KEY COMMUNICATION AND DEVELOPMENT WEBSITES AND PROJECTS
Urban Peru New Media
New Media in Urban Peru
Internet and mobile phone use and access has been growing in Peru, but not just in quantitative terms. Read more to see how urban Peruvians are using new media...........
Internet use and access has been growing in Peru, but not just in quantitative terms. The days when urban Peruvians simply checked email online are in the past; they are now engaged in a variety of activities such as blogging, visiting social networking websites, watching videos and chatting with friends. In addition, people are accessing the web on their mobile phones.
Mobile phones are widely available at the household level, thanks in large part to cheap prepaid calling plans. However, less than a quarter of respondents said they have a computer or an an Mp3 player in their homes. Internet connections at home are far more rare, as are sophisticated mobile handsets such as Blackberries and i-Phones.
Interestingly, the percentage of those who used their mobile phones in the previous month is lower than those who have household access. In addition, only about a third of those who have mobile phones at home are likely to use SMS as a source of news as well. This could signal that the mobile phones available to people in their homes are being shared with many members of the family, restricting their availability to any given person. Alternatively, it could mean that mobile users are using their devices sparingly, due to cost or literacy limitations.
Internet use shows the opposite pattern. The number of regular web users are more than double the number of respondents who said they have internet access at home (Chart 1). Indeed, Chart 2 shows that most users log on at internet cafés, called Cabinas Publicas in Peru. The remarkable rise in Internet use can be largely attributed to the rise in the number of these cheap public internet facilities in all the urban centers in Peru. (read more about cabinas publicas here).
- The typical internet user in urban Peru is between 16 and 29 ( Table 1). Most respondents had atleast a secondary or technical education, and this group also formed the majority of internet users. Web surfers were more likely to be men than women.
- Through these cabinas publicas, the web has become more accessible to all segments of society, including those from lower socio-economic backgrounds who can’t typically afford internet connections at home; and table 1 shows that as a result of this, internet users are evenly spread out across income groups, unlike many other other developing nations where the rich are much more advantaged.
Table 1: Profile of Internet User in Urban Peru
Intermedia, Peru, 2009, survey of urban adults (15+), n = 417 who had used the internet in the previous month
- The most popular activities on the internet for urban Peruvians are exchanging emails and researching specific topics (see chart 3).
- In the past, users went online mainly to check email, but now they are blogging, watching videos and chatting with friends, among other activities. In addition, people have been also accessing social networking websites. Blogging, accessing news and social networking are also fairly popular, although not as much as sending emails (Chart 3 and 4).
- Youth and young adults (Y/YA) are more likely to use the internet for these sophisticated activities than any other age groups (read more about youth and young adults (Y/YA) and new media in urban Peru here).
- About one third of internet users surveyed said they had blogged in the previous month. Among the various types of blogs that are the most popular in urban Peru, entertainment and technology lead (chart 5).
- The most popular blog is that of El Comercio newspaper, followed by the blogs run by radio station RPP. El Comercio and RPP are the most popular newspaper and radio station, respectively, among respondents (chart 6).
- Surveyed users who visit social networking websites use them mainly to connect with friends and family (chart 7). The majority of such users said they share photos and videos (76 percent) or comment on someone’s status (63 percent).
- Hi5 is the fourth most popular website in urban Peru and also of the most popular social networking websites in all of Latin America, beating out Facebook in popularity. However international websites such as Google, Hotmail and Youtube dominate general web use among urban survey respondents.
- For accessing information online, urban Peruvians trusted international websites and/or search engines such as Google, Wikipedia and Youtube. However, Peruvian news sources such as RPP and El Comercio were also considered to be trustworthy sources.
Mobile Phone Activities
- While the majority of the mobile phone users were young (16-29) and well educated, respondents outside of those segments still claimed to have relatively good access rates. There was no apparent gender divide (table 2).
Table 2 : Profile of Monthly Mobile Phone User in Urban Peru
Intermedia Peru, 2009, survey of urban adults (15+), n = 535 who had used a mobile phone in the previous month
- Inexpensive and flexible payment plans are fueling a general shift from landlines to mobile phones throughout the country. The increase in mobile phone access has been very rapid- the ITU states that the number of mobile phone subscribers increased from just 2.3 million in 2002 to 20.95 million in 2008 (versus only 2.8 million landlines that year). 
- Eighty four percent of the urban survey respondents said they own a mobile phone, versus 58 percent who said they have landlines. Household access to a Blackberry or an iPhone is limited to only 2 percent of the general population. Mobile phones are more popular than landlines across all income groups, even for people in the low income group (chart 8). This could be credited to cheaper plans, pre paid mobile phone options, etc. 
- Prepaid plans are the most popular because of their very low cost. As in other countries in the region, people who have a prepaid plan do not have to pay for incoming calls. Prepaid cell phone cards are available everywhere and cost around $3-$5 dollars on average for talk time worth 1-2 hours (in 2009).
- Urban Peruvians use their mobile phones for much more than making phone calls. SMS is particularly widespread, with 89 percent (of those respondents who had at least used their cell phones in the previous month) using them to send and receive text messages. The average cost of a text message in 2008 was the equivalent of 10 U.S. cents (based on a purchasing power parity exchange rate) versus 32 U.S. cents for a 1-minute on-network local call during peak hours. 
- Many cell phone post-payment plans include unlimited text messaging. It is especially very popular among young people.
Chart MOB 2
- Chart MOB 2 shows the rate of use of SMS and other non-voice mobile phone functions reported by urban survey respondents.
- Even though men and women reported equal levels of household access to a mobile phone, male respondents were more likely than women to use every mobile phone activity asked about in the survey. Among all age groups, those 15-29 were more likely to be using their mobile phones for all these non-voice functions, and they are also more likely to have household access to mobile phones than any other age group.
Mobile Media Access
Chart MOB 3
- MOB 3 shows how popular it is to access other media on one’s mobile phone. Although listening to the radio on the phone is the most popular, web access is still very rare.
 "ICT Statistics Database". International Telecommunication Union. Accessed January 2010. http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/icteye/Indicators/Indicators.aspxI
 Income Definition: For the purpose of the BBG Intermedia 2009 urban survey in Peru, “income” here is based on of a self-reported measure of family financial situation. “Low-income” refers to those respondents who report not having enough money to cover basic needs such as food and/or clothing. As such, this represents the poorest 38 percent of the population. “Middle-income” here refers to those respondents who said they could meet their basic needs, but could not save enough for large purchases such as refrigerators or televisions. This group represents 43 percent of the total population. “High-income” here refers to those respondents who report having disposable income sufficient to purchase some relatively expensive goods, such as refrigerators and televisions and those who can afford whatever they want. This comprises the top 19 percent of Indonesians surveyed.
 "Peru". Mobileactive.org. Accessed January 2010. www.mobileactive.org