2010


While he was teaching at Cornell, Alfred Kahn noticed that airfares were lower and frequencies better in the San Francisco-Los Angeles route than in other route pairs in the US. The difference was that SF-LA were both in California and were thus outside the authority of the federal aviation regulatory agency. When President Carter appointed him to head the regulatory agency, he proceeded to abolish it. This was one of the main contributory factors to the spread of liberalization of network industries, including telecom, throughout the world. Kahn was former chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, and he presided over the deregulation of the airline industry — the dismantling of a system that regulated where airlines could fly and how much they could charge.
Actually, we can safely say, 310,000 mobile customers in North Korea, because it is highly unlikely that anyone other than the King or the heir apparent hold more than one SIM in the hermit kingdom. The NYT does not report whether the subscribers were just talking or doing more than voice. The license to Orascom was, after all, for 3G. Signs of that relative good fortune were evident on Pyongyang’s streets. Some pedestrians chatted on cellphones, something unknown just two years ago.

Electricity-telecom nexus

Posted by on December 25, 2010  /  2 Comments

Writing a piece on the technological challenges that had to be overcome to increase connectivity in the 49 least developed countries (LDCs) recently, I was struck by how many words I devoted to electricity, both on the need for keeping down the costs of network equipment and for powering handsets. In the old days, we assumed that the footprint of the electricity network was larger than that of the telecom network; now it is the other way around. What is interesting is that the trigger for getting the USD 80 solar generator in the story below was the phone: For Sara Ruto, the desperate yearning for electricity began last year with the purchase of her first cellphone, a lifeline for receiving small money transfers, contacting relatives in the city or checking chicken prices at the nearest market. Charging the phone was no simple matter in this farming village far from Kenya’s electric grid. Every week, Ms.
Bharti Airtel and China Telecom have lit a 40-Gbps underground fiber network linking respective country. It runs across the Nathula border between Siliguri (India) and Yadong (China). It promises customers transiting India or China to reach global destinations the shortest route between the two countries. The link also provides Bharti’s Indian customers with a third option for international connectivity and an alternative to its existing submarine cable connections in Chennai and Mumbai. Bharti said its Sino-Indian network is “built on highly resilient ring infrastructure will offer unparalleled diversity and reach to the region Terrestrial network to offer alternate and shortest route between India and China alongside existing Subsea routes.
The FCC has issued the long-awaited net neutrality rules. As evidence of the sad state of policy debate in the US, some people have claimed that the decision has even the lukewarm support of operators suggests it is bad. What is wrong with these people? The only good decision is one that sends the companies screaming to the courts? The fact that the rules received support — even the lukewarm kind — from big businesses should worry consumers, some public interest groups said Tuesday.
It was impossible not to notice the dramatic changes in the mobile handset market in the past few years, with new brands coming up and putting pressure on the old warhorses. Who was responsible? Vijay Govindarajan gives the credit to MediaTek in his guest blog at Harvard Business Review. Both Vijay and MediaTek are worth keeping an eye on. MediaTek’s strategists and engineers figured out a way to design a much less expensive phone system.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose; By any other name would smell as sweet.” Juliet didn’t work in the ITU. The global telecoms standard body has bowed to the inevitable with as much grace as it could muster, and has ‘recognised’ not only LTE and the current WiMAX as 4G technologies, but has slipped HSPA+ into the definition as well. Ian Scales of telecomtv reports.
My first trip to Pakistan was during the pre-suicide bombing era – May 2000. I checked-in the Islamabad Club. I was in a pair of sneakers, jeans and a T-shirt. Visibly disappointed receptionist of the Club gave me a condensed course on dress-code. He concluded, “You have to wear a tie in the bar.
When Bill Melody was appearing as an expert witness in the AT&T case back in the 1980s, he used to be assailed about economies of scale that AT&T supposedly enjoyed, which made them per se more efficient than any of the challengers. His answer was not that they did not exist, but that they were overridden by diseconomies of coordination. His conclusion is being supported by two scientists from Santa Fe Institute. The discussion of corporations comes at the end of a fascinating article on the laws governing cities in the NYT. This raises the obvious question: Why are corporations so fleeting?
Bangladesh is considering the issuance of 3G frequencies (they should get the license renewal mess sorted; but that is another story). The question of establishing a single 3G network that multiple operators would jointly own and use has been floated by an important stakeholder, the CEO of Banglalink. This is a theoretically good, but practically bad, idea. So LIRNEasia explained why in Bangladesh’s premier English language daily, the Daily Star: The operation of multiple 3G networks, owned and operated by different limited-liability companies, may be sub-optimal if seen solely from resource optimisation or planning perspective. But it is actually the most efficacious for the ground conditions in Bangladesh.

Thinking through innovation

Posted by on December 18, 2010  /  0 Comments

LIRNEasia is an ideas shop. We live and die by the value of good ideas well communicated. We try to help the organizations that constitute our audience (governments, regulatory agencies, service suppliers and manufacturers in the ICT space) to think new thoughts and implement them in ways that will benefit our people, those at the BOP in emerging Asia. We continually think about how we can do our job better, how we can reinvent ourselves. In this light the long article in the NY Times Magazine seems very relevant.
LIRNEasia CEO, Rohan Samarajiva, was quoted recently in an article published by TIME on India’s widening telecom scandal. A recent report published by India’s top auditor highlights irregularities in the government allocation of 2G spectrum to private companies. Rohan Samarajiva, an expert on telecom policy in South Asia, has studied the mobile-phone market in Bangladesh. There, too, investigations revealed hundreds of cases of spectrum sold and resold in “non-transparent” transactions. Nevertheless, Bangladesh has nearly 100% phone coverage and some of the lowest prices in the world.
Those who know graphs theory are familiar with the “four color theorem“; an example being the world map (relaxed as a planar graph) can be colored with a minimum of four colors such that two countries sharing a border do not share the same color. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London use this theorem to color code cellular network base stations. The base stations are in abstract sense regarded as message Brokers (also termed as “Publisher Subscriber Message Oriented Middleware” – PSMOM) that channel the published message (SMS, Email, Voice packet, data packets, etc) to the Subscriber (or message recipient). Sometimes a subscriber and a publisher can be directly linked through a single broker or they may be linked through several intermediary brokers. The role of the Sahana Alerting Broker, essentially, is similar to that of a cellular base station; where decision-maker or decision-system published risk information is disseminated to the subscribers of the response systems in the form of public warnings or restricted and private alerts (also known as closed user group alerts typically applicable to first responders).
For a long time, we were the voice in the wilderness. But now the regulator is on the job. If the promised results materialize, we can move on to something else: “Three months ago, most operators were provided services 70% less than the speed rate advertised in the package”, TRC Director General Anusha Palpita said. The speed-up move came after the TRC carried out an evaluation of the quality of service including speeds of fixed broadband services – ADSL and WiMAX. Mr.
In a response given to the respected Hindu newspaper in connection with a story on LIRNEasia’s broadband QoSE regulation results, TRAI has indicated some changes in the broadband quality regulatory regime, starting as early as next month: S.K. Gupta, Advisor (CN & IT), TRAI, has said the definition of broadband will be modified to include only those services that offer access speeds of 512 kbps from January 1, 2011. “This will be further upgraded to 2 Mbps network speeds from January 1, 2015. A comprehensive regulation on Quality of Service is also in the pipeline.