Mobile Phones

Research has shown the most effective way to expand lower-income populations’ access to formal financial services is through a digital channel, and the optimal digital channel is the cell phone. Nine in 10 Kenya adults and four in five adults in Tanzania and Nigeria have mobile phone and SIM card access. Comparing FII countries, more mobile phone users in Africa use their phones for advanced services than do those in Asia. The least likely groups to own mobile phones across FII countries are females, rural residents, and the poor, which is a barrier to digital financial services uptake. As more people across the globe begin to use mobile phones and digital financial services, providers will have a wider opportunity to know their customers digitally and offer them products better suited to their needs.

Mobile Phones Access and Ownership

total population
81% of adults living above the poverty line in Tanzania own a mobile phone and SIM card versus 59% of those living below the poverty line.

Ownership by Demographic

By gender
by locality
by poverty level

Use of Mobile Phones for Advanced Functions

all phone users
by locality
by gender
by poverty level

True or false

The percentage of adult urbanites who use advanced mobile phone functions is the same in Kenya and Tanzania.

False (89% vs. 72%)

True or false

In 1973, Motorola was the first company to develop a prototype for the handheld mobile phone.

True

True or false

In Uganda, those who are more likely to use their phones for advanced services are those living above the poverty line and urban residents.

True

True or false

Among the eight FII countries, Kenya has the highest access to mobile phones and SIM cards.

True (91%)

True or false

In all FII countries, adult males dominate mobile phone and SIM card ownership.

True

True or false

The use of financial services accounts, especially mobile money accounts, is dependent on access to mobile phones and the ability to send and receive texts.

True