Why mobile data is rejected by senior citizens: Telenor

Senior citizens are not fully receiving the benefits of the mobile Internet in Asia, said a research in four of its regional markets by Telenor Group.

The research note is based on customer data from four Telenor markets: India, Thailand, Bangladesh and Malaysia.

Senior segment in some of these markets represent as little as 2 percent of active mobile users, with still fewer using smartphones, said Telenor.


“It is a source of concern for Telenor that senior citizens in our Asian markets are not fully receiving the benefits of the mobile internet. The Internet can be a vital way of maintaining civic participation and even receiving basic citizen services in the near future,” said Sigve Brekke, EVP and head of Asia operations, Telenor Group.

Reasons for not using mobile data

The top reasons consumers cited for not using mobile data are related to perceived utility and complexity of the services. 29 percent said they have no reason to use the mobile internet and 24 percent reported that using the mobile internet is too complicated.

Telenor research on the unconnected senior citizens of Asia


Only 10 percent of Uninor subscribers in India are over 45 years. Of the total mobile phone users in India, only 6 percent are over 50 years of age. One percent of mobile data users is 50 years or older. Generally, non-data users have a lower income profile and higher age than the average mobile user, said Telenor.

Uninor mobile Internet user trends


Grameenphone, a telecom operator in Bangladesh, notes that only about one million of 52 million customers are above 60. Data volumes drop half for those over 60 compared to the overall customer base. 4.5 percent of women over the age of 65 use data against 7.5 percent of men in the same age. Less than 1 percent of Bangladeshis surveyed over the age of 65 use a smartphone.


In Malaysia, DiGi, Telenor’s local business unit, reports that only 3.9 percent of the local user base is over the age of 60.
38 percent of subscribers in the 60+ segment use smartphones (and almost half of users in the 0-60 segment), with 31 percent of this older demographic using mobile data.

Data usage in Malaysia (GDP per capita $10,538) is far higher than that observed in India ($1497.50) and Bangladesh ($957.8).


In Thailand, dtac reports 6 percent of users are over 60 and 2 percent over 65. 56 percent of users over 60 and 50 percent of users over 65 are using data. Smartphones, at 50-55 percent among the two upper age groups, far outnumbered feature phones. 19 percent of Thai female users over 60 years of age and 15 percent over 65 are using data.

14 percent Thais and 17 percent of Malaysians over the age of 50 use Internet or own a smartphone, versus 7 percent, 5 percent, and 2 percent in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, respectively. In China, 25 percent of the 50+ segment regularly uses the internet or owning a smartphone.

Baburajan K
[email protected]