worker using the local grocer to transfer funds to his family by transferring load (prepaid value) from his mobile phone to the grocer.
These are some of the findings from a six-country qualitative survey of teleuse at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) in Asia by leading ICT think tank LIRNEasia.
Rural and low-income consumer segments are attracting immense interest as they are expected to contribute to the next wave of growth in India, particularly for telecom products and services.
Many industry experts believe that the next billion telecom subscribers will come from the BOP. Telecom adoption at the BOP highlights the role of telecom in enhancing household income and transforming personal identity by increasing accessibility and hence, credibility. Telecom adoption is also seen to impact their social and professional network coordination by strengthening family ties and increasing business coordination by overcoming challenges posed by location and context.
“If we are to have an inclusive society, it is imperative that the poor are connected to electronic networks. How can that happen unless companies deliver services that meet their needs? What LiRNEasia does with this survey is bridge that gap”, says Rohan Samarajiva, chairman & CEO, LIRNasia.
“The complex and different nature of demand for telecom services among households making less than two dollars a day is illuminated by the teleuse@BOP research, enabling companies to develop appropriate products and governments to implement appropriate policies”, Samarajiva explains. Missed calls are used by a high 84% of the sample to minimize communication expenditures.
They are used when people run out of load on their mobiles or when they want someone else to call them.
Missed calls are also used to check if another person is on the callers’ network. If the recipient is switched onto another network, he/she will be signalled to switch to a SIM corresponding to the callers’ network so that lower on-net charges can be availed of. Those below 35 years make the most use of missed calls as well as SMS, multiple SIMs and friends and family packages in order to manage their communication expenses.
Interestingly, Indian women are the only ones to display a preference for public landline phones. The reason is that they are enclosed during the conversation, which ensures safety and privacy, as also a place to sit.
At home, married women are especially starved for privacy which is at a premium when they want to converse with parents and siblings. Shopkeepers help by allowing women credit if they run out of money and also keeping messages for them in case they do not have phones.
The survey incorporates findings from a 45-minute questionnaire administered on 11,000 people in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Thailand.