According to a survey conducted by Gallup Pakistan, 71% Pakistanis, when asked why they do not use a mobile phone regularly, stated that it is because they did not need a mobile phone. 12% Pakistanis said that they did not know how to use the device whereas 10% said that the reason they didn’t use cell phones regularly is because they couldn’t afford them. These results are a part of the nationwide Access to Finance Study conducted by the State Bank of Pakistan in 2015 with the intent of determining the degree of financial inclusiveness of the Pakistani public.
This press release is part of a special series that aim to foster an empirical understanding of financial inclusion in Pakistan and that hope to create a collaborative network of individuals working on the topic. This press release focuses on empirically determining the main reasons behind Pakistanis not using mobile phones regularly. The debate on mobile phone usage has become an important one within the financial realm because of the eminence of digital financial services, primarily mobile banking. Mobile banking, which includes mobile money, refers to the ability to conduct monetary transactions from one person to another through a mobile phone. Using mobile money is substantially easier and less cumbersome since a person can now perform all sorts of transactions through a mobile phone without needing to visit a bank. Thus, aiming to expand the mobile phone market would also potentially result in more people coming under the formal financial sector.
A nationally representative sample of men and women from across the four provinces was asked, “Why don’t you use a mobile phone regularly?” In response to this question, 71% Pakistanis stated that it is because they don’t need a mobile phone. On the other hand, 12% said that they don’t know how to use a mobile phone while 10% also said that they cannot afford to purchase and keep a mobile phone. 2% Pakistanis also stated that they do not get any mobile coverage where they live whereas 1% also said that their homes do not receive electricity which is why they are unable to charge their devices and thus do not use mobile phones regularly. 4% mentioned other reasons. Thus, empirical results show that the main impediment towards mobile phone usage in Pakistan is a perceived lack of need.