CellBazaar: Enabling M-Commerce in Bangladesh

Title: CellBazaar: Enabling M-Commerce in Bangladesh
Authors: Ayesha Zainudeen, Rohan Samarajiva, Nirmali Sivapragasam
Pages: 16 pp.
ISBN: 1544-7529
e-ISBN: 1544-7537
Source: Information Technologies & International Development; Vol 7, Issue 3 - Mobile Telephony Special Issue, 61-76 pp.
Publisher: USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
Date (published): 09/09/2011
Date (accessed): 13/09/2011
Type of information: Peer-reviewed article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"E-commerce has been seen as a way to reduce friction in the marketplace. It allows larger volumes of transactions to take place than would otherwise be possible in the conventional marketplace, and it effectively expands markets while opening up opportunities for new ones. However, it is heavily dependent on physical infrastructure and other support services; these are often unavailable or inaccessible at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) in developing markets. The rapid proliferation of mobile phones throughout these markets, along with increasingly affordable services, creates opportunity to take the benefits of such applications to the BoP segment in these markets. This article examines the case of CellBazaar, a mobile-based electronic marketplace (e-marketplace) in Bangladesh, perhaps the first of its kind to reach the BoP in a developing market. It is a real-time collection of classified advertisements accessible even through the most basic mobile phone. Taking CellBazaar as a starting point, this article explores the potential for providing a wider range of e-marketplace services, including secure payment and delivery of the goods/services traded in a country with a significant BoP population such as Bangladesh; it looks at some of the obstacles that may arise in such a setting and discusses possible solutions."

Are the Poor Stuck in Voice? Conditions for Adoption of More-Than-Voice Mobile Services

Title: Are the Poor Stuck in Voice? Conditions for Adoption of More-Than-Voice Mobile Services
Authors: Ayesha Zainudeen, Dimuthu Ratnadiwakara
Pages: 15 pp.
ISBN: 1544-7529
e-ISBN: 1544-7537
Source: Information Technologies & International Development; Vol 7, Issue 3 - Mobile Telephony Special Issue, 45-59 pp.
Publisher: USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
Date (published): 09/09/2011
Date (accessed): 13/09/2011
Type of information: Peer-reviewed article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"Mobile phone access is widespread in Asia; voice connectivity has been achieved for the most part through intense competition, with prices being driven down to almost unsustainable levels. Against the backdrop of intense competition, new services and applications, such as price information alerts, news alerts, mobile money applications, and mobile Internet services, may provide new revenue sources, allowing operators to expand services. More important, from a development perspective, they also offer a way to get information and services with lower transaction costs to customers at the “bottom of the pyramid.” This article examines the use of such “more-than-voice” services among telecom users at the bottom of the pyramid in emerging Asia. Through a logistical regression model, it attempts to understand what factors can predict their use in order to inform operators on how they can better serve these markets, and to educate policymakers on how they can assist with policies that will favor greater access."

The Future of the Public Payphone: Findings from a Study on Telecom Use at the Bottom of the Pyramid in South and Southeast Asia

Title: The Future of the Public Payphone: Findings from a Study on Telecom Use at the Bottom of the Pyramid in South and Southeast Asia
Authors: Nirmali Sivapragasam, Juhee Kang
Pages: 12 pp.
ISBN: 1544-7529
e-ISBN: 1544-7537
Source: Information Technologies & International Development; Vol 7, Issue 3 - Mobile Telephony Special Issue, 33-44 pp.
Publisher: USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
Date (published): 09/09/2011
Date (accessed): 13/09/2011
Type of information: Peer-reviewed article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"Public payphones, such as traditional payphone booths, have been in use since the late 19th century. However, with growing telephone ownership, particularly of mobile telephones, demand for public payphones has experienced a decline in recent years, in both developed and developing countries. Despite this, provision of public payphones continues to be a part of universal service obligations in some South Asian countries. This article examines the changing demand for these phones in developing countries, particularly in the context of low-income earners, through two consecutive surveys of bottom of the pyramid telecom users in 2006 and 2008 in six South and Southeast Asian countries. The study finds that, although demand for public payphones is declining in general, they still play a role among the poorest of the poor, and even among mobile owners. It recommends alternative forms of public payphones based on mobile technologies and suggests more inclusive mobile services for all."

Bottom of the Pyramid Expenditure Patterns on Mobile Services in Selected Emerging Asian Countries

Title: Bottom of the Pyramid Expenditure Patterns on Mobile Services in Selected Emerging Asian Countries
Authors: Aileen Agüero, Aileen Agüero, Juhee Kang
Pages: 14 pp.
ISBN: 1544-7529
e-ISBN: 1544-7537
Source: Information Technologies & International Development; Vol 7, Issue 3 - Mobile Telephony Special Issue, 19-32 pp.
Publisher: USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
Date (published): 09/09/2011
Date (accessed): 13/09/2011
Type of information: Peer-reviewed article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"This article analyzes patterns of expenditure on mobile phone services at the bottom of the pyramid (BoP), following users in six Asian countries: Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Thailand. We examine whether mobile phone services in the selected countries display characteristics of a luxury good or those of a necessity. We first evaluate the expenditure patterns of mobile phone services among five income groups within the BoP. Then, we estimate the income elasticity of mobile phone services using Engel curves. Based on these analyses, we conclude that mobile phone services are necessities at the BoP. We also find that any increase in price or tax adds the greatest burden on the poorest of the poor. We argue that the current high tax on mobile phone services in developing countries in Asia has an adverse effect on the poor."

