The rise of the mobile-centric internet user:

By Jessica Colaço
  Published 09 Nov 2010
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PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS AND THE NAIROBI EXPERIENCE As internet-enabled mobile handsets become more affordable and common, a new kind of internet user is appearing. He or she might have occasional access to a PC, but its usually out of reach at school, work, or in the cybercaf. Instead, most daily internet use is mobile, on WAP, in chatrooms, and via apps. Established technology companies and startups are interacting with mobile operators, NGOs, and research institutions to explore and deploy new ways of approaching these “mobile-centric” users. Along the way, these new approached are challenging what we thought we knew about the digital divide and “ICT4D”.   In this mostly-unstructured conversation, we’ll mash and mingle some examples and anecdotes from Kenya with those from South Africa, India, and beyond. Are we learning fast enough? What has been most surprising? what does this mean for telecentres and universal access? What will the landscape look like in another 5 years? Jonathan Donner is a Researcher in the Technology for Emerging Markets Group (TEM) at Microsoft Research India. With research focused on the economic and social implications of the spread of mobile telephony in the developing world, his projects at TEM include Microenterprise/MSE development, Mobile Banking, Mobile Health and Wellbeing, and “first time/mobile-only” internet use.  Previously, he was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and worked with Monitor Company and the OTF Group, consultancies in Boston, MA.  Jonathan is currently based in South Africa and is a visiting academic at the University of Cape Town’s Centre in ICT4D. Further details on Jonathan’s research are at and via twitter@jcdonner Please register here to join us for the discussion on Friday the 12th of November from 2.30pm
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