MOBILE PHONE USAGE AMONG THE STUDENTS OF KADUNA STATE UNIVERSITY: GAINS PAINS AND PROSPECTS OF GSM SERVICES

MOBILE PHONE USAGE AMONG THE STUDENTS OF KADUNA STATE UNIVERSITY: GAINS PAINS AND PROSPECTS OF GSM SERVICES

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The world has become a global village and a key element in this process is communication. The recent development in the Global system for Mobile Communication (G.S.M) in Nigeria has entirely changed the attitudes of the people  most especially, the educated elite in the world, Nigeria inclusive who are very much interested in adapting to new innovations that will enable them utilize their potentials better. These elites in the society, are now more inclined towards mobile technology in sharing public ideas and other activities. According to Etukudo, 2009. “But after a decade in the introduction of GSM in Nigerian society, it has aversely gain acceptance among the literate and the illiterate, the poor and the rich, the urban and the rural dwellers etcetera.’’ The use of GSM in Nigeria is fast growing and at the same time transforming the individual user’s lives.

 Today, G.S.M has become a hugely successful wireless technology and an unprecedented story of Global achievement (Mouly and Paulet 1991). Formerly known as, Group Special Mobile, the G.S.M technology was developed in Europe in 1982 (Mouly and Paulet,1991). By the beginning of 1995, there were sixty countries with operational or planned Global System for Mobile Telecommunication networks in Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, Australia, Africa and South America’’. As at 1995 over 5.4 million subscribers have subscribed to the Global System for Mobile Telecommunication all over the world.

In Nigeria, major players in the Telecommunications sectors include; The federal government of Nigeria, the ministry of communication, the Nigerian Communication on Commission (NCC) and the Telecommunication Commission services providers.

The use of G.S.M is not only restricted to Kaduna State University, a higher institution of learning but it is also used in rural areas. As long as there is a mobile network service in such placed you will find GSM users in those localities. The G.S.M is used for exchanging opinion, ideas, with family members, friends and well wishers. It is also use to transact business locally and internationally. It has penetrated into human life. It is now a tool for social networking among others things. Most urban centers, like in Africa and the world at large, G.S.M is used for money transfer from one financial institution to another on behalf of customers. The benefits of G.S.M cannot be over quantified. These G.S.M handlers use to come with additional capabilities in which the owner can add more facilities to suits his or her need for instance, these G.S.M carries Mobile Quran and Bible, facilities for internet linkage such as Face book, Yahoo, and Google.

All these facilities make G.S.M as one of the most formidable tool for public services.  Phone user can talk with one another, record some spectacular moments of life, listen to music, install games, application, videos, transfer data and files to other compatible devices and visit World Wide Web (www). These are some basic qualities of the most modern Global System for Mobile Telecommunication (G.S.M), which makes it faster and easy for adaptation. In this globalized world the use of GSM has cut across all ramification of user’s life. Once one is introduced to the uses of GSM, it is virtually difficult to turn back to the former life without the GSM.

Hence, since the world is fast growing in technologies, the Global System for Mobile Telecommunication has continued to be a necessary tool for public opinion communication in service provision. Development in the telecommunication industry all over the world is very rapid, as one innovation replaces another. A major breakthrough is the telephone system, which comes in either fixed wireless lines or the Global System for Mobile Telecommunication (G.S.M). The G.S.M handset technologies have greatly increased the efficiency of communication to the extent that the process can send and receive messages around the world and within the space with maximum speed and efficiency Bittner 1989.

In 2001, the Global System Mobile network popularly known as G.S.M was introduced and Nigerians embraced it. The Global System for Telecommunication came as a welcome development in Nigeria, and Nigeria became part of globalized World. Nigeria has joined the League of Nations in the track of economic prosperity associated with communication technology. According to NCC (2012) report release by National Communication Commission indicated that about 90 million Nigerians have access to Mobile Phones. Presently Students of Kaduna State University have access to G.S.M which contributed to their human and academic development

The Global System of Mobile Communication has no doubt impacted positively on the lives of the people in higher institutions like that of Kaduna State University considering the fact that it enables effective communication among students. The Students of Kaduna State University G.S.M subscribers can now use their Mobile Phones to do many things including sharing ideas, sending short messages services (Texts) and other high level services like transmitting (sending) and receiving still and line images, watching live events from any part of the world.

To this extent, the use of GSM is now a public phenomenon because of its multiple usages and how it is bridging gaps and also suiting to the lives of the users.

Also, the importance of communication in human development cannot overemphasize. This is because it is through communication that innovative ideas can be brought to peoples to improve their lives. But the penetration of telecommunication in developing society like that of Nigeria is very limited. This is as a result of some factors like low level literacy, low income and lack of technological infrastructure. So imbibing the use of telecommunication in community development has to encounter challenges and it need to be tackled for it to be effective.

Journalists have come to appreciate the immense contribution of GSM to their work of news gathering, therefore, telephone interviews and reporting have become commonplace especially through the electronic media as well as video clips and photographs  on the spot to support news stories.

