It’s official. If you own a mobile phone, you appear to be enjoying an economic consumption premium over those who do not have one.
According to a joint study conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Tata Teleservices, there exists a material relationship between the Human Development Index (HDI) and mobile ownership in India.
HDI is a reading of a country’s overall social and economic achievements. Literacy is an important indicator of HDI.
About 80% of the households that have attained secondary education current own a cellphone, according to the study based on the largest sample size from the National Sample Survey’s 66th consumption expenditure (2011) covering 94,311 households with 470,000 consumers.
“Mobile ownership increases by 10 percentage points once a household becomes just literate — when the head of the family can read and write but has not attended any formal schooling —,” according to the study.
Furthermore, the probability of owning a cellphone is 1.5 times grater in case of a post graduate household compared to a household that is not-literate.
“Wider appreciation of the social impact of mobile devices in the country will also generate a larger set of content and service providers and fuel a true revolution,” said Elango Thambiah, president, mobility, Tata Teleservices.
Also, the rural-urban divide in terms of mobile ownership narrows down as educational attainment improves among households.
Literacy has a direct relation with mobile ownership, the study said. For example, the proportion of illiterate households that own a cellphone in Bihar is a little over 30%, but the ownership shoots up beyond 90% for graduates and rises further for post graduates.