What percent of your income do you spend on mobile phone credit?
Kampala – April 8th – Interview with Rashid
Today I had the opportunity to interview Rashid. He grew up in Kampala and is a student at the Makerere University. He is 27 years old and uses both a mobile phone and Internet.
Mobile Profile: Unlike other users I have met he has only one mobile phone, but does have three sim cards (MTN, Zain and Warid)! He subscribed with MTN in 2000 because it was the cheapest at that time. He took a second subscription with Zain in 2006. He took the second subscription mainly because he had a friend who could give him the same phone number he uses with MTN (only the first three digits change and depending on the network). He took his third subscription with Warid because a friend got him the number and the company, for a short period, was offering free calls in the evening. From about 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM. The company doesn’t offer this service anymore and he doesn’t really use the sim card as a result. What really surprised me was to learn that he spends about 40% of his income on mobile phone credit. His other big cost is fuel. I asked what he spends on food, clothes and other things but he gets most of these things through his family.
Internet Profile: He uses the Internet once a week for about an hour. His family has a laptop (Dell) at home but the adapter is broken so they can’t use it. A new one is about 80 euro and this is too expensive to buy. Instead he makes use of his uncle’s wireless connection and laptop. He mentioned that this was also not so easy as he has to compete for Internet time with his three sisters (he has more siblings but they live elsewhere). He complained that his sisters use most of their time for social networking. He mentioned they use Facebook, Hi5 and e-mail. He explained that he only uses Facebook but can’t keep up with some of his friends. One friend in particular posts images several times a week. But more importantly, he uses his limited time to find articles for school and his research (he is currently working to finish his master’s thesis). He spends most of his time on Emerald Insight, a database for publications and research. He also uses e-mail to communicate with friends and professional contacts.