The GSM handsets are equipped with calculators that could take up to 12 digit, calendars beyond 2050, time, and date, touch light, alarm clock and many more.

Advertisement are cashing in the GSM revolution as products and services are regularly advertise through the GSM there by boosting sales and increasing profits for the growth of economy.

For want of relaxation/fun, facilities like games are abundant on GSM handsets to task minds and relax the individual.

GSM has reduced the cost of doing business as it has shortened distance, bridged gabs between business associates, facilitate work coordination, and manage time effectively thereby increasing productivity. The introduction of GSM makes appointments more re-assuring as cancellation of meetings are immediately communicate.

Businesses have improved with the introduction of GSM, goods and services are delivered in good time, delays are better managed and crises are timely averted.

Families have become close than ever before through the use of GSM, information is passed easily to members, especially when partners or parents are staying apart due to work, school or other challenges.

The GSM innovation has gone a step further to providing tracing services for motor vehicles. This makes it possible for users to monitor or locate actual place and time where a vehicle is positioned within the coverage areas thereby assisting the police in the investigation of stolen vehicles.

The Nigerian police have been able to burst many robbery operations with the aid of GSM phones, get tip-offs to criminal hide-out to effect arrest, surveillance on the metropolis, check traffic menace, get information on search and rescue operations, or distress calls in emergency/accidents, coordination with other relevant agencies to protect and secure lives and property of people.

Equally important feature of the GSM is the ability to connect to the internet with the Blackberry. This has made communication a lot easier for businessmen and others who require the internet to do their work. The Blackberry gives access to the World Wide Web in any location within or outside the work environment.

Seasonal greetings, religious messages, investigation to ceremonies and others have found a safe haven with GSM because it saves time, money to use the electronic devices than the conventional methods of invitation or seasonal cards. Since the introduction of GSM in Nigeria, there has been increase in the act of students using the devices to cheat during the examinations by saving material in their handsets.

This development has become a major threat to our educational system as it has direct bearing on quality of graduates produced by the fraudulent system. It has also been GSM that has become some sort of nuisance at public gatherings by it potential to cause unnecessary distractions to others in the group when it rings.

Mobile lies have increased astronomically with the GSM which make it convenient for users to tell lies about their location and on other sundry issues. Many people believed that GSM has aided the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted disease because it is possible for youths to send and receive x-rated materials, practice what they see among the group.

Scam calls and texts have been on the increase, many innocent and unsuspecting individuals have been duped via the GSM as mouth-watering proposed prizes are churned out to victims who   unknowingly fall in to the traps of tricksters and gangs of robbers. There has equally been increase in the level of crimes e.g. kidnapping across the nation since the GSM came into existence. Criminal minded individuals used the devices to share information, plan attacks and escape from justice. They also use it to send threat texts and calls to peoples whose duty is to bring them to justice or to those who stand in the way of their criminal activities.

GSM has been identified as the facilitator of rumors, gossip and false alarm, because with the aid of this instrument; rumors could spread like wild fire far and wide and could make crisis management very difficult.

Generally speaking, GSM has come to affect the people sleep, eat, and think and ultimately their health. As they indulge in night calls, it affects productivity when employees waste valuable time on trivial conversations with family and friend during work hours. It has eaten deep in to the lean finances of low and medium level income earners, crashing their lean budgets and causing discomfort to family lives.

Finally, it has posed a lot of challenges for services for services providers to meet the demands of its subscribers, maintain equipment to meet increase in services demands and failing service quality.

Regulators are challenged to set up standards of services quality and ensure compliance by all stakeholders to protect the consumers.

The general public is challenged to adopt the new technology and take full advantage of its unique features to better their lives.

1.2    RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1. To which extent has Global System for Mobile Communication enhance social interaction among undergraduate students?

2. What is the level of GSM usage by students on campus?

3. What are the challenges faced by GSM users?

4. Can people do without their GSM phones in a day?

      5. Does GSM usage on campus help student’s academic performance?

 1.3   OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The aim of this study is to examine issues related to GSM services among the Students of Kaduna State University. The objectives this research intends to achieve are:

1.          To find out the pattern of GSM use among Students of Kaduna State University.

2.          To find out the kind of GSM service and network use by subscribers in Kaduna State University.

3.          To find out the gains, pains and prospects faced by GSM subscribers in Kaduna State University?

4.          To establish the truth or otherwise of the use of GSM to enhance academic performance.

5.          To find out the extent to which GSM enhances interaction among Kaduna State University Students.

1.4             SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY                                                        

 As a study that seeks to investigate the uses of GSM on social interaction amongst students of tertiary institutions, it will suggest ways of maximizing benefits of the new technology as well as proffer solutions on managing its impact.

It is particularly significant because it will educate the people on the best ways to use the GSM; provide stakeholders with information on how to improve services regulation, marketing and distribution of GSM services in tertiary institutions. Government, stakeholders and services provided will find a common ground to regulate market and distribute GSM.

1.5             SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The study will be limited to GSM users in Kaduna State University. The variable the impact in the study is concerned with testing the level to which GSM has affected social interaction among the undergraduates of higher institution.


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