June 28, 2009

Calling Home: Emigrant Bangladeshis Expend More Than Others

Emigrant Bangladeshis call home more often than their Pakistani, Indian, Sri Lankan and Filipino counterparts, spending USD 48 a month to stay in contact, a survey says. The survey '"Teleuse at the bottom of the pyramid", conducted by LIRNEasia, a regional ICT policy research institute, found 87 percent of Bangladeshi migrants called home at least once a week, while 34 percent called home daily. Dr. Rohan Samarajiva, Chair and CEO of LIRNEasia, disclosed the result of the survey on Sunday in Dhaka.

Dr. Samarajiva said the survey was conducted over 1,500 overseas and domestic migrant workers from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Thailand. The survey found that on average a Bangladeshi overseas migrant spends USD 48 per month, as against USD 15 by an
Indian overseas migrant. Overseas migrants mostly work in the Middle East and east or Southeast Asia.

On average, they earned just about USD 485 and sent USD 203 home per month. The trendiest way of communicating home was by telephone, however contrasting the other nationalities, a considerable 28 percent also made calls by means of the internet. A tiny but significant figure of domestic migrants surveyed in Bangladesh were found to be sending currency home through mobile phones, regardless of the lack of a formal mobile payment system in the country.

Many in fact use mobile account recharging to shift money home every now and then even for a charge as high as 20 percent, the survey said. Frequently, migrants maintain good dealings with the village top-up agents who encash load transfers from the migrant to his family.

Teleuse@BOP is a sequence of studies that gaze at how the buck socioeconomic groups or the 'bottom of the pyramid (BOP)' make use of telecom and other ICTs in their lives. Teleuse@BOP3, the third of these studies, was conducted between 2008 and 2009 and integrated Bangladesh for the first time.

The 2008 study included a survey of BOP overseas and domestic migrant workers from six countries in emerging Asia. Over 1,500 migrant workers were surveyed in late 2008. In Bangladesh, 180 recently returned overseas migrants and 170 domestic migrants, most of whom were males with secondary education, were surveyed.

The Bangladeshi findings from the main Teleuse@BOP3 study can be downloaded here:
Teleuse BOP3 Bangladesh findings 26Jun09


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