Mobile Phone Usage and Its Socio-Economic Impacts in Pakistan

Mobile Phone Usage and Its Socio-Economic Impacts in Pakistan

Sadia Jamil (Khalifa University, UAE)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7885-7.ch007
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Through examining use of mobile in Pakistan's Sindh province, the current chapter presents a unique and interesting case of the socio-economic impacts of mobile use on users' lifestyles. Although there exists an obvious divide between urban and rural areas in terms of impacts of mobile use, the case of Pakistan could serve as an alert to scholars that why mobile use remains limited in narrowing the gap between urban and rural areas against a backdrop of mobile being widely believed to be able to play a big role in narrowing the social and economic gap between urban and rural areas. The author of this chapter found that mobile use was also gender-biased in rural areas, resulting in a gap between males and females as far as social and economic impacts of mobile use on their lifestyles.
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The proliferation of mobile phone technologies has impacted the people’s lives in terms of socio-economic progress across the globe (Madden & Savage, 2000; Sinha, 2005). It is widely recognized that mobile phones are not just a source of communication and networking, but their usage is seen as having a catalyst affect in prompting social and economic changes and development (Banks & Burge, 2004). International organizations such as World Trade Organization (WTO) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) acknowledges the significant role of telecommunication services in the economic development of the countries and its social impacts on lives of common individuals especially in developing countries (Sridhar & Sridhar, 2007; Abraham, 2007).

There is a considerable penetration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and an increase in mobile phone subscribers within the South Asian region during the last one decade. “This has brought significant changes in the socio-economic environment of the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries” (Chowdhury, 2015). Especially, Pakistan’s growth in terms of telecommunication and mobile infrastructure has gone beyond all expectations because the country’s mobile phone subscription has reached to 148 million by the end of January 2018 (Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, 2018)1. The Pakistani people, living either in rural or urban areas, are now using mobile phones for multiple purposes. The case of Pakistan is certainly one good example of how a technology can become an integral part of the public’s life.

There are many country- or region-specific international studies that have analysed the impacts of mobile phones usage on socio-economic development in Africa (Goodman, 2005; Donnar, 2006; Frempong, Essegbey & Tetteh, 2007; Aker, 2008; Ilahiane & Sherry, 2012; Krone, Donnenberg & Nduru, 2016); in India (Kathuria, Uppal, & Mamta, 2009; Ansari & Pandey, 2011); in Sri Lanka (de Silva & Ratnadiwakara, 2008); in Bangladesh (Bayes, von Braun & Akhter, 1999; Cohen, 2001; Bairagi, Roy & Polin, 2011; Chowdhury, 2015); in India, Brazil, China, Korea, Lithuania and the United Kingdom (Kushchu, 2007).

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