CHAPTER THREE THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK 3.1 INTRODUCTION
The mobile phone has become ubiquitous in our communities. This has made it possible for people to have access to ICT benefits. The device is being used for many different reasons; some of which include communication and access to information. However, mobile phones bring with them many responsibilities, such as knowledge on how to use them, understanding the dangers that come with some of their applications as well as choices of which applications to use. These responsibilities are generally not known to users wherein their devices end up being underutilised or abused. This chapter focuses on how the mobile phone is used. It investigates frameworks that can be used to measure its effectiveness in rural communities. This is achieved by reviewing how the frameworks and methods used by other authors in similar studies or development topics.
In this chapter, three sections are provided to preface the theoretical framework. Section A discusses the usage of mobile phones in South Africa, looking at the device’s advantages and disadvantages for a rural community. Section B then discusses the different frameworks and approaches that have been used elsewhere for the measurement of ICTs/mobile phones for development purposes. Section C examines how the discussed list of frameworks complements or fails to support the measurement of mobile phones in rural communities. The relevant framework is then proposed providing its benefits for the targeted communities. The next section will discuss the different usages of the mobile phones across communities, health, and education, their limitations and challenges. This will be followed by the measurement of impact in rural communities. The theoretical framework is then presented with the discussion on frameworks and approaches that are related to mobile phones and community development to assess changes. This is then followed by the analysis of the frameworks. The indicators for impact assessment are also discussed and the chapter is concluded.
BACKGROUND ON MOBILE PHONES USAGE
It is estimated that Africa is among the continents that will reach 20 per cent of mobile data traffic by 2015 (Cisco 2011: 5). According to GSMA (2014: 3), mobile phone subscriptions have been increasing at 18 per cent for the past five years, leading to 253 million subscriptions. Recent statistics reveal that the number of mobile phone users in Africa has multiplied by 33 since 2000 (Standard Bank Group 2015: 36). Moreover, it is estimated that in the next five years, every adult will have a mobile phone. In 2010, the Republic of South Africa (RSA) (2010: 116) reported that a percentage of South Africans with access to a mobile phone were rapidly approaching 9 out of 10. The total population coverage in mobile phone subscriptions is at 65 per cent (GSMA 2014: 5). Moreover, mobile phone subscription had increased from 18.5 per cent per 100 people in 2001 to 85.9 per cent in 2007, allowing South Africa to reach its MDG targets. Recent statistics revealed that more than 75 per cent of the less fortunate people, aged 15 years and older, have access to a mobile phone (InfoDev 2012: 24).
The percentage of those considered to be in par with the standard of living requirements is 89 per cent, suggesting that even the poor do have access to a mobile phone. According to InfoDev (2012: 24), 98.5 per cent of those who own mobile phones are using a pre-paid (pay as you go) Subscriber Identifier Module (SIM) card. Other reports have also reported multiple ownership of SIM cards (Boateng 2011: 57, Esselaar et al 2010: 4). Boateng stresses that the use of multiple SIM cards is due to the unreliability of network connectivity. The issue of high costs in terms of pricing is another reason for multiple SIM cards, as this allows users to have benefits of multiple MNOs (Esselaar et al 2010: 19). This behaviour indicates the users’ capability in making sure that the mobile phone works to their advantage. Issues of network problems and high cost noted in Chapter Two, section 2.4.5, have led to users adopting means of ensuring that the mobile device continues to be accessible to them.
The versatility of the mobile phone device is further noticeable in how it overtook the FTL not only because of reaching those who had limited infrastructure for telecommunications, but the service offerings as well. It offered the users more services such as SMS, Internet for smartphones and entertainment features; the mobile phone also offered increased mobility and lower costs (Esselaar et al 2007: 92). Generally, the mobile phone is used for making and receiving calls; receiving and sending SMS; receiving and sending multimedia messaging (MMS); chatting through instant messaging (IM); accessing SNS; taking pictures; recording videos; transferring and buying airtime; banking; surfing the Internet; playing games; listening to radio; and making and receiving video calls. It is said that the usage of these various activities is not too different between the less fortunate and the fortunate. The difference is that, in most cases, the less fortunate use these activities 10 per cent more than the fortunate (InfoDev 2012: 26).
