Billions of people cannot afford a smartphone

In the western world, a smartphone is standard. Every working person often owns two. Because one is the private and the other is provided by the company. Even teenagers are handling them like professionals. The Western world may have forgotten that there are billions of people who do not own a smartphone. The following are important factors that make it impossible for you to use them:

  • Selling price of smartphones is too high.
  • Service package for the Internet is too expensive.
  • There is no knowledge and interest in smartphones.
  • There isn’t good internet or phone reception in the area, so it’s not worth using.

In this discussion, of course, the first two aspects are often the main obstacles to why not everyone has a smartphone. You cannot afford them or you have no money for the additional use of the Internet service package. This is because the starting price for a mobile phone is at a very high level worldwide. There are regional price differences. These are nevertheless too high for the average per capita income of socially disadvantaged families. Because of this, this group is heavily excluded from ownership. There are of course a large number of users who have switched to cheap providers such as the Chinese models, for example. Or they buy used cell phones. So they could still enjoy their own cell phone. But even for many others, these are still too expensive and therefore cannot buy a smartphone.

The other group mentioned above may also be incomprehensible to the western world. They have no interest in smartphones. However, this phenomenon can often still be observed in older people who cannot use the devices and do not want to learn how to use them anymore. Of course, there are also other population groups that are not interested in mobile phones due to their level of development. Such can be found in very unexplored areas that still manage with simple means of communication. There is usually no good reception for the devices anyway, so that a purchase is not worthwhile.

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Should a complete development with smartphones be aimed for?

In the western sense of mission, it may now be the case that everyone should be equipped with a smartphone. However, the question is whether this will be possible at all with the financial means mentioned above. That depends primarily on whether the previous smartphone manufacturers want to significantly reduce their prices again and adjust them even further regionally. However, it is then questionable, since the production costs could be covered and at least a minimal profit could be achieved, which must be at least a little higher than the interest income of the banks.

In addition, the use of socially disadvantaged people always means a special edition, which is added to their own precarious situation. Adding an additional burden to this is almost dangerous. Because even in the western world, the special expenses for this smartphone purchase and the ongoing fees have been added as a special burden. This should not be underestimated, since many users in Germany also want to keep up with this trend, although they can hardly afford it and would rather do without other more important things.

In addition, the deeper question to be asked and answered is whether such untapped and primarily uninterested groups really need a smartphone for their lives. It may be a symbol and part of development. But progress is also noticeable in completely different areas of life and has its greater added value there. So the question is whether smartphones have the importance that we now ascribe to them in the western world. Therefore, the sense of mission and, on the other hand, the sympathy towards the non-use of a smartphone must be questioned. As beautifully constructed as any advertisement, not all features and developments are always necessary. This understanding is part of enlightened consumption.

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Kerstin Schmidt

Content manager and experienced ghostwriter at housework agency

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