OTT services have become the main entry point to the internet for most users in the prepaid mobile environment that characterises most African markets. To entice price-sensitive users and to encourage new internet users, the availability of subsidised data – whether discounted or free – prompts questions of how internet access and use are affected. Does it enable access to the internet for first-time users? Does it improve the intensity of use, allowing people to explore the Internet without concerns of cost? Does it lock people into pared-down versions of social networking platforms?
This comparative country study, based on focus groups conducted in November 2016 in Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa, sought to develop evidence of why people use the internet the way they do, specifically when their data is subsidised.
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