I am a researcher in the Technology for Emerging Markets Group at Microsoft Research India in Bangalore. My primary research interests concern the economic and social implications of the spread of mobile telephony in the developing world. Visit my MSRI homepage for updates on current projects in Microenterprise Development, M-Banking, M-health, and “mobile-centric” internet use. I am currently a visiting academic at the Hasso Plattner Institute for ICT4D Research at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Previously, I was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. I have also been a consultant with the Monitor Group in Cambridge, MA, and with its spin-off, the OTF Group. I have a Ph.D. from Stanford in Communication Theory and Research.
You can reach me at: jonathan <<at>> jonathandonner . com and follow me as @jcdonner on Twitter.
Donner, J., & Mechael, P., (Eds.) (2012). mHealth in Practice: Mobile technology for health promotion in the developing world. London: Bloomsbury Academic. (link to open access e-book)
Ling, R. & Donner, J. (2009). Mobile Communication. Cambridge, UK: Polity.
Donner, Jonathan and Marion Walton (2013). Your phone has internet – why are you at a library PC? Re-imagining public access for the mobile internet era. In Proc. Interact 2013. Springer.
Oeldorf-Hirsch, Anne; Donner, Jonathan; and Edward Cutrell (2012) “How bad is good enough? Exploring mobile video quality trade-offs for bandwidth-constrained consumers.” In Proc NordiCHI 2012. New York: ACM.
Chetty, Marshini; Banks, Richard; Bernheim Brush, A.J.; Donner, Jonathan and Rebecca Grinter (2012). “You’re Capped!” Understanding the Effects of Bandwidth Caps on Broadband Use in the Home. Proceedings of CHI 2012, 5-10 May, Austin, TX.
Mudliar, Preeti, Donner, Jonathan & William Thies (2012). Emergent Practices Around CGNet Swara, A Voice Forum for Citizen Journalism in Rural India. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development, Atlanta (ICTD2012). (pp. 159-168) New York, ACM. (slides) (doi: 10.1145/2160673.2160695)
Walton, Marion & Jonathan Donner (2011) Read-Write-Erase: Mobile-mediated publics in South Africa’s 2009 elections. In Katz, James E (ed), Mobile Communication: Dimensions of Social Policy (pp 117-132). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. (prepublication version)
Donner, Jonathan, Gitau, Shikoh, & Gary Marsden (2011). Exploring mobile-only internet use: results of a training study in urban South Africa. International Journal of Communication, 5, 574–597.
Donner, Jonathan. (2010). Framing M4D: The Utility of Continuity and the Dual Heritage of “Mobiles and Development”. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 44(3) 1-16.
Donovan, Kevin, & Jonathan Donner (2010). A note on the availability (and importance) of pre-paid mobile data in Africa. In J. Svensson & G. Wicander (Eds.), 2nd International Conference on Mobile Communication Technology for Development (M4D2010) (pp. 263-267). Karlstad, Sweden: Karlstad University.
Donner, Jonathan, & Marcela X. Escobari (2010). A review of evidence on mobile use by micro and small enterprises in developing countries. Journal of International Development, 22, 641-658. doi: 10.1002/jid.1717 (alternate link to pre-peer-review draft paper)
Gitau, Shikoh, Marsden, Gary, & Donner, Jonathan. (2010). After access – Challenges facing mobile-only internet users in the developing world. Proceedings of the 28th international conference on human factors in computing systems (CHI 2010) (pp. 2603-2606). New York: ACM.
Donner, Jonathan. (2009). Mobile-based livelihood services in Africa: pilots and early deployments. In M. Fernández-Ardèvol & A. Ros (Eds.), Communication technologies in Latin America and Africa: A multidisciplinary perspective (pp. 37-58). Barcelona: IN3.
Donner, Jonathan, & Escobari, Marcela (2009). A review of the research on mobile use by micro and small enterprises (MSEs). In R. Heeks & R. Tongia (Eds.), Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Information and Communications Technologies and Development, (ICTD 2009) (pp. 17-26). Doha: IEEE
Donner, Jonathan. (2009). Blurring livelihoods and lives: The social uses of mobile phones and socioeconomic development. Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, 4(1), 91-101.
Donner, Jonathan. (2009). Mobile media on low-cost handsets: The resiliency of text messaging among small enterprises in India (and beyond). In G. Goggin & L. Hjorth (Eds.), Mobile technologies: from telecommunications to media (pp. 93-104). New York: Routledge.
Steenson, Molly & Donner, J. (2009). Beyond the personal and private: Modes of mobile phone sharing in urban India (pp. 231-250). In S. W. Campbell & R. Ling (Eds.), The Reconstruction of Space and Time: Mobile Communication Practices (Vol. 1). Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Books.
