Over the past two years we have examined the impact of mobile technology among a sample of smallholder farmers and traders in Zimbabwe. One of our findings indicates the extent to which mobile phones have become so addictive in ways that undermine relationships and even potential income. If a poor farmer spends the equivalent of a goat to buy airtime monthly but cannot see the value of the information gained through calling or sms, it's difficult to conclude that mobile phones are beneficial. In most cases, those using mobile phones regularly have not moved out of poverty better than those not very keen to use the mobile phone all the time. The biggest damage is with mobile money where some old farmers said they were losing their money to the mobile network system through unexplained charges.
Some traders said mobile technology has increased the availability of poor quality information whose authenticity takes long to verify. The 'convenience' associated with mobile technology is at the expense of quality information, relationships and commodities.