Affordability, need limit Sri Lanka smart phone ownership

ECONOMYNEXT- Most Sri Lankans do not own a mobile phone because they either cannot afford one or don’t need it, according to a new survey of mobile phone owners aged 15-65 years called ‘After Access’.

“Our pressing problems are, low smartphone use, low internet use and big gaps in terms of who is connected,” said Ayesha Zainudeen, Senior Research Manager of the LIRNEasia think-tank, one of the organisations which did the survey.

“Ideally you want people connected to smart phones in order to really benefit from being connected,” she told a forum where the survey’s findings were presented.

“With a full-fledged smart phone you receive a richer experience in connectivity. That’s where we want to go, but it still seems that half of the market doesn’t have smart phones.”

Half of people aged 15-56 in Sri Lanka do not own a mobile phone because they say they lack the need for one. Another 28 percent cannot afford their own mobile.

Reports show a gap of nine percent in Sri Lanka’s urban-rural comparison on mobile phone ownership.

Out of the survey population having mobile phones, less than half owned smart phones. The rest owns either the basic ‘button’ phone or a slightly more advanced feature phone.

The low smart phone ownership is seen as a major concern since the survey reveals smart phone penetration in poorer countries like Nepal was better than in Sri Lanka, with 52 percent of its population owning smartphones.

Solutions to these issues, like better awareness and marketing for smartphones and mobile phone usage within the country were discussed at the panel discussion.
(COLOMBO 24 May 2019)





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