More money, More phone use?

An infamous Thai ICT Ministry commented, during a roundtable discussion “Policy direction for the Telecom Sector” on March 16, that he wants cellphone operators to increase the subscription rates because the competition by decreasing the rates causes people use cellphones too much.  In particular, people who live in poor areas (e.g. farmers) and earn insufficient income have to play a lot of money for cellphone use because of the advertisement and persuasive prices.

In Blognone, some people thought this seems to be illogical.  Some people argues that the rates should not be too cheap.  I personally see this issue as the conflict of interest between sufficiency and digital divide perspectives which take part on different grounds.  It seems to me that sufficiency of using cellphone is based on rather individual judgment (e.g. responsibility and self-disciplinary) than public manipulation.

One may argue that cellphone could not be counted as a public good as another type of luxury technology.  Therefore, not everyone deserve to own and use cellphone for their own sakes which I do think it is quite of weird and somewhat selfish.  I do think most people realize the benefit of, not just only “having”, but also “using” cellphone.  Therefore, keeping the price down is always good and it is the benefit of the public (which is the role and responsiblity of the government, isn’t it?).  Anyway, I do think nothing is wrong with people using cellphone too much.  Increasing the subscription rate apparently support the assumption that “you poor people deserve less than me because I’m richer.”

I remember the operators usually have a function to temporarily limit the use when people suspiciously use cellphone to a certain amount of money.  Then you have to validate yourself with the operators (I used to be annoyed by this).  In addition, pre-paid is good enough option for those who want to limit their own uses.  If those “overuse” still exist, then the problem significantly is nothing  about money.

[Source: Thairath via Blognone]

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