Connecting Isolated Communities: Quantitative Evidence on the Adoption of Community Cellular Networks in the Philippines


What determines the success of community cellular networks? And who uses the network? We leverage unique circumstances where all households in seven localities were interviewed before the installation of cellular network towers. We observed large differences in network adoption across the seven project sites. Four sites displayed high and regular usage, while three sites displayed anemic usage after the initial week of network service. We show that social and economic factors correlate with cellular network adoption. Sixty-five percent of households in the project sites made or received at least one call on text message. Farming and fishing households, as well as female-headed households, were particularly likely to join the cellular network. Wealthier households initiated and received more calls and texts. Households with higher levels of education initiated and received more text messages. Our results provide evidence of the demand for cellular networks.

Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development