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A model to describe the adoption of mobile internet in Sub-Saharan Africa

A model to describe the adoption of mobile internet in Sub-Saharan Africa
A model to describe the adoption of mobile internet in Sub-Saharan Africa
Mobile phones afford the capacity to connect the majority of people across our globe, irrespective of demographic and developmental factors,through voice calls and text message (SMS).The mobile phone has,arguably, become the most powerful and pervasive information communication technology (ICT) innovation in human history, displaying a faster adoption rate than that of radio,TV or the personal computer. The mobile phone is even more prevalent in these countries than the supply of electricity and water.

Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in sub-­Saharan Africa are significantly impacted by the introduction of mobile phones as they typically have little or no fixed line infrastructure. In sub-­Saharan Africa the mobile phone is the primary technology used to access the Internet,offering a gateway to the vast resources of digital content and services such as social networking, entertainment,and financial transactions. This leapfrogging from little or no communication infrastructure to near ubiquitous mobile penetration has the potential to empower people through access to information and affordable communication tools.

This research investigates the drivers and dampeners of the “Adoption of Mobile Internet” (AMI) in sub-Saharan Africa to enable governments, non-profit organisations and commercial entities to plan strategic growth in this important developmental and capacity building technology.This thesis firstly draws on a literature review of the digital divide, empowerment and the implied key constructions influencing AMI in sub-­Saharan Africa. Secondly, fieldwork from five sub-Saharan nations alongside findings from discussions with mobile experts into these AMI constructs are analysed using NVivo and presented. The literature review, fieldwork and expert discussion are then triangulated and bought together to develop a preliminary model using Systems Dynamic Modelling (SDM) which describes the main constructs and influences of AMI in Sub-Saharan Africa. The AMI SDM model is then tested for goodness of fit with validated data sets using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) and the standardizes regression weights used to inform the creation of a simulation model.

The main findings of the thesis are that the exploratory model describing the adoption of mobile Internet in sub-­Saharan Africa is a reasonable fit to published data. The two key influences for the adoption of mobile Internet in SSA are Digital Literacy and Digital Content. The two key indirect influences of AMI in SSA are the Service Provider and Literacy levels. The model predicts that both Education and Innovation are significantly impacted by an increase in the Adoption of Mobile Internet.The importance of Digital Content reinforces the conviction that the proposed BluPoint solution which offers free digital content to people living in constrained environments would be a suitable technology to offer in SSA. Adding the ability to publish and share local information freely would further enhance the need to develop this desktop prototype further.

It is expected that the AMI model will act as a strategic tool for government policy makers in sub-Saharan Africa seeking,to encourage their citizens to use their mobile phones to join the growing global on-line community.
University of Southampton
Santer, Michael
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Santer, Michael
eaee4150-5d70-4f26-a6d9-3d05ea71b05b
Wills, Gary
3a594558-6921-4e82-8098-38cd8d4e8aa0
Gilbert, Lester
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Santer, Michael (2013) A model to describe the adoption of mobile internet in Sub-Saharan Africa. University of Southampton, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Doctoral Thesis, 151pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Mobile phones afford the capacity to connect the majority of people across our globe, irrespective of demographic and developmental factors,through voice calls and text message (SMS).The mobile phone has,arguably, become the most powerful and pervasive information communication technology (ICT) innovation in human history, displaying a faster adoption rate than that of radio,TV or the personal computer. The mobile phone is even more prevalent in these countries than the supply of electricity and water.

Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in sub-­Saharan Africa are significantly impacted by the introduction of mobile phones as they typically have little or no fixed line infrastructure. In sub-­Saharan Africa the mobile phone is the primary technology used to access the Internet,offering a gateway to the vast resources of digital content and services such as social networking, entertainment,and financial transactions. This leapfrogging from little or no communication infrastructure to near ubiquitous mobile penetration has the potential to empower people through access to information and affordable communication tools.

This research investigates the drivers and dampeners of the “Adoption of Mobile Internet” (AMI) in sub-Saharan Africa to enable governments, non-profit organisations and commercial entities to plan strategic growth in this important developmental and capacity building technology.This thesis firstly draws on a literature review of the digital divide, empowerment and the implied key constructions influencing AMI in sub-­Saharan Africa. Secondly, fieldwork from five sub-Saharan nations alongside findings from discussions with mobile experts into these AMI constructs are analysed using NVivo and presented. The literature review, fieldwork and expert discussion are then triangulated and bought together to develop a preliminary model using Systems Dynamic Modelling (SDM) which describes the main constructs and influences of AMI in Sub-Saharan Africa. The AMI SDM model is then tested for goodness of fit with validated data sets using Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) and the standardizes regression weights used to inform the creation of a simulation model.

The main findings of the thesis are that the exploratory model describing the adoption of mobile Internet in sub-­Saharan Africa is a reasonable fit to published data. The two key influences for the adoption of mobile Internet in SSA are Digital Literacy and Digital Content. The two key indirect influences of AMI in SSA are the Service Provider and Literacy levels. The model predicts that both Education and Innovation are significantly impacted by an increase in the Adoption of Mobile Internet.The importance of Digital Content reinforces the conviction that the proposed BluPoint solution which offers free digital content to people living in constrained environments would be a suitable technology to offer in SSA. Adding the ability to publish and share local information freely would further enhance the need to develop this desktop prototype further.

It is expected that the AMI model will act as a strategic tool for government policy makers in sub-Saharan Africa seeking,to encourage their citizens to use their mobile phones to join the growing global on-line community.

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More information

Published date: June 2013
Organisations: University of Southampton, Web & Internet Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 354228
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/354228
PURE UUID: e0f296ed-289b-4f10-9a1e-1d44693cd7be
ORCID for Gary Wills: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5771-4088

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 08 Jul 2013 12:43
Last modified: 07 Mar 2019 01:36

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Contributors

Author: Michael Santer
Thesis advisor: Gary Wills ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Lester Gilbert

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