Can Mobile Device Financing Reduce the Digital Divide?
The gap between individuals who have access to technology, such as computers and the internet, and those who do not, is referred to as the “digital divide.” It may also refer to the disparity between those with low incomes and those with high incomes in terms of the level of technology they can afford or the frequency with which they can use it.
There has always been a problem with the digital divide between developed and developing nations. In comparison to the latter, the former has far better access to technology. Mobile device financing solutions, which enable people in underdeveloped nations to purchase mobile devices they might not otherwise be able to afford, may be able to close this gap.
By offering low-income households mobile devices for a discounted price in exchange for paying off the device over time with lower monthly bill payments, mobile device financing companies strive to reduce the digital divide.
What is the digital divide?
The difference between individuals who have access to, usage, and knowledge of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and those who do not is known as the “digital divide.” The term “digital divide” describes differences in actual Internet connectivity between nations as well as discrepancies between socioeconomic strata within a given nation.
The UN has frequently urged action to advance equality in both of these areas. Broadband connections are typically quicker and have less latency in wealthy countries than they do in underdeveloped ones.
How might this be addressed in developing nations via mobile device financing?
Although the digital divide has always been problematic, mobile technology has altered the situation. Many people still lack access to affordable devices and Internet services, especially in developing nations.
As a result, they are unable to benefit from all that mobile networks have to offer, including communication and commerce. But because of device financing, mobile network operators (MNOs) may make these services more accessible to more people by cutting the initial expenses involved and gradually lowering the obstacles associated with ownership costs.
What are the benefits of closing the digital divide?
The term “digital divide” describes a difference in access to technology that may cause inequality among different racial and socioeconomic groups. When it comes to education, those without access to technology frequently suffer scholastic disadvantages. Here are just a few of the many benefits of closing the digital divide.
Mobile device financing alternatives have benefited the healthcare industry as well. Telemedicine services enable users to interact with doctors and receive prescriptions through their mobile devices, for instance, in rural locations where access to doctors and other medical professionals is constrained. This enables patients to receive care quicker and more efficiently than they otherwise could.
Opportunities for small businesses
Programs aimed at closing the digital divide are also beneficial for small businesses. For instance, when these firms have access to such technology, it is simpler for them to implement mobile payment systems like mPOS (mobile point of sale) software.
In addition to the healthcare industry, attempts to close the digital divide can also help the education sector. In reality, by making educational resources and programmes more accessible, mobile devices have been used to improve learning results in underdeveloped nations.
How might finance for mobile devices help close the digital divide?
A study estimates that by 2025, approximately 3.7 billion individuals will have access to smartphones worldwide. Operators employ financing options to lower upfront costs for end users in developing nations as mobile handsets become more affordable, giving even more customers an opportunity to become a part of a developing digital society.
Smartphones make it possible for people to communicate, educate themselves, and make a living while also bridging the digital divide. However, cell phones continue to be financially out of reach for many consumers in developing nations, particularly those who reside in remote places or have low-income levels.
Many of these smartphones are offered at full price from local stores or travel phone outlets and can cost hundreds of dollars (sometimes more than a person earns in a month); there are no financing alternatives available to make them more accessible.
Operators can change this by integrating mobile device financing options into their products and giving customers discounts on their purchases. This strategy enables retailers and carriers to offer end customers discounted prices while maintaining high margins on device sales. Customers become less sensitive to upfront costs when they know they can pay off their device over time, which helps reduce churn.
Embedding mobile device financing solutions
Financing options for mobile devices can be integrated into phones or other connected devices, and they provide a number of advantages for users, service providers, and manufacturers, including:
- Locking the handset in the event that a charge is unpaid or it is stolen
- Providing security against fraud and theft
It is growing clearer that mobile device financing options for operators can help close the digital divide. For individuals with lower earnings, the increased flexibility of buying a new handset without paying for it upfront will be revolutionary for those on the lower end of the income scale.