[bestbits] [governance] The unintended consequences of Free Basics campaign in India

Mwendwa Kivuva Kivuva at transworldafrica.com
Fri Jan 15 10:31:31 EST 2016

On Jan 15, 2016 4:57 PM, "Deirdre Williams" <williams.deirdre at gmail.com>
> Please forgive the cross posting.
> Thank you Parminder. I've shared the article with colleagues in the
> One thing that concerns me though - in all the discussion about "free"
services it seems to be generally ignored, by both sides of the argument,
that the service is not accessible unless the user has access to an
appropriate communications device, a subscription to an ISP of some type,
and a source of electricity.
> It is surely dangerous to assume that potential users already have these
> I tried to offer reminders of this in appropriate workshops in Joao
Pessoa, but I'm not sure that anyone paid attention :-)
> I would be very interested to learn what other people think.
> Thanks again for an interesting article
> Best wishes to everyone for 2016

Deidre, what demographic is that?

For example, when we talk about free basics in Kenya, we base the arguments
on current users. Mobile penetration is nearly 90%, and a feature phone
that can support free basics cost less than $10, a price within the reach
of everybody. Yes, everybody. Even beggars on the streets have this phones.
There are also very innovative energy solutions in these parts of the
world. That $10 feature phone would probably come with a solar charger
bundled together, or you would need about $5 to get a solar charger.

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