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Use of informal mobile telephony in low income households in Colombia


  • Luis Fernando Gamboa


  • Luis Hernando Gutiérrez



Access to mobile telephony in Colombia exhibits rather interesting features compared to other countries. Colombia witnessed the beginning of a new alternative for communication consisting in the use of informal resale of minutes on the streets and small stores during the first years of this century. In this paper we are interested in analyzing the main factors that determine the utilization of this kind of service. We use a probabilistic model to explain the characteristics of the people that use `informal resale´ on the streets and we find that people in the modality of prepayment and people from small cities has a higher probability of using this alternative. It is also found that people in the firm-leader use more often this service. These results seem indicate that price differentials among on-net and off-net and between prepaid and postpaid are the causes of the rise of this economic activity.***El acceso a la telefonía móvil en Colombia evidencia ciertas particularidades con respecto a otros países. En Colombia surgió una nueva alternativa de comunicación que consistía en la venta de minutos de celular en las calles y en pequeños negocios durante los primeros años de ésta década. En este documento se analizan las principales características de quienes usan esta modalidad de comunicación con base en una encuesta dirigida a usuarios y no usuarios de bajos ingresos. Se usa un modelo probabilístico para explicar las características de las personas que lo usan y se encuentra que las personas que están en la modalidad de contrato prepago y que viven en ciudades pequeñas tienen una mayor probabilidad de usar esta alternativa de comunicación. De otro lado se encuentra que quienes están con el operador dominante tienden a usar este servicio también de una forma más notoria. Estos resultados parecen indicar que los diferenciales de precios entre las llamadas off-net y on-net así como entre prepago y postpago son los que alimentaron el surgimiento de esta actividad.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Fernando Gamboa & Luis Hernando Gutiérrez, 2008. "Use of informal mobile telephony in low income households in Colombia," Documentos de Trabajo 004749, Universidad del Rosario.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000092:004749

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gruber, Harald & Verboven, Frank, 2001. "The diffusion of mobile telecommunications services in the European Union," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 577-588, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gamboa, Luis Fernando & Otero, Jesús, 0. "An estimation of the pattern of diffusion of mobile phones: The case of Colombia," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(10-11), pages 611-620, November.
    2. Gamboa, Luis Fernando, 2010. "Strategic Uses of Mobile Phones in the BoP: Some Examples in Latin American Countries," Revista Lecturas de Economía, Universidad de Antioquia - CIE, January.

    More about this item


    Mobile telephony; ICT; gender gap; Resale;

    JEL classification:

    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • P59 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Other
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • C24 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Truncated and Censored Models; Switching Regression Models; Threshold Regression Models
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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