A recent study reveals that many Kenyans in the lowest socio-economic strata go without food and transport or opt for cheaper alternatives to save money to purchase mobile phone credit.
The interesting study reveals that many people regardless of their socio-economic levels rely on the mobile phone technology for both personal and professional needs.
The study which was carried out by iHub Research and Research Solutions Africa and commissioned by the World Bank, Sought to explore mobile phone usage among prepaid Kenyan mobile subscribers making less than $2.50 per day.
It’s startling that one out of five people interviewed for the report chose to forgo necessities like food or transport to purchase mobile phone credit. Some would eat cheaper food, such as rice and vegetables, instead of meat so they could buy credit. For instance, one respondent explains that she sells mangoes and thus uses her phone to take orders from her customers. Just like her, Susan Wacera who sells jewelry in a nearby market stall often walks to work instead of using public transport.
Findings from the research suggest that mobile phones provide support to small-scale businesses, increasing their income levels as they are cited as a factor for increased business income among the target group.
This findings corroborate with the latest statistics report published by the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK)for the July to September 2012 quarter that the country’s mobile penetration rate grew to 77.2% (from 75% in the previous quarter) on a mobile subscriber base of 30.4 million active SIM cards.
CCK also reveals that 99% of the 30.4 million active sim card users are prepaid subscribers with a 71.2 to 76.7 Minutes of Use (MoU) per subscriber per month representing a growth of 7.7% with SMS messages sent in the period increasing by 10.1 percent to reach 1 billion.
Indeed Mobile telephony is no longer just a mode of communication but a means to life and sustainability.