Another noted trend in mobile phone usage was the ownership of high-end mobile phones. According to InfoDev (2012: 25) the less fortunate group has mobile phones capable of accessing the Internet. The access to Internet-capable mobile phones provides an indication of some new usage patterns such as surfing the Internet and accessing social networking services (InfoDev 2012: 26). Moreover, device ownership and some of its usages show the determination amongst people to sacrifice for services that they deem important. The usage patterns of those devices are, however, inconclusive considering that the results were enacted from a focus group.
The mobile phone’s popularity is steadily increasing due to the device’s ability to offer users various services at the palm of their hands. Smartphone devices take the lead compared to ordinary and feature phones. With the smartphone, users can easily access the Internet, SNS, banking and other services. The SNSs are competing with the SMSs as they are cheaper. Through mobile phone Internet access, users are enabled to send messages to friends, families and colleagues at a fraction of the cost of the other types of messaging (Donner et al 2011: 577).
The mobile phone business has the ability to spur local economy activities by allowing entrepreneurs to run their own mobile access businesses, such as offering pay phone services and selling airtime (Nokia Siemens Networks 2007: 4). The services of mobile phones contribute to business opportunities, as developers of mobile applications stand a chance of making money from m-apps. It is stated that the popular Mxit app does not only make its money from subscribers, but also from advertising companies as well (InfoDev 2012: 9). Fifty per cent of their revenues are generated from subscribers and the other 50 per cent from advertisers. The total revenue is then split into 70 and 30 per cent for the developers and the company respectively. The high cost of data as stated in section 2.3.2 apparently impacts negatively on developers as they depend on this service for the development of m-apps (InfoDev 2012: 15).
In the health sector, the mobile phone assists with sending text messages to patients; for example, the mobile phone assists in sending test results or reminders about taking medications (Mall et al 2013: 365, Nokia Siemens Networks 2007: 4). Moreover, the alarm feature is used to remind patients to take their medications (Crankshaw et al 2010: 732). The IICD (2013: 4) further reports that rural health facilities and care workers use the mobile phone to disseminate information to the community. For example, the SMS feature was used in Ghana to share information on sexual and reproductive health matters. Moreover, the diagnosis treatment and prevention of Malaria are conducted through the support of mobile phone to fight the disease (IICD 2013: 10). In addition, the texting, image and audio features were used in the management of the disease. In South Africa, the mobile phone is used to control and monitor human exposure to Malaria through an application called mspay (Eskenazi et al 2014: 221). The incorporation of the mobile phone for health matters seems valuable and further commends the developmental role of this device.
Mobile phones are playing an incredible role in the learning environment as well. In education, the multimedia materials can be delivered into the classrooms via the mobile services (Nokia Siemens Networks 2007: 4). Moreover, they also assist in informal learning. According to McKinsey and Company (2012: 4), in India, primary schools used mobile phone games to help students from rural, low-income households to learn English. Researchers, with the assistance of teachers, devised a simple game to develop listening comprehension, word recognition, sentence construction and spelling. The test scores of students who used the mobile-phone games improved by nearly 60 per cent as a result of the mobile phone game. Furthermore, audio SMSs were used to learn English lessons in China, Bangladesh, South Korea and Indonesia. According to Cisco (2011: 5), such technologies helps to reduce boredom in classrooms and retain learners in schools, thereby reducing dropouts levels.
Mobile phone usage in South Africa
South Africa’s high rank position, which is fifth in the world in data usage, illustrates an uptake of advanced activities done over the mobile phone other than basic calling services. The country is also leading in the continent in terms of application downloads from app stores (IT News Africa 2015: 1). This suggests that users are using the Internet to communicate and access different informative applications as well as content creation. They use their devices to download ringtones, music, wallpapers, pictures and screen savers (Hutton 2011: 1). They also take pictures and videos with their mobile phones (Pew Research Center 2015: 6). Facebook is the most popular SNSs used especially by those aged between 25 and 31. Since Facebook can be accessed over PCs, 85 per cent of users were accessing it from their mobile phones. The Facebook user base still has those who access the device from feature phones (World Wide Worx & Fuseware 2015: 1). In addition, the use of Facebook succeeded to close the gender gap as both male and females were accessing it equally.
