A socio-economic exploration of mobile phone service have-nots in Sweden
Journal article, 2014

Most studies in the mobile communication field focus on the acceptance of the technology rather than the resistance of it, a trend that makes researchers try to understand only the powerful actors in society. Instead, this paper explores the socio-economic characteristics of mobile phone service have-nots. Based on an analysis of samples from three consecutive nationwide annual surveys in Sweden, this study finds that two socio-economic factors - age and the household income - remain significant to explain non-usage of mobile phone services. Other variables dynamically change over time without a significant effect. This finding supports the argument that most socio-economic factors are transient at different stages of the adoption of innovation. Since the benefits of mobile phones are related to social networks (the more people you know, the more beneficial), it is not surprising that, in the long run, elderly people with low income, who typically have a decreasing social network, find this technology no longer purposeful and finally refuse it. This indicates that the status of the have-nots may not reflect socio-economic inequalities in general, but rather individuals' preference when managing their social situation. This is relevant with the argument that a universal service policy should be based on connectivity, that is, people's need for communication rather than solely promoting subsidizing a particular technology or service. The policy, therefore, should consider the technological frame sharing - the interpretation of the technology shared by members of a relevant social group, that is, users, service providers and regulators, to bring a more socially constructed technology that can protect individuals with less socio-economic power from being socially excluded.

warm experts



technological frame sharing





diffusion of innovation

universal service policy


Tsani Annafari

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Technology and Society

Ann-Sofie Axelsson

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Technology and Society

Erik Bohlin

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Technology and Society

New Media and Society

1461-4448 (ISSN)

Vol. 16 3 415-433

Subject Categories

Communication Studies



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