Government of Bhutan, Ministry of Information and Communications: Annual Report: 2010-2011

Title: Government of Bhutan, Ministry of Information and Communications: Annual Report: 2010-2011
Pages: 38 pp.
Source: Ministry of Information and Communications
Publisher: Government of Bhutan
Date (published): 06/07/2011
Date (accessed): 07/09/2011
Type of information: statistical report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:
"This Annual Report of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) in the present format is being produced for the first time although the system of sharing and disseminating such information existed even in the past. The present report provides a general overview of some of the main activities implemented by MoIC and its line agencies during the financial year 2010-2011. Hereafter, this will become an annual feature and even expanded to provide thorough and more detailed statistical information, together with analysis of sector performance during the one year period."

In African agriculture, information is power

Title: In African agriculture, information is power
Author: Ken Banks
Source: News Watch
Publisher: National Geographic
Date (published): 05/09/2011
Date (accessed): 07/09/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"You don’t have to spend long in many African agricultural markets to realise the need for better information. Farmers lack prices, traders need transport and new contacts, projects and governments need a better way to reach out to people, businesses lack real-time updates on their stock and the value of their harvests. The list goes on.

In this installment of Mobile Message, Sarah Bartlett – Director of Communications and Research at Esoko - explains how African technology is being used to power agricultural markets across Africa, filling an ‘information void’ for local farmers in the process.

Mobile Message is a series of blog posts about how mobile phones are being used throughout the world to improve, enrich, and empower billions of lives."

From Digital Divide to Digital Provide: Spillover Benefits to ICT4D Non-Users

Title: From Digital Divide to Digital Provide: Spillover Benefits to ICT4D Non-Users
Author: Richard Heeks
Source: ICTs for development
Date (published): 31/08/2011
Date (accessed): 07/09/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"ICT4D research on spillovers to non-users specifically has been rare, with the main interests in non-users being to understand why they are non-users; and most spillover work being done between sectors or enterprises and/or focusing on the spillover of encouraging ICT adoption rather than more immediate benefits.

This does seem to be changing, perhaps because of the growth of mobile and related to earlier work on the externalities to non-users of arrival of rural telecommunications.
...
I look forward to what appears to be forthcoming work by the Global Impact Study on non-user spillovers. However, this remains a poorly-understood and little-researched issue; one that needs a greater focus since it is central to understanding the digital divide and digital inequalities. It also has implications for practice; suggesting ICT4D projects should promote non-user spillovers as much as they promote ICT usage."

Rural Youth in Kenya, and the Impact of ICTs

Title: Rural Youth in Kenya, and the Impact of ICTs
Author: Chris Mwangi
Source: GBI Portal
Publisher: USAID
Date (published): 12/08/2011
Date (accessed): 07/09/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"We would be missing the full significance of ICTs if we do not see them as an integral part in the efforts to improve the everyday life of rural folk in Kenya. Mobile technology being the key mode of communication in the country has contributed greatly to local youth livelihoods. Using mobile phones, the youth have able to access knowledge and information which are vital aspects for improving agricultural development by increasing agricultural yields and marketing.

With accessibility of mobile phone networks throughout the country, services such as Safaricom’s mobile money transfer (M-Pesa), mobile money banking (M Kesho) and information on agricultural produce markets have created job opportunities for the youth as the number of agents increase."

“Measuring the Internet Economy” from a Civil Society Perspective

Title: “Measuring the Internet Economy” from a Civil Society Perspective
Author: Michael Gurstein
Source: Gurstein's Community Informatics
Date (published): 01/09/2011
Date (accessed): 07/09/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Among other things I’m involved in a variety of discussions in several venues on Civil Society and the Internet. This below is part of my contribution to one of those discussions and specifically on how to “measure the Internet economy” in this instance from a Civil Society perspective.
...
I’m wondering in this context whether there are areas or issues concerning measurement and indices specifically associated with the Internet that would be of particular interest to Civil Society(CS) that might (or might not) be of interest from the perspective of a “critique” of the SNA and broad measures such as the GDP–parallel to the critiques related to the measurement of “women’s work” and “environmental costing” for example?
The obvious measurement(s) are of course related to the “digital divide” — those who have access and (I would add) the capability of using the Internet and those who do not. But I’m also thinking that there may be an additional set of arguments that quite significantly link back to the earlier critiques and those have to do with the linkage of the Internet with social capital.
Thus, it might be possible (and reasonable) to argue that the enhancement of social capital (internetworking, communication at a distance, speeding up of communications etc.etc.) while not unique to the Internet is so much accelerated and intensified by the Internet that “quantity” becomes “quality”"

Amid Kenya’s Food Crisis, Radio Educates Farmers

Title: Amid Kenya’s Food Crisis, Radio Educates Farmers
Author: Dinfin Mulupi
Source: AudienceScapes
Date (published): 18/07/2011
Date (accessed): 07/09/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"At a time when Kenya is struggling to feed its population following severe droughts, radio programs are educating listeners on better farming techniques in a bid to improve food security.

Kenya is on the brink of possibly one of its worst droughts in 60 years, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Aid groups have issued their largest-ever appeal for food aid for parts of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.
The food shortage resulting from this year’s drought is not uncommon in Kenya, although this year it is particularly severe. For decades, Kenya has suffered frequent acute food shortages. Paradoxically, it is believed that close to 80 percent of the population engages in farming. While Kenya’s food shortages are caused by a complex set of circumstances – drought, high global food prices, political instability -- the poor farming techniques practiced by Kenya’s majority small holder farmers have been singled out as a major factor.
To remedy this problem, some radio stations in Kenya are broadcasting programs to educate farmers about successful agricultural techniques. The goal is to promote food security for the region by helping small holder farmers increase their yield."

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