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The Impacts of Emerging Mobile Data Services in Developing Countries

The last few years have seen a growing number of initiatives that aim to increase access to and use of mobile broadband, including a range of data service plans that offer reduced-cost or zero-rated data. Despite the growing profile of such services, limited empirical evidence exists on their effectiveness, making it difficult to develop informed recommendations on their use. Through this research, we aim to learn more about the availability, use, and impact of zero-rated and other mobile data service models designed to provide access at lower costs.

 

We will uncover “The Impacts of Emerging Mobile Data Services in Developing Countries” through a series of three short briefs, published here at different stages over the course of our research. These research papers will draw on national survey data, key stakeholder interviews, and secondary sources across Bangladesh, Colombia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Peru and the Philippines to determine how mobile data service models impact Internet affordability and usage.


Research Brief No. 3 | Policy Guidelines for Affordable Mobile Data Services

November 2016

 

How can we ensure that mobile data services offering “free” or otherwise subsidised access to the Internet work to increase affordable access an open and empowering Web? Drawing on the research findings of the previous two research briefs and interviews with stakeholders across all eight countries, this third and final report in the series offers a set of proposed policy and regulatory guidelines for the provision of zero-rated and other mobile data services in low- and middle-income countries.


Research Brief No. 2 | Mobile Data Services: Exploring User Experiences and Perceived Benefits

June 2016

 

Which of the mobile data services available in developing countries are most commonly being used to connect? How are mobile Internet users connecting, why are they connecting, and what are they doing once connected? To gain insights into actual user experiences and perspectives on mobile data services, we surveyed 1,000 mobile phone Internet users in each of the eight countries studied. The results give us some much-needed empirical data to inform to the ongoing discourse around emerging mobile data services, such as zero-rating.


Research Brief No. 1 | Models of Mobile Data Services in Developing Countries

December 2015

 

What are the models of mobile data services available in developing countries? In order to assess the impacts of these data services, we need to know what data service models are available to and used by customers in the countries studied. This first research brief examines the kinds of data plans available in these countries, and develops a typology to help answer questions around the impact of the plans.