Mobile Phone Technology Adoption in Rural Areas, the Affordability Factor in Adoption: A case Study of Kakamega East District

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Mobile phone technology has grown rapidly in developing countries and its impact at the macro economic level has been phenomenal.  Kenya has not been left behind in this growth that has been witnessed world over literarily breaking economic barriers.  The growth of the mobile phone in Kenya has been both in numbers of subscribers and geographical foot print and statistics from the sector regulator indicated that the subscriber numbers were in excess of 18.5 Million and geographical coverage at 84% (CCK, 2009)

The key questions of the research were based on the affordability issues when it comes to mobile phone adoption and the question of a mobile technology adoption model that can address the needs of the low income earners.  The study found out that the adoption of the mobile phone in the subject area was 80% and the users of mobile phones spent between 12-25% of their income on running of mobile phone against proposed internationals standards of 5% of income on communication services.  30% of the adopters of the mobile phone were dependent on third party phone but at a very high cost and there needs to be refocused policy shift that looks at universal service in the context of mobile phone as opposed to legacy fixed network.  The adoption of mobile phone among the majority in the rural areas does not necessarily conform to well known models of adoption as in some cases adoption takes place before acceptance due to a large majority in rural areas being dependent upon the urban population in both acquisition and maintenance of mobile phones majority for maintaining social networks and relations.

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