Mobile ownership

According to a 2015 study by Media in Cooperation and Transition (MiCT) mobile phones are available throughout the country, even in rural areas. About 90 percent of the population has at least one phone. The study shows that age does not influence ownership of at least one phone, as age groups have almost the same frequency. The trend is different when it comes to owning more than one cell phone or the generation of the phones in possession. Ownership of at least one mobile phone is significantly higher in rural areas (89.70 percent) than in urban areas (86.70 percent). This is partly explained by the fact that in rural areas ownership of a mobile phone is still a sign of social ascent. Moreover, mobile phones are used by rural people not only as a means of communication but also as a means of entertainment, for listening to the radio and watching movies. According to the study, 72 percent of men have at least one mobile phone compared to 74 percent of women.

Smartphones are gaining ground especially among young city dwellers. Men are more likely to have a smartphone than women, even though the discrepancy between sexes is noticeably diminishing. The use of smartphones is common especially in urban areas and in particular in Bamako. On the other hand, it is the young and the most educated who use smartphones, which is also due to the fact that the use of such a device presupposes a minimum of literacy. For example, 69 percent of people with higher education have a smartphone against 12 percent of people with no education. Mobile phones are still used mainly for making calls, while functions such as sending email messages or accessing social networks are not so common. As mentioned, men are more likely to own a smartphone and tend to use them mainly as a source of information. Women use cell phones to make phone calls, take photos, listen to songs and surf social networks.