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POVERTY AND ACCESS TO TELEPHONY IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO. DIRSI Stakeholders’ Meeting. Kim I. Mallalieu DIRSI Plenary and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UWI DIRSI Stakeholders’ Meeting Trinidad and Tobago March 4 2008. 2007 Mobile Opportunities Research.

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poverty and access to telephony in trinidad and tobago
POVERTY AND ACCESS TO TELEPHONYIN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

DIRSI Stakeholders’ Meeting

Kim I. Mallalieu

DIRSI Plenary

and

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, UWI

DIRSI Stakeholders’ Meeting

Trinidad and Tobago

March 4 2008

slide2

2007 Mobile Opportunities Research

  • IDRC funded DIRSI investigation of telephony perceptions,access, use and barriers for the poor in 7 LAC countries
  • T&T research in collaboration w/ Dr. I. Cambridge
  • CDS applied survey in poor communities in T&T
  • Study considers fixed lines, mobile and the Internet but focuses primarily on mobile because:
    • Impact of mobile on developed country economies is significant
    • Impact of mobile on developing country economies estimated as twice that in developing countries
    • High mobile penetration among poor in developing countries
slide3

Trinidad and Tobago (Dec ‘06) Background

  • Population = 1.3 m
  • 17% estimated as poor1(Kairi 2007)
  • Internet penetration = 6.2 % (TATT 2007)
  • Total phone subs = 151 / 100 inhabitants (TATT 2007)
  • Mobile subs = 126 / 100 inhabitants (TATT 2007)
  • Mobile subscription rates overtook fixed 02/03
  • Acquisition peak straddled liberalization and launch of new entrant, March 2006

1“households with adult equivalent per capita expenditure values less than TT$653.99 per month”

slide4

Findings: Perceptions of Poor Surveyed

  • Telecom services generally physically accessible
  • Service quality and availability generally favourable for mobile and fixed, somewhat less for pay phone service
  • Mobile coverage in vast majority of homes
  • Those with no service live on average less than 15 minutes away from a pay phone
  • Mobile usage rather inelastic
    • 44% would maintain current usage if cost  2
    • 36% ………………………………… if cost x 2
    • 66% ………………………………… if income x 2
    • 40% ………………………………… if income  2
slide5

Findings: Access among T&T Poor

Mobile use dominates strongly

slide6

Findings: Mobile Users

  • 86.4% of surveyed are mobile users
  • # males = 2 x # females among users surveyed
  • A number of mobile users below national poverty line, many do not have piped water
  • 1/3: no high school education
  • 3/4: had not worked the week prior to interview
slide8

Findings:Mobile Use

  • Mobile used primarily for voice: > 3 calls / day avg
  • More than half surveyed mobile users do not use SMS: < 2 msgs / day avg
  • Some ring tone download and games
  • Virtually no other services used (banking, government etc.)
  • Social comms
  • predominates
slide12

Recommendations for Impact

  • Engagement of traditionally marginalized communities in planning and development
  • Development of innovative culturally-relevant technologies, services, applications and enabling environments
  • Policy, and perhaps regulatory, interventions
  • Further empirical as well as analytical research
slide14

Observations

  • In T&T, mobile empowers poor along socio-cultural lines: social inclusion, dignity, self-respect, security
  • In some developing countries mobile has additionally enabled expanded business opportunities and employment, increased efficiency and productivity, lower transaction costs and wealth generation
  • Deep penetration levels in Trinidad and Tobago suggest the opportunity for impact
  • Intervention strategies (policy, regulatory, projects, innovations) should be guided by perceptions,access, use, barriers and of course culture and values
  •  Purpose-driven research
slide15

Thank You

  • Perspectives of
    • Policy and regulatory institutions
    • Today’s wider audience
  • As we contemplate
    • Building critical mass in local and regional research
    • Tying into broader regional initiatives such as Connect the Caribbean / Connected Caribbean initiative/s