Donner, Jonathan, & Tellez, Camilo A. (2008). Mobile banking and economic development: Linking adoption, impact, and use. Asian Journal of Communication 18(4) 318-332. (alternate link to preprint version)
Donner, Jonathan. (2008). Shrinking fourth world? Mobiles, development, and inclusion (pp. 28-42). In J. Katz (Ed.), The handbook of mobile communication studies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Donner, Jonathan, Rangaswamy, N., Steenson, M. W., & Wei, C. (2008). “Express yourself” and “Stay together”: The middle-class Indian family (pp. 325-338). In J. Katz (Ed.), The handbook of mobile communication studies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Donner, Jonathan. (2008). Research Approaches to Mobile Use in the Developing World: A Review of the Literature. The Information Society 24(3), 140-159. (Alternate link to author post version)
Donner, J., Verclas, K., & Toyama, K. (2008). Reflections on MobileActive08 and the M4D Landscape. In J. S. Pettersson (Ed.), Proceedings of the First International Conference on M4D (pp. 73-83). Karlstad, Sweden: Karlstad University Studies.
Donner, Jonathan, Rikin Gandhi, Paul Javid, Indrani Medhi, Aishwarya Ratan, Kentaro Toyama, Rajesh Veeraraghavan (2008, June). Stages of design in technology for global development, Computer, 41(6), 34-41.
Donner, Jonathan. (2007). Customer acquisition among small and informal businesses in urban India: Comparing face to face, interpersonal, and mediated channels. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries 32(3) 1-16.
Donner, Jonathan. (2007). The Rules of Beeping: Exchanging Messages Via Intentional “Missed Calls” on Mobile Phones. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13(1).
Donner, Jonathan. (2006). The use of mobile phones by microentrepreneurs in Kigali, Rwanda: Changes to social and business networks. Information Technologies and International Development 3 (2): 3-19.
Donner, Jonathan. (2005). The social and economic implications of mobile telephony in Rwanda: An ownership/access typology. In P. Glotz, S. Bertschi & C. Locke (Eds.), Thumb culture: The meaning of mobile phones for society (pp. 37-52). Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Verlag. (Alternate URL // Reprint))
Donner, Jonathan (2005). The mobile behaviors of Kigali’s microentrepreneurs: whom they call – and why. In Kristof Nyiri, ed., A Sense of Place: The Global and the Local in Mobile Communication. Vienna: Passagen Verlag.
Donner, Jonathan (2004). Microentrepreneurs and mobiles: an exploration of the uses of mobile phones by small business owners in Rwanda. Information Technologies and International Development 2(1), 1-22.
Donner, Jonathan (2003). What mobile phones mean to Rwandan entrepreneurs. In Kristof Nyiri, ed., Mobile Democracy: Essays on Society, Self and Politics. Vienna: Passagen Verlag: 393-410.
Donner, Jonathan. (2001). Using Q sorts in participatory processes: An introduction to the methodology. In Social Analysis: Selected Tools and Techniques (Social Development Papers 36, pp. 24-49). Washington, DC: The World Bank.
selected conference presentations and working papers
Donner, J., & Toyama, K. (2009, 17-21 August). Persistent themes in ICT4D Research: priorities for inter-methodological exchange. Paper presented at the 57′th Session of the International Statistics Institute (ISI), Durban, South Africa.
Donner, J. & Gitau, S. New paths: exploring mobile-centric internet use in South Africa. Paper presented at “Mobile 2.0: Beyond Voice?” Pre-conference workshop at the International Communication Association (ICA) Conference Chicago, Illinois. Chicago. 20-21 May 2009
Donner, Jonathan. (2007, July 2-4). Perspectives on mobiles and PCs: Attitudinal convergence and divergence among small businesses in urban India. Paper presented at the Mobile Media: An international conference on social and cultural aspects of mobile phones, convergent media, and wireless technologies, Sydney, Australia.
Nyaruhirira, I., L. Munyakazi, J. Donner, J. Ruxin, C. Schocken, D. Ellis, G. Scharffenberger, P. Johnson, L. Sundaram. (2004, July). Technology Supports Rapid Scale-Up of Rwanda’s HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment Programs. Presented at “AIDS 2004: XV International Conference”. Bangkok, Thailand.
Donner, Jonathan (2004, June). Innovative approaches to public health information systems in developing countries: An example from Rwanda. Presented at ‘Mobile Technology and Health: Benefits and Risks’. Hosted by the Department of Economics, Society, and Geography at the University of Udine, Udine, Italy.
Walton, M. & Donner, J., (2012). Public access, private mobile: The interplay of shared access and the mobile Internet for teenagers in Cape Town. Global Impact Study Research Report Series. Cape Town, South Africa: University of Cape Town.
Chetty, M., Banks, R., Brush, A. J. B., Donner, J., & Grinter, R. E. (2011, March-April). While the Meter is Running: Computing in a Capped World. Interactions, 18(2), 72-75.
Donner, Jonathan. (2007, September). M-Banking. id21 insights #69, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.
Donner, Jonathan. (2005). User-led innovations in mobile use in sub-Saharan Africa, Receiver #14, Vodafone.