How to make internet-enabled handsets more affordable in low- and middle-income countries
We recently hosted a virtual session to explore ways mobile operators, policymakers and all stakeholders working on digital inclusion in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) can make handsets more affordable and accessible. The session includes a presentation of the key findings of our related report, ‘Making internet-enabled phones more affordable in low- and middle-income countries’ and a panel discussion with Sebastien Codeville, CEO of KaiOS and Davide Tacchino, Head of Terminals at Vodacom SA.
The affordability of internet-enabled handsets is a key barrier to using mobile internet, disproportionately affecting women, rural populations and lower income groups. While the price of an entry-level internet enabled handset has been declining, handsets have simultaneously become less affordable in many countries due to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a time where being connected is more critical than ever, it is urgent to draw attention to the development of innovative business models and approaches that make handsets accessible to a wide range of consumers. Handsets are diversifying, financing schemes are expanding, and governments are contributing in this effort to provide connectivity options to more underserved consumers. But we need to ramp up efforts and cooperation in each part of each country to ensure no one is left behind.
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This report provides an overview of approaches, business models and technological innovations that are improving the affordability of internet-enabled handsets in low- and middle-income countries, particularly for underserved populations.
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In Africa, handset affordability is a key barrier to accessing & using mobile internet. This case study highlights how M-KOPA, a connected asset financing company, is making smartphones more affordable to underserved customers in Kenya, Nigeria & Ghana.