2015 December


Greetings for 2016

Posted by on December 31, 2015  /  0 Comments

It appears that high data use by Myanmar consumers is the surprise of 2015. But Telenor expects it to go down as they start connecting rural consumers. Will they be wrong again? Telenor’s network today covers all states and regions but Chin State, for 60 per cent of population. The customer base is expected show a slower growth rate.
It will be a hard road for the fourth licensee, now that MPT, Telenor and Ooredoo have got a running start. The challenges of managing a large consortium will also be considerable. The newest tender winner will join an 11-company consortium comprising Myanmar Technologies and Investment Corporation, Myanmar ICT Development Corporation, Myanmar Agribusiness Public Corporation, Shwe Pyi Tagon Telecommunication Public Company, Golden Land East Asia Development, Myanmar Edible Oil Industrial Public Corporation, Myanmar Industries Alliance Public, Myanmar Agriculture and General Development Public, International Power Generation Public Company, Royal Yatanarpon Telecom Public Company and Mahar Yoma Public Company, the EOI document said. U Shane Thu Aung, director at Royal Yatanarpon Telecom (YTP), said the local consortium will be called Myanmar National Telecom Holding Public. The fourth licence will have an initial duration of 15 years, and will be renewable for at least 10 additional years, subject to compliance – the same terms as were granted to Telenor and Ooredoo Report.
Still waiting for a systematic account, but until then, here’s a journalistic account that quotes our friend Nay Phone Latt and has a picture of him in his constituency office. Facebook has been an obvious choice for most, and the National League for Democracy, or NLD, which won a landslide victory over the Union Solidarity and Development Party, or USDP, has been particularly successful at leveraging social media as a tool. “That was how I communicated with my people and my constituency, mostly through these accounts. People would send me questions, responses and opinions via my Facebook page and account,” said Nay Phone Latt, a newly elected Yangon Region lawmaker for the NLD. “One of my friends called it ‘the silent revolution.
Returning from an expert meeting on big data n Bangkok, I was in the passenger seat on the way back from the airport. Looked up Google maps for the traffic. This feature has been available in Sri Lanka only for a few weeks. On the main roads, it was pretty accurate. Once we turned off to a busy, but not-a-principal road, the traffic indicator went blank.
ESCAP is part of the UN. By design, it is better positioned to work across silos than specialized agencies such as the ITU and WHO. One of the key points made about the sustainable development goals that were recently adopted is that they require working across silos. Big data naturally cuts across disciplinary boundaries. It transcends organizational silos.
In a few hours I’ll be speaking at a panel on how big data is already being used for sustainable development. ESCAP has pulled together an interesting group of people together to talk about how big data can help with the daunting task of measuring progress on the 169 targets that the UN has set for itself. The slides I will be using are here. Sorry they do not tell the full story since I have been asked to keep them to a minimum.
Economic Times reports three problems, of which it says the spectrum issue is the hardest to address. One of the primary concerns with the proposal is that the spectrum band required for the transmission is unavailable. According to DoT, Google has sought a band of 700 to 900 MHz, which is occupied by telecom service providers. Union communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad confirmed that there are technical glitches in Project Loon. “The proposed frequency band to be used in the Loon Project of Google is being used for cellular operations in India and it will lead to interference with cellular transmissions,” he said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
According to the latest data, Sri Lanka has 16 Facebook users per 100 people. According to a 12,500 household survey conducted by the Department of Census and Statistics in January-June 2015, Sri Lanka has 11.8 Internet users aged 5-69 years, per 100 people. The wording is a little ambiguous, so it may be possible that it’s 11.8 households with a Internet user, per 100 households.
For sometime, Helani Galpaya has been communicating the message that affordability is not enough by itself for Internet use by the people of developing Asia. For example, this is what she said at a well-received presentation on SDGs at UN DESA, 8-9 June 2015. She has been saying this in a number of places and as is our custom, the slides have been placed on the web. Her conclusions were based on our research and ITU data and the proposed solutions also drew from several lines of our work. So we were not surprised to see the message being repeated in a blog and as the main headline of the A4AI newsletter.
Earlier today, I was asked by a TV channel to comment on the most recent (2015 H1) computer literacy and related indicators issued by the Department of Census and Statistics. I summarize below my comments. The survey, based on a sample of 12,500 households with persons aged 5-69 years, reported that computer literacy for the country was 26.8 percent. Under the previous administration, computer literacy was a fraught indicator.
Pakistan has officially allowed private carriers to terrestrially plug the country with all the four neighbors including India. This multidimensional landmark decision makes Pakistan the buckle of South Asia-Central Asia telecoms belt. This route is embedded in our proposed trans-Asian connectivity for affordable broadband. It took us three years to convince ESCAP, which dubs our concept “Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway.” Pakistan currently exports internet bandwidth to Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
The notional ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ under One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative connects China with Central Asia, Russia and Europe. It also links China with the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean through Central Asia and West Asia. Trains carrying goods as well as the Block Trains between Chinese and European destinations via Kazakhstan under OBOR have set a new paradigm to the transcontinental cargo shipments. Therefore, portraying Kazakhstan as ‘buckle’ of the ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ should not be exaggerating. ESCAP has invited me to discuss Central Asia’s potentials as a trading hub.
I have been working with Pathfinder Foundation for a while. Their focus is economics, so it was good fit. Now they are getting into Track 2, with China as well as India. The track 2 with India involves the Vivekananda International Foundation, the Modi Think Tank, which has a strong focus on strategic affairs. I am therefore being asked to speak on infrastructure issues to Chinese as well India strategic affairs people, which I find quite interesting.
Rather unusual topic in terms of this blog. But we do work on privacy, competition and marginalization in different technological contexts. Privacy is deeply connected to information disclosure, which is one of the primary modalities of gaining trust. So when I was asked to speak on this subject to a group of young diplomats from developing countries by the Chair of the Elections Commission, I said yes. The Department of Elections which is under the new Elections Commission is widely seen as an effective and credible organization trusted by the citizens.
LIRNEasia has had a deep commitment to decentralized innovation. Specifically in relation to Pakistan, we advocated more reasonable revenue splits for app developers and actions to reduce the transaction costs for them as far back as in May 2010. We are happy to see actions on those lines reported from Pakistan. Irfan Wahab Khan, Deputy CEO of Telenor Pakistan, while speaking with ProPakistani, confirmed the plans and said that Telenor Pakistan is determined to play a role in nurturing and strengthening startups ecosystem in Pakistan. “In addition to giving these startups an access to our assets, such as distribution channels, retail network, Telenor Pakistan has bundled a tool-kit with payment, location and other similar APIs, that will be made available to these selected startups”, explained Irfan Wahab Khan.
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