ETIQUETAS: mobile opportunities, Trinidad and Tobago, telephone usage, mobile telephony, poverty, telephony access
This country report explores telephony usage in poor communities in Trinidad and Tobago. It follows a number of similar studies covering Africa (Waverman, Meschi and Fuss 2005), India (Sharma 2007) and Latin America (Frost and Sullivan 2006). Supporting documents to the current study include a background paper on mobile technologies and services (Mallalieu, 2006) and a literature review of poverty in Trinidad and Tobago (Cambridge, Foster and Mallalieu, unpublished). It is part of a larger Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) mobile opportunities study which covers Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Columbia and Argentina. The multi-country research was supported by the International Development Research Center, IDRC, of Canada.
A quantitative survey of low-income communities in Trinidad and Tobago, was used as the basis for the country study. The sample of 537 respondents out of a total country population of 1,262,366, was selected using information from local studies which estimate that 17% of the population is poor (Kairi Consultants, 2007). The study is motivated by an interest in identifying possible ways of empowering the poor in Trinidad and Tobago through telecommunications. To this end, it analyses the access and barriers to communications services among the poor as well as their use and perceptions of such services. Although the study examines patterns of use for fixed lines, mobile and the Internet, it focuses primarily on mobile as this technology reportedly has high levels of penetration among the poor in developing countries and has considerable potential as a vehicle for inclusion.