Mxit is another popular platform claiming 62 per cent of users (Hutton 2011: 1). The platform seems to be on a downward trend as reports reveal that it had lost 1,6 million users by August 2014 (World Wide Worx & Fuseware 2015: 3). However, other IMs seem to be more popular when compared to SNSs. According to Effective Measure (2014: 10), the use of IMs such as BBM, WhatsApp, 2go, Mxit, We chat, Viber and MSN messenger, and email are more common than SNS. Moreover, WhatsApp is the most used IM followed by BBM (Effective Measure 2014: 11). According to Hutton (2011: 1), SMSs are still widely used especially to replace voice calls as they are more affordable.
Mobile banking is a service that is known, but people are less eager to use it due to limited knowledge of its benefits and the security factor around the service. Only a small number of the Nielsen study group reported to be using mobile banking (Hutton 2011: 1). Effective Measure (2014: 12) reports that 20 per cent of the smartphone users use mobile banking as a convenient feature of their device. The argument that smartphones enables its users to do banking is misleading as mobile banking can still be carried out on standard and feature phones of users who have a bank account and have registered for the service. Users with a standard or feature phone can use the unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) to conduct some basic banking services (Standard Bank Group 2015: 50). The online purchase of goods and services is a new rend noticed from South Africans. A quarter of smartphones users was reported to have made purchases from their smartphones (Effective Measure 2014: 12).
YouTube and Instagram have become other applications that have stirred interest from South African users. According to World Wide Worx and Fuseware (2015: 3), YouTube’s growth has increased to 7,2 million active users in a period of a year. Moreover, Instagram shares similar growth attributes as it has grown from 680,000 to 1,1 million users between 2013 and 2014. The growth of these content-based platforms suggest interest and possible content creation by South Africans. Twitter is one of the SNS competitors of Facebook. It has its presence in the South African market but not as much at its competitor, Facebook. Nevertheless, the intensity of its use is much higher than Facebook which means its users are more engaged on the platform than with Facebook (World Wide Worx & Fuseware 2015: 3). Moreover, LinkedIn, a professional networking platform is also slowly gaining numbers with a record of 3,8 million. This shows that mobile phone usage by the population is not only on a social level.
The various uses – from calls, SMSs, app and content downloads, to SNS and IM usage on various platforms – shows the growing use of the mobile phone. This further shows user trends that are appreciative of various applications that are brought to the market.
The importance of mobile phones in rural communities
As noted in the previous section, mobile phones have grounded themselves in terms of the services offered. The mobile phone’s potential to reach markets which most ICT devices have failed to cover needs to be applauded. Their ability to reach the rural population market is explored further in this section. The recent trends on usage have grown to include social networking, and it is interesting to note how the trends apply in rural areas. Beger and Sinha (2012: 18) have recorded an exponential growth of Mxit users. Mxit is used for chatting; exchanging multimedia messages; playing games; download music; access movie clips and news; and buying and selling products contained in the app. In addition, the mobile phone was used to access mobile banking application by rural users for business and personal uses. However, they have noted that there is limited hard evidence indicating mobile-banking access and use among populations disaggregated by age, location, race, and gender (Beger & Sinha 2012: 20).
Online usage trends reveal migration from computer access of Internet to mobile devices (UN 2010: vii). According to InfoDev (2012: 8), in a 2011 survey, there was a significant number of people who accessed the stripped-down mobile version of Facebook, Facebook Zero. This was accessed on feature or smartphones, or through the low-bandwidth mobile browser Opera. Young participants in the focus groups who have a feature or smartphone seem to use social networks and instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp or BBM rather than voice and SMS services (InfoDev 2012: 30). Other features used, among others, are the mobile web, including mobile browsing; social networking or instant messaging; and are perceived as affordable. They are not only cheaper than a computer-enabled connection, but also cheaper than Internet café fees (InfoDev 2012: 31). Socially, the mobile phone addresses issues of safety. InfoDev (2012: 27) state that users felt that the mobile phone offered them and their loved ones a sense of security. An earlier study also revealed that the mobile phone was useful in cases of emergencies, as it is also used to contact the Police. The users felt that it increases their safety because when incidents happen at night they do not have to walk long distances to the police station (Macueve et al 2009: 26).
