Given the rapid rise of mobile-only users, we investigated the digital inclusion process through smartphones. By using Chile as a case study, a country that has strongly promoted mobile connections to address internet access gaps, we compared mobile-only and computer users in different dimensions of the digital inclusion process, including digital skills and differentiated uses of the web. By relying on a face-to-face national representative survey, the results showed that smartphones represent an opportunity to access the internet for those who traditionally lag behind. However mobile-only use does not necessarily lead to a more complete digital inclusion process because it was related to lower levels of skills and less diverse types of uses of the web compared to those people who also use the computer. Also, skills partially mediated the association between access device and types of uses of the web, which suggests that the differences by access device partly occur because people have greater chances to develop skills when accessing the web through computers.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was part of a project funded by Chile's National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (Fondecyt 1170324).
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- Digital inclusion
- digital inequality
- digital skills
- internet access
- internet use
- mobile phones