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Your experience with pre-pay data in Africa

From: Katrin Verclas <katrin@mobileactive.org>
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2010 14:19:56 -0400
Message-Id: <2D7A6247-8A57-466E-9239-59051F3F736A@mobileactive.org>
To: MobileActive-discuss <mobileactive-discuss@googlegroups.com>, Mobiles and Development <mdevelopment@dgroups.org>, "public-mw4d@w3.org Group" <public-mw4d@w3.org>
Jonathan Donner and Kevin Donovan, two colleagues, are crowdsourcing  
data on mobile pay Internet availability in Africa.  You can enter  
first-hand data on this instance of the Ushahidi platform:  http://www.mostmobiles.net/ushahidi/main

Jonathan writes:

Just as prepaid (or 'pay-as-you-go') airtime was essential to adoption  
of mobile telephony in developing countries, prepaid data will be  
essential to widespread adoption and use of the mobile Internet in  
developing countries. Prepay allows the poor to manage their  
expenditures in an inexpensive, discrete manner.
However, it isn't clear that the next phase of connectivity - mobile  
Internet - is available in the same manner. So, in late 2009 we began  
a research effort to determine the availability of prepaid mobile data  
throughout Africa. In 36 cases we were able to identify at least one  
operator in each country which offered pre-pay data, and in 3 cases we  
could determine that no prepay data was available. Unfortunately,  
information available from operators was vague, incomplete, and hard  
to obtain.

To overcome this barrier, we have begun using the Ushahidi  
crowdsourcing platform to gather information on the missing countries.  
We are seeking individuals knowledgeable about the availability of  
prepaid mobile data in one or more African countries. If you have  
experience trying (either successfully or not) to access the Internet  
from your phone through a prepay method, let us know by submitting a  
report where you can explain your experience by entering a country,  
checking boxes, and offering an explanation. If you leave your name  
and contact information, we'd love to follow up with you, too! In  
time, we hope this can be a resource for others, such as travelers  
heading to, say, Cameroon, that don't know how to get online.

If you have any questions for us, please do not hesitate to get in  

- Jonathan Donner, Microsoft Research (site)

- Kevin Donovan, Georgetown University (site)

A draft of our paper on this subject available for download here (PDF).

Thanks, and pass it on.

Katrin Verclas

skype/twitter: katrinskaya
(347) 281-7191

A global network of people using mobile technology for social impact
Received on Friday, 2 July 2010 18:20:37 UTC

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