It is argued that certain features in the mobile phone, such as pre-paid packages, SMSs, missed calls and basic Internet services are the ones that attract rural people to use the mobile phone (Ariyabandu & Zengpei 2009: 16, UN 2010: 18). The SMS and voice features on the mobile phone are used by some people for business purposes as well (InfoDev 2012: 35). Furthermore, several businesses in the focus group discussions indicated that they use mobile applications, namely WhatsApp, Mxit, BlackBerry Messaging, Twitter and Facebook, to communicate with their customers and suppliers, and to advertise their products and services.
The impact of gender in mobile phone usage
The usage of a mobile phone by women from Tunisia, Jordan, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates, was nearly ubiquitous, with 79-93 per cent of women using it for business purposes (CAWTAR 2007: 10). It was also used to access Internet applications. Internet usage was high, and this was found have increased by improved accessibility to mobile phones. However, some reports state that some women use mobile phones and Internet for personal and social purposes, unlike men who use them for professional reasons (Hafkin & Huyer 2007: 32). In Mozambique, women embraced the mobile phone technology as it enabled them to contact suppliers and make request for more stock (Macueve et al 2009: 26). The fact that it offered them direct immediate contact with suppliers was highly commended. This device was also viewed to be their “feet and work”. This means that it reduced their travels and also provided them with a business opportunity by allowing them to market their business using the mobile phone.
The mobile phone assists users to stay in contact with the loved ones. Relatives from abroad and those in the cities are contacted by mobile phone (Macueve et al 2009: 26). In cases where the users do not have food, they can call their relatives and request them to send them food (Comfort & Dada 2009: 50, Macueve et al 2009: 26). The mobile phone kiosks were used to redeem remittances received from relatives in the cities (Comfort & Dada 2009: 50). The payments were used towards buying food and other things that they needed. Through the mobile phone and being able to contact relatives, hunger was combated.
In contrary to the relationship aspect, a study by Munyua (2009: 123) reported that the mobile phone caused conflicts between spouses. Family feuds were caused by women’s concerns that their husbands spend more money recharging their mobile phone airtime than buying household essentials (Comfort & Dada 2009: 49). Overall, it was noted that women would give preference to their domestic roles and needs over their use of ICTs (Comfort & Dada 2009: 54). The other preferred feature of the mobile phone was the efficiency of the calendar and reminders (Munyua 2009: 124). Moreover, the mobile phone gave women a feeling of control, and it helped them strengthen networks with friends and clients.
With the noted efficiency associated with mobile phone, the study should also uncover the challenges related to the device. The next section discusses the limitations related to mobile phones.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
1.2 BACKGROUND TO THE RESEARCH TOPIC
1.3 RESEARCH PROBLEM
1.4 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
1.5 SCOPE OF THE THESIS
1.6 CHAPTER OUTLINE
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
2.2 DEVELOPMENT CONCEPT
2.3 HISTORY OF DEVELOPMENT
2.4 ICTS’ RELEVANCE IN DEVELOPMENT
2.5 MEASUREMENT TOOLS FOR IMPACT
3. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
3.1 INTRODUCTION .
3.2 BACKGROUND ON MOBILE PHONES USAGE
3.3 MEASUREMENT INSTRUMENTS FOR IMPACT ASSESSMENT
3.4 ANALYSIS OF ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION APPROACHES
4. HISTORICAL AND CASE STUDY OVERVIEW
4.2 HISTORICAL OVERVIEW OF SOUTH AFRICA
4.3 STATE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT
4.4 CASE STUDY OVERVIEW
5. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
5.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
5.3 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
5.4 EVALUATION OF THE RESEARCH DESIGN AND APPROACH
6. CASE STUDY PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS OF FINDINGS
6.2 COMMUNITY THEMES OVERVIEW
6.3 THE COMMUNITY
6.4 MOBILE PHONE USAGE
6.5 SAFETY AND SECURITY WITH MOBILE APPLICATIONS .
6.6 TRAINING ON MOBILE PHONE USAGE
6.7 CONCLUSION .
7. DISCUSSION OF RESULTS AND PROPOSED MATRIX
7.2 DISCUSSION OF RESULTS
7.4 THE PROPOSED MATRIX
7.5 GUIDELINES FOR USING THE MATRIX .
8. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
8.2 SUMMARY OF RESULTS
8.3 CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE DISSERTATION
8.4 CONCLUDING REMARKS
8.5 RECOMMENDATIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH
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