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Monthly Archives: August, 2011

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Calibrating the response to oncoming hazards

False warnings and evacuations are a serious problem in disaster risk reduction. Too many, and people will not behave properly when the danger really comes. The debate appears to be joined in relation to the preparations made to face Hurricane Irene: Should those whose job it is to prepare for the worst be punished because […]

Cyberspace is something you carry in your pocket

The retirement of Steve Jobs from active management at Apple has been commented on by many. Paul Saffo’s comment about the reconceptualization of the Internet experience resonates with much that LIRNEasia has been talking about. The other point about not anchoring innovation on how consumers actually live their lives is more problematic. As the NYT […]

Bangladesh mobile license renewals: Expect an interesting 2012

The government has not backed off on the discriminatory and anti-poor “market competition factor” that was subject to a detailed critique when announced. Per Mhz spectrum charge has been set on the basis of their market share or ‘market contribution factor’ (MCF) which was previously known as ‘utilisation factor’ in the draft licensing guideline of […]

Irene: Mobile holds up; fixed has problems

Irene was far from our areas of interest, but not far from the newspapers we read. Looks like mobile networks performed well; while fixed had trouble. Wireless phone networks held up well against Hurricane Irene despite widespread losses of power. Many people who lost electricity were able to communicate using e-mail and social networks, thanks […]

Call traffic clogs networks during emergency. What’s next?

Citizens got panicked when an earthquake rocked New York last week. They immediately started calling family and friends from mobile phones. This is how everyone reacts during emergency worldwide. Thanks to the proliferation of mobile phone. Mobile networks of New York, however, failed soon after getting overloaded with so many simultaneous calls. It naturally made […]

Crowdsourcing the identification of the poor

We know, from our experience with teleuse@BOP surveys, that getting an accurate fix on levels of income and assets (poverty) is not easy. An experiment in Indonesia suggests that asking the village to decide is superior, because it is almost as accurate as the standard method which uses household assets and generates greater buy-in (less […]

Is the problem of assessing quality the most important one? And can ICTs only marginally help?

Reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was a rite of passage for college students (should still be). The key point I took away from it was the need to focus on quality. My most favorite economics book is Exit, Voice and Loyalty, by Albert Hirschman. Also a discourse on quality. Perhaps because I […]

Sachs on mobile phones, “the single most transformative technology for development”

Jeffrey Sachs is a superstar. His advice contributed to the mess in post-Communist Russia, but that did not hinder him in any way from dispensing advice elsewhere (I met him when came to Sri Lanka in 2002; after I told him what we had done or were doing on telecom, he moved on to dispense […]

India: Is definition of active mobile subscription realistic?

My colleague who made the previous post had neglected to look at the cause of the so-called spike in inactive SIMs. The cause is a change in definition, plain and simple. The market revaluation has been triggered by rule changes in the activity period allowed for prepaid users and the effect of mandatory SIM registration. […]

India’s mobile market looks like a candyfloss

Findings of Wireless Intelligence suggests that India’s mobile subscriber base is 30% lesser than what it appears to be. It said India has long been perceived to be trailing China in terms of gigantic mobile market. The fact is: nearly a third of the estimated 850 million Indian mobile customers are inactive. Almost 250 million […]

The Colonel’s demise and Internet’s revival

The Libyans are about to share the best gift of Eid – freedom. If blood is the currency of liberty, the Libyans have overpaid compared to  the Tunisians and Egyptians combined. Renesys’ CTO Jim Cowie, writing in the Huffington Post, has been trying to track what’s been happening to the country’s Internet connection in the […]

Engel’s Law, telecom use, and the odd case of Sri Lankan food expenditures

A research article that will shortly be published in Information Technology and International Development got me thinking about Engel’s Law, which states that as income rises, the proportion of income spent on food falls, even if actual expenditure on food rises. The article is by Aileen Aguero, Harsha de Silva and Juhee Kang. It’s not […]

In the fuss about the Motorola-Google deal, a word about the inventor of the mobile phone

Everyone has got an opinion on Google’s takeover of Motorola Mobility. But according to a report, it has the blessings of Martin Cooper, the man who invented the mobile phone. We had one post on him, but given all the effort we devote to mobile phones, that surely is not enough. One link led to […]

Mobiles in support of Sentinel Site Surveillance

The “mobiles in support of Sentinel Site Surveillance (mS-cube)” project, following the success of the Real-Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP), investigated the scalability and institutionalization issues. The mS-cube project was carried out in the Wayamba Province of Sri Lanka. The Infectious Disease Control (IDC) nurses, in the province, were given training on the “mHealthSurvey” mobile application […]

Fixing the post

In the 13 years I lived in the US, I saw the postal service change. It was a horrible, rude bureaucracy when I moved there; and I saw the reengineering at work in the last few years. Counter staff were actually trained to smile and be nice to customers (and those who could not be […]

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