2008 January


Indian outsourcing sector hit by Internet disruption – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE India’s vital outsourcing industry, which relies heavily on the Internet, was grappling with a major communications disruption Thursday after damage to undersea cables thousands of kilometres away in the Mediterranean. Internet connections may take up to 15 days to return to normal, businesses said, adding that telecommunications in neighbouring Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were also affected. Powered by ScribeFire.
In what can only be described as a surprise announcement, Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH) says that it has been granted a 3G phone license in North Korea.   Orascom says that it intends to invest up to US$400 million in network infrastructure and license fee over the first three years. OTH intends to cover Pyongyang and most of the major cities during the first 12 months of operations. Read more.
The Grameen village phone ladies are slowly going out of business but Davos discussion still refers on the same model. Many Are Already at Work on Fulfilling Gatess Vision – Bits – Technology – New York Times Blog Last week Mr. Gates called on the executives of the largest corporations to add social entrepreneurship to their agenda, a leopard-spot-altering exercise at best. However, in challenging his compatriots, one of the experiments he overlooked was Mr. Yunus’s stunning success at Grameen Phone in Bangladesh, an effort he has pioneered during the past decade in partnership with Telenor, a Norwegian wireless carrier.
Monday 31 March 09:00 – 11:00 Opening session – Information society policies Information society policies have been on the policy agenda in all countries and regions of the world since the beginning of the 1990s. The opening session of EuroCPR 2008 will explore important outcomes of policy initiatives and the similarities and differences between different regions of the world. For this purpose, speakers from Europe, Asia and the US have been invited to give their critical assessment of policy aims and results. Speakers: • Eli Noam, CITI, Columbia University • Andrea Renda, CEPS • Rohan Samarajiva, LIRNEasia Discussant: • Frans De Bruïne, ISC, formerly INFSO EC Powered by ScribeFire.
Frost & Sullivan finds Africa’s demand for mobile internet access is growing quickly, with operators anticipating growth of between 40 per cent and 50 per cent between 2006 and 2009. “The poor state of fixed line infrastructure is creating the potential for the African mobile internet market to boom,” states Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Spiwe Chireka. “Mobile internet has emerged as the solution to the continent’s last mile connectivity problem.”  Mobile internet is significantly more cost-effective to deploy than fixed line services, is much cheaper and easier for users to acquire, covers a larger area and allows users access while they on the move.  However, the high cost of mobile internet-compatible handsets coupled with the pricing structure remains a significant challenge.
Agriculture or services for Sri Lanka’s future? – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE The aspirations of young people constitute good evidence of cultural attachment. A recent study done by Chanuka Wattegama and Nandasiri Wanninayake in Mahavilachchiya, a village on the borders of Wilpattu, 40 km west of Anuradhapura, provides evidence. (Link to document) Fifty four per cent of those in Mahavilachchiya wanted IT related jobs, compared to the 38 per cent who wanted jobs in the army in the control group. But the real news was the no one, absolutely no one, in either village wanted to continue in agriculture like their parents.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has said that mobile operators may be pushing consumers to give up fixed line telephone by charging a higher tariff for cell-to-fixed line calls. The regulator has asked the operators to stop the differential tariff as it was not justified. “The differential and higher charges levied by cellular service providers for calls to fixed lines do not have adequate justification. This can be viewed as an attempt to promote substitution of fixed line traffic by mobile traffic and may lead to forced substitution of fixed lines by mobiles, thereby reducing the target market for fixed line broadband,” senior TRAI officials said. Read the full story in ‘The Hindu – Business Line’ here.
This past Saturday at a conference organized by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing Harsha de Silva chaired a session with Hans Wijayasuriya of Dialog Telekom, Rohan Samarajiva of LIRNEasia and Keith Modder of Virtusa that addressed issues such as this.   One point that ran through the discussion was the need for companies to develop self-regulation to safeguard the trust of their customers.   China’s mobile network: a big brother surveillance tool? – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE “We know who you are, but also where you are,” said the CEO of China Mobile Communications Corporation, Wang Jianzhou, whose company adds six million new customers to its network each month and is already the biggest mobile group in the world by users. He was explaining how the company could use the personal data of its customers to sell advertising and services to them based on knowledge of where they were and what they were doing.
The Coming Wave of Gadgets That Listen and Obey – New York Times Vlingo’s service lets people talk naturally, rather than making them use a limited number of set phrases. Dave Grannan, the company’s chief executive, demonstrated the Vlingo Find application by asking his phone for a song by Mississippi John Hurt (try typing that with your thumbs), for the location of a local bakery and for a Web search for a consumer product. It was all fast and efficient. Vlingo is designed to adapt to the voice of its primary user, but I was also able to use Mr. Grannan’s phone to find an address.
Sustainability First: Tapping the Bottom of the Pyramid According to Lirneasia research, 41% of the BoP in Sri Lanka, owns their own phones and 21% of them are mobile phones. Another 31% is planning to buy a phone. But 28% is not planning to buy, mostly because they cannot afford to buy. This can be a primary market for telecentres in Sri Lanka, according to Prof Rohan Samarajiva of Lireneasia. Powered by ScribeFire.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday (Jan 23) recommended guidelines for rolling out mobile television services to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on various issues related to licensing and technology. TRAI has suggested that the choice of broadcasting technology should be left to the service providers but should be recognised by an authorised body. There are broadly two routes for providing mobile television services. One is operated by using the telecom network with spectrum already allotted to Unified Access Service License (UASL) and Cellular Mobile Telephone Service (CMTS) licensees, and the other using broadcasting method using separate spectrum. According to TRAI, telecom operators with CMTS or UASL licenses will not require any further licence or permission for offering mobile television services on their own network using the frequency or spectrum already allotted to them.

