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Two surveys – one low-tech and one high-tech – gathered data on phone habits among market traders and mobile bankers.
A recent study by telecoms firm Ericsson predicts there will be more than 635m mobile telephone subscriptions in Africa by the end of the year, with this set to rise to more than 1bn by the end of the decade.
This staggering growth is echoed on a micro level by a survey carried out by techno- logy group the Co-Creation Hub.
By Charlie Hamilton
As part of an ongoing research series, ‘How I Use My Phone’, comparing phone use among different Nigerian demographics, the team went out to bustling Sabo market in Lagos to quiz market traders.
One of the most surprising results of the survey was that more than half of these working-class phone users subscribed to a data plan, with Facebook and Whats- App the most popular applications.
Also how much they spent on their phone credit: while the biggest group (38%) spent N100-N500 ($0.6-$3) a week, 32% spent N1,000-N2,000 and 7.5% as much as N3,000 a week.
In a comparative survey of professional users the professionals did not spend significantly more on their phone use, but bought more expensive handsets (see www.cchubnigeria.com).
Meanwhile, the mobile phone itself is proving a useful tool to collect data across the continent.
GeoPoll conducts its research by mobile, connecting with Africans and others across the developing world using text messaging and other modes of communication.
In November 2014, they did a survey of the mobile-money habits of Kenyans for The Africa Report.