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Getting the Numbers Straight: Mobile Internet Usage by Low-Income South African Youth

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A multi-level research project bringing about detailed data on cell phone usage among low-income South African youth. Download the original pilot paper from http://tinokreutzer.org/mobile

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Getting the Numbers Straight: Mobile Internet Usage by Low-Income South African Youth

  1. 1. Getting the Numbers Straight Mobile Internet Usage by Low-Income South African Youth Tino Kreutzer Centre for Film and Media Studies University of Cape Town
  2. 2. The Challenge <ul><li>Extreme growth of cell phone usage across Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Much talk about new opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Some research in certain fields on the opportunities of cell phone usage, but lack of reliable underlying data </li></ul>GSM Association: Growth of mobile subscribers in Africa
  3. 3. The Challenge <ul><li>Industry reported data is insufficient </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only shows number of active SIM cards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple SIM card use and shared phones </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Household surveys – often too broad, not always reliable </li></ul><ul><li>Detailed quantitative data hard to obtain </li></ul>
  4. 4. The South African case <ul><li>Extreme inequalities among racial groups for Internet usage – a challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Research remains locked down </li></ul>Source: AMPS 2007 All Media and Product Survey 2007: Internet used among 16-19-year-olds
  5. 5. Getting the Numbers Straight - The Project <ul><li>Obtain detailed reliable quantitative data on cell phone usage by South African youth </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-level piloting of quantitative survey methods </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural probes and individual interviews to get the questions right </li></ul>
  6. 6. Research Stages 2008 2009 Pilot study: a township high school (May 2008) Urban in-depth study: Cape Town metro area (November 2008) Other countries: starting 2009/2010 National study: 2009 2010
  7. 7. Pilot study results <ul><li>Pilot a quantitative approach and specific questionnaire design in an urban extreme case high school in </li></ul><ul><li>Samora Machel township – a very low-income neighborhood </li></ul>Urban Pilot Study
  8. 8. Gadget usage and ownership Pilot study results – N=66
  9. 9. Personal communication on the previous day Pilot study results – N=66
  10. 10. Internet and Web usage on the previous day Internet on traditional computer on the previous day: 20% Pilot study results – N=66
  11. 11. Entertainment on the previous day Pilot study results – N=66
  12. 12. Mobile instant messaging on the previous day Pilot study results – N=66
  13. 13. Usage micro factors on the previous day Very high expenditure: on average R30 or $4 per week - about half of all expenses Pilot study results – N=66
  14. 14. Getting the questions right <ul><li>Conceptual challenges: no shared vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural probes and interviews to identify survey weaknesses </li></ul><ul><li>Detailed activity questions on online activities </li></ul>
  15. 15. Getting the questions right
  16. 16. Current Research Urban in-depth study: Bottom 50% most deprived neighborhoods in Cape Town metro area (N=600)
  17. 17. Next steps <ul><li>Current research published in November 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Regional and national level research 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Other African countries </li></ul><ul><li>Qualitative follow-up </li></ul><ul><li>Partners! Cooperation! </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>All results </li></ul><ul><li>tinokreutzer.org/mobile </li></ul><ul><li>Email/MXit/GTalk tino.kreutzer @ gmail.com </li></ul>

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