Competitors slam SingTel

Posted by on January 24, 2008  /  0 Comments

Competitors to SingTel in its domestic market have sharply criticised attempts by the carrier to gain regulatory relief in business, government and some wholesale markets.   The IDA solicited industry feedback on the attempt by SingTel to shed various competition, wholesale supply and published tariff obligations on a range of business, data and wholesale products as well as to all business and government customers billing over $250,000 annually.  That feedback has been uniformly negative. 
Sri Lanka celco urges regulations to lower cost s – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE “End-user taxation is very important in our market segment because it has been assessed that a one percent change in taxation generates up to 2-5 percent growth in usage and revenue,” Wijayasuriya said. “So we must bring down the minimum cost of ownership and even a single piece of legislation should not stand in the way of bringing down the cost of ownership. “When our penetration is still 35 percent, we should be driving the minimum cost of ownership down at every single opportunity with our economic policy.” Powered by ScribeFire.
The UK’s first “fibre town” could go online in the autumn, delivering speeds of about 100Mbps (megabits per second) to consumers’ homes. Fibre firm H2O provides super-fast broadband via the sewers and either Bournemouth, Northampton or Dundee will be offered the service first. For consumers, super-fast net connections could create a range of new applications including on-demand high definition (HD) TV, DVD quality film downloads in minutes, online video messaging, CCTV home surveillance and HD gaming services. Read the full story in BBC here.
LIRNEasia recently unveiled a painting by S. H. Sarath, the renowned Sri Lankan artist at its premises. It is untitled leaving ample room for one’s imagination. Photo shows LIRNEasia guest speaker of the day Robin Mansell and Executive Director Rohan Samarajiva doing the honours.
China on Tuesday started a public hearing to discuss lowering domestic mobile roaming charges, state media said, to address complaints from users. Hosted by the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, the hearing discussed two proposed plans for roaming charges, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Both proposals involve cancelling the existing roaming service fee of 0.2 yuan per minute, which users have criticized as being too high, according to local media reports. China’s mobile operators, China Mobile and China Unicom collect domestic roaming fees if the subscriber leaves the local service area.