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Utilitarian or entertainment? Value obtained from mobile phones by users in low socioeconomic strata in emerging markets

Moutusy Maity (Department of Marketing Management, Indian Institute of Management Lucknow, Lucknow, India)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 23 July 2020

Issue publication date: 26 May 2021

186

Abstract

Purpose

This research empirically investigates the differential roles of utility and entertainment on the value obtained from the use of mobile phones by users belonging to low-income groups in emerging markets.

Design/methodology/approach

This research reports the findings from an investigation that obtains data through a survey of mobile phone users from urban and rural areas across five emerging markets. Structural equation modeling is used to analyze the data obtained.

Findings

Study findings demonstrate that users obtain utility, social as well as entertainment value from mobile phones.

Research limitations/implications

This investigation uses the capability approach for conceptualizing the capabilities obtained from mobile phones by users from lower socioeconomic strata, a theoretical lens that is particularly suited for explaining behavior that may represent well-being of the user group.

Practical implications

Managers may explore whether the platform of entertainment is a suitable vehicle for offering additional services. This study’s findings also suggest that creating value for customers should be a primary concern in emerging markets, similar to that in developed markets.

Originality/value

This research is among a few that report investigations into the differential roles of utility and entertainment on the value obtained from mobile phones. This study also presents differences in terms of: urban versus rural, younger versus older and male versus female subgroups. This research presents a large-scale multicountry empirical study investigating mobile phone use by users from lower socioeconomic groups in emerging markets.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper (in part) is made possible by LIRNEasia’s Teleuse@BOP4 study. A part of the data presented in the research was carried out with the aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada (www.idrc.ca) and UKaid from the Department for International Development, UK (www.dfid.uk).

This paper (in part) is also made possible by research grant obtained from IIM Lucknow.

Citation

Maity, M. (2021), "Utilitarian or entertainment? Value obtained from mobile phones by users in low socioeconomic strata in emerging markets", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 41 No. 5/6, pp. 707-734. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-04-2020-0111

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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