After Access

From The Information Society Series

After Access

Inclusion, Development, and a More Mobile Internet

By Jonathan Donner

An expert considers the effects of a more mobile Internet on socioeconomic development and digital inclusion, examining both potentialities and constraints.





An expert considers the effects of a more mobile Internet on socioeconomic development and digital inclusion, examining both potentialities and constraints.

Almost anyone with a $40 mobile phone and a nearby cell tower can get online with an ease unimaginable just twenty years ago. An optimistic narrative has proclaimed the mobile phone as the device that will finally close the digital divide. Yet access and effective use are not the same thing, and the digital world does not run on mobile handsets alone. In After Access, Jonathan Donner examines the implications of the shift to a more mobile, more available Internet for the global South, particularly as it relates to efforts to promote socioeconomic development and broad-based inclusion in the global information society.

Drawing on his own research in South Africa and India, as well as the burgeoning literature from the ICT4D (Internet and Communication Technologies for Development) and mobile communication communities, Donner introduces the “After Access Lens,” a conceptual framework for understanding effective use of the Internet by those whose “digital repertoires” contain exclusively mobile devices. Donner argues that both the potentialities and constraints of the shift to a more mobile Internet are important considerations for scholars and practitioners interested in Internet use in the global South.


$40.00 X ISBN: 9780262029926 312 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 4 b&w illus., 2 tables


  • After Access is the first systematic study of the mobile Internet in the developing world. More than this, Donner tells us a great deal about the state of play of mobile communication and the Internet. This outstanding book will be richly influential on how we imagine and think about mobiles and Internet, and how we can best provide and use them—for reducing inequality and enhancing participation as much as for prosperity and cultural expression. A classic work for anyone interested in mobile technology today—or what the future of the Internet looks like.

    Gerard Goggin

    University of Sydney, author of Cell Phone Culture

  • This book enhances Jonathan Donner's formidable reputation as an analyst of what we used to call 'the mobile phone.' After Access will be required reading for anyone wanting to understand the power, limitations, and implications for human behavior of an Internet now available to billions of people. Donner's unsurpassed experience of technology, theory, and grassroots research makes this book a unique contribution to the scholarship of mobile communication.

    Robin Jeffrey

    coauthor of The Great Indian Phone Book

  • Donner provides a great 360-degree view of problems and prospects of the spectacular spread of mobile devices in low-income countries, and whether and how the access will offer personal, convenient, and pervasive Internet experiences for billions of people.

    Iqbal Quadir

    Founder of Grameenphone in Bangladesh and Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT