Mobile services in Peru – an ambivalent case

Today Martin pointed me to this blog post about a phone service in Peru carried out by so called “llamadas”. They are:

women or teenagers with a bundle of mobile phones and a stop-watch who act as pay phones [from here]

That way also people without mobile phones and without the knowledge to use one can benefit from this way of communication.

The description reminded me of some other articles I read during my research for my master thesis.

In this article from BBC, the author spotted a similar service in Nigeria, and the Village Phones project of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh is already a classic in ICT4D projects.

So this business model works on three continents and initially I wanted to write something positive about it, but I read some comments and obivously in Peru these “llamadas” are sent to the streets by mobile carriers and earn quite little (through this entry).

What remains is that ICTs can have different effects on the lives of people and though they can serve as a chance for employment and social uplifting on the one hand, they are still a source of business on the other hand and there is no guarantee that positive effects step in.

After all ICTs are just a tool and only if all people have access to them and are able and motivated to use them in a responsible and beneficial way the digital divide can be reduced.

Mobile services in Peru – an ambivalent case
was published on 21.08.2008 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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