2011 November


Google sees mobiles as the future, especially in markets like India, according to Business Standard. Mobile Internet fastest growing vertical, says Google India MD. Listing a set of next big trends in the overall technology sector, Google India says mobile Internet is set to lead the way for the industry. As against 14 per cent in the US, 11 per cent in Russia, and 6 per cent in the UK, Google India sees about 40 per cent search queries from mobile phones in the country. “Mobile phones are the future.
Sri Lanka’s Etisalat has been making waves in the broadband space. First it was the App Zone. Then an Android Forum that attracted 2000 applicants. Then the cheapest smartphones in the market, that resulted in 500 sales in two days. Here is the thinking behind all this: Fixed broadband connectivity alone cannot provide the Internet needs of Sri Lanka.
In Sri Lanka, the cheapest Huawei Android smartphone goes for around LKR 11,900 (USD 105). This comes bundled with a special software that renders Sinhala and Tamil font, so users can read local language content. The operator who is offering this handset, Etisalat, is doing all this without any compulsion: because he wants the business. Now imagine the following: he is not allowed to directly import, but has to buy through local vendors (makes it impossible to get good deals from Huawei, based on the amount of business Huawei does with Etisalat overall, rather than just Sri Lanka); he has to convince some official that every handset he offers has a local language keypad (if he’s unlucky, the official might insist on real keypad, and refuse the touchscreen version): and so on. What will be the outcome?
Entry level BPO workers in the Philippines earn USD 300 a month, 20 percent more than the USD 250 their counterparts earn in India. Why? In addition to language skills, the Philippines has better utility infrastructure than India — so companies spend little on generators and diesel fuel. Also, cities here are safer and have better public transportation, so employers do not have to bus employees to and from work as they do in India. Full report.
Finally! After years of LIRNEasia‘s efforts in promoting broadband QoSE monitoring the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) of Sri Lanka unveils its diagnostic tool to the public. It’s a shame the press release says (among other things), “There were no facilities available for subscribers to check and verify whether the operators were providing the internet services at speeds advertised by them.”, despite LIRNEasia‘s efforts and offers to adopt our free-to-use, free-for-all tool (beta version). I just used the TRC software.
The Mullaperiyar Dam has been considered unsafe for many years. Nothing much has been done about it, partly because Tamilnadu and Kerala cannot agree on the remedial measures. Now Kerala is going hard, possibly energized by a feature film called Dam 999. Mr Joseph, quoted below, is a Minister: Mr. Joseph told reporters here on Friday that the Centre should intervene immediately to save the life of 30 lakh people who lived under the threat of a dam breach.
Since our research pointed us to the necessity of lowering international backhaul costs if the dream of taking broadband to all in emerging Asia was to be realized, I’ve been very interested in the ADB’s USD 9 million project to build a backhaul network connecting Nepal, India, Bhutan and Bangladesh. Here’s what the ADB website says about the project: The Project is aimed at enhancing the benefits of ICT and regional cooperation for inclusive growth and poverty reduction by increasing the supply of affordable broadband, skilled ICT manpower, and local content and e-applications, with a special focus on the needs of the poor. It is also expected to help SASEC countries improve their productivity and efficiency and participate more fully in the global information economy. To this end, the Project will establish (i) a SASEC regional network with fiber-optic and data interchange capacity, directly connecting the four SASEC countries; (ii) a SASEC village network expanding broadband ICT access to 110 rural communities in the SASEC countries and providing direct connections among the communities for local networking and local information sourcing; and (iii) a SASEC research and training network to build technical and business skills in developing local ICT content and […]
India’s opening up of retail services to foreign investors will bring in capital and expertise to make supply chains more efficient. Analysts have estimated that up to 35 percent of Indian fruits and vegetables spoil before they get to market, largely as a result of an antiquated supply system that includes many wholesale markets and middlemen. Partly as a result, Indian food prices often rise quickly when there are minor disruptions in the supply or harvest of staple crops like onions and potatoes. Food inflation in recent months has been hovering near 10 percent. While some companies have begun building supply networks in parts of India, Mr.
We are not the only ones saying mobile broadband is the future. Nokia Siemens Networks, the equipment joint venture of Nokia and Siemens, said Wednesday that it planned to cut almost a quarter of its work force as it sought to bolster profit in a stagnating market for network gear. The company said it planned to eliminate 17,000 jobs by the end of 2013 in a wide-ranging austerity program to enable Nokia Siemens to refocus on mobile broadband equipment, the fastest-growing segment of the market. The reductions will slash the company’s work force by 23 percent from its current level of 74,000. Report.
The usefulness and ease-of-use of interactive voice, with Freedom Fone, for Sarvodaya Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members to supply incident information was blogged two weeks back. Now the question is “how is all that information put to use in responding to those incidents?”. In here we tell parts of that story. CERT members call one of the four telephone numbers to access Freedom Fone; then press the “reporting” menu item number on their phone keypad to record a “field observation report”.
At LIRNEasia, we’ve been getting more and more interested in cities, for various reasons. Now it looks like Ericsson has given us an interesting new way of thinking about cities and ICTs: a new Index. Assessing the effects and benefits of ICT maturity within a city framework brings several opportunities. Firstly, cities represent a more universally comparable context than the more commonly used nation- based frameworks. Comparing London and Shanghai makes more sense than comparing the UK and China.
Asian cities are ahead of their European counterparts in using ICT for the benefit of citizens, reveals research by Ericsson and Arthur D. Little. Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo have extensively invested in ICT to offer public services including e-health programs, traffic management, and reducing environmental impact. Only three European cities – Stockholm, London and Paris – feature in a top-ten listing of global cities actively employing ICT for citizen’s benefit, compared to five cities in Asia Pacific – Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai and Beijing. New York and Los Angeles keep the US’ end up, ranking fifth and seventh respectively.

Phantom of the Opera(tor)

Posted by on November 23, 2011  /  0 Comments

Faking “Caller ID” is cheating by any standard. It’s like a stranger is wearing a mask to impersonate someone innocent and knocking at the door. And you have opened the door. Similarly when it displays “F.B.
AT&T announced its plans to take over T Mobile in March 2011. More than five months later, the US Department of Justice filed suit to block it. Now the FCC joins the fray. While all this is going on, T Mobile must be hemorrhaging to death. In Sri Lanka, we do not have these kinds of complications.
The language on ICTs in the 2012 Sri Lanka budget (paras 50-53) is pretty vague. Basically, LKR 500 million will be added to efforts to provide IT education and all government departments and agencies will have to work with the ICT Agency when they introduce IT into their systems. And, there are plans to set up a technology city in Hambantota that will hopefully attract IT and ITES firms there. But the really good stuff is in Para 53. The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission will implement policies and strategies to encourage telecommunication companies to give priority for the development of broad-band network facilities.
For several years, the Telecom Regulatory Commission has been the biggest contributor to government revenues. It continues to be biggest in 2011, though it has come down considerably in 2011 from the massive yield in 2010, according to the 2012 Fiscal Management Report. In 2010, TRC contributed LKR 13,800 million, 44% of total revenues from government enterprises. In contrast, all the state banks combined contributed LKR 5,315 million, 17% of the total. The Port (26th largest container port in the world) yielded nothing, zero.