Cell phones in Peru among world’s most expensive

The cost of purchasing a cell phone in Peru is among the highest in the world, which impedes the use of the phones and is a barrier to decreasing poverty, daily El Comercio reported, citing a study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

A report by the UN agency found that of 78 countries, cell phones are the third most expensive in Peru at an average price of $110. The list is led by Brazil and Zimbabwe, where cell phones cost an average of $120.

The price of cell phones limits the development of information technology and communications, according to Roxana Barrantes, a researcher at the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP).

“The other barriers identified in the study are the lack of sufficient energy sources and the reduced coverage for services like mobile phones and broad band in areas far away from urban centers,” Barrantes said.

In order to use information technology and communications to benefit the poor, “mobile coverage should be extended to places without signal, make the services more accessible [as they did in South Asia] and focus the adoption of IT and communications in the micro and small-scale companies.”

The expansion of telecommunications technologies is recognized as an important tool for development in Peru.

And while there continue to be challenges to improve coverage, recent studies have also shown that rural populations are increasingly using cell phones.

Between 2001 and 2008, the percentage of homes in rural zones with cell phones increased from 1.1 percent to 29.4 percent, according to a report by Lima-based firm Apoyo Consultoria, which conducted a survey in Cajamarca, Cuzco, Huanuco, Loreto and Piura departments.

Families living in rural Peru that own a cell phone are on average able to increase their income by 900 soles ($322) per year, or a 12 percent increase, while agricultural producers with a cell phone are able to better obtain market prices for their products and increase their sales volume.

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One Comment

  1. Not only are cell phones expensive to buy, but the price of making a phone call is just awful. It is way more expensive here than in Bolivia or Nicaragua and most of the people I know use theirs as little as possible.

    It is really prohibitive and should be addressed.

    There was a change recently to interconnect cell phones with land line phones supposedly reducing costs, but it is just as expensive as ever.

    Communication is a prime factor in economic growth, especially for the small businessman.

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