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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Revisiting the 'leapfrog' debate in light of current trends of mobile phone Internet usage in the Greater Johannesburg area, South Africa
Authors:Hyde-Clarke, NathalieISNI
Van Tonder, TamsinISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Media Studies (ISSN 1751-7974)
Geographic term:South Africa
mobile telephone
economic inequality
Abstract:At first glance, mobile technology appears to have the potential to allow countries in Africa to technologically 'leapfrog' across the digital divide and provide much needed Internet access to a wide range of people currently unable to participate in the Information Society. This study investigates whether this potential is being actualized through the survey of a non-purposive sample population living in Johannesburg, South Africa. Studies have shown that aside from being able to engage with the new technology, people must also perceive it as reliable and user friendly. As such, this article examines users' attitudes and current behaviour with regards to this apparently highly accessible and relatively affordable medium. It also seeks to determine whether people believe that mobile technology could eclipse (or leapfrog) the use of computer technology for online activities - and if they believe that to be true, how have their usage patterns shifted, if at all. The conclusion is that having a population with a high penetration rate, high ownership and user numbers, and a strong belief in the ability of mobile technology to allow previously marginalized groups access to the Internet, does not necessarily result in the ability to technologically leapfrog the digital divide. Bibliogr., note, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]