April 06, BANGKOK (LBO) – Use of mobile phones has grown rapidly among the poor in Sri Lanka, becoming almost an indispensable business tool among small entrepreneurs and farmers, according to a new study. Computer use at the ‘BOP’ level was low overall as was internet use but mobile phones emerged as almost ubiquitous.
“Probably smart phones are beginning to appear in this population group,” said Samarajiva. “So it means more, and better applications can be developed than in feature phones.”
Compared with previous surveys among the same population group, the use of mobiles for livelihood purposes in general had grown.
“There’s a huge potential with these devices. If so we need more applications,” Samarajiva said. “We do need more things that people can do with mobiles.
“Also, phones are designed to be more simple than computers. That’s another reason why we have a lot of potential there.”
One possibility was looking at more than voice services such as using phones to do payments.
Another was the user interface, of whether subscribers should confine themselves to typing SMS (short message service) or of using emerging voice recognition technology to ve