Despite the initial high cost of purchasing a smartphone, Somalis are increasingly paying up for the benefit of instant internet connectivity, making communicating with family members abroad and accessing news and information easier and less expensive than traditional ways of accessing the internet.
"The most expensive iPhones cost
Smartphone sales are steadily increasing, Abdullahi said, noting that his store sold 15 smartphones in 2012, and nearly 100 this year.
Abdullahi said most of his customers ask for smartphones, particularly Samsung mobile phones, which are popular because they are cheaper than iPhones and have more free applications.
"Some of these phones are very expensive even though they are now sold for less than when they first came," he said. "You could look at this as being very expensive, but we sell them constantly."
Lower data usage costs
"I used to go to an internet cafe that charged 18,000 Somali shillings per hour when I needed to use the internet, and it is possible to need it several times a day," he told Sabahi. "I now pay
With internet access on his mobile phone, Warsame said he is now able to stay connected to the rest of the world at all times.
He said this service has made it easier for him to stay in touch with his family members who live in
"I communicate with my wife and children on WhatsApp every day," Ibrahim told Sabahi. "It [feels] as though I am with them, and it is cheaper than speaking to them directly. I used to pay more than
Besides Hormuud, Hargeisa-based Somtel is the only other company providing internet access via cellular phones in southern Somalia.
Somalia lags behind when it comes to internet accessibility, however the increasing use of relatively low cost mobile internet is helping close the gap year after year, he said.
"In one sense it is not too expensive because the amount of money I am spending to access the internet now is [less than] what I used to spend for calls [alone]," said Abdirahman, adding that he saves money by sending text messages to his friends and family instead of calling.
Specifically, he says he uses his Samsung Galaxy to access social media sites such as Facebook, where he goes to socialise and get news.
Replacing internet cafes
"I now feel that I have the ability to access the internet any time that I need it instead of being dependent on other internet [providers] like before," said Mohamed, who has been using a Samsung Galaxy phone for about seven months.
"I use it to send emails, stay informed about news, and I also use it to download lessons and information from
"I am now also able to read or watch anything that is private on my own. Since internet cafes are public spaces, you cannot access or watch everything you like," he said.
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