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Author Archives: Rohan Samarajiva

Facebook gets 69% of its revenues from mobile

This used to be seen as a challenge. Now it’s “same old, same old.” The social network, which makes most of its money by including advertising in the news feeds of its users, said about 69 percent of its advertising revenue came from mobile devices, which have become the most common way people tap into […]

LIRNEasia research contributes to Philippines broadband policy

PH Broadband QoS

The Philippines Senate conducted its 4th public hearing on the Philippine internet, where the National Telecom Commission presented the summary of the position papers it received on MC 07-07-2011 on minimum broadband connection speeds. The photo shows Senator Bam Aquino (right) and government officials, including NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba and ICTO Deputy Executive Director Denis […]

Internet played an unexpectedly large role in Sri Lanka Presidential election of 2015

The Lankadeepa, the leading Sinhala newspaper in Sri Lanka, has reported a speech by Dr Ranga Kalansooriya at a recent event on media ethics organized by the Sri Lanka Press Institute, where he claims that a survey covering 14 out of the 25 districts showed very high levels of reliance on the Internet for political […]

End of nationally authorized Internet Services Providers?

The conventional telcos were complaining that the Googles and the Facebooks of the world (labeled by them as Over-the-Top or OTT players) were unfairly getting a free ride on the expensive, difficult-to-maintain last mile access network. Bharti Airtel went as far as unilaterally seeking to identify such uses by their customers and to impose additional […]

What will the Myanmar regulator do about towers?

It appears that getting sites to build towers is one of the biggest barriers to rapid rollout of mobile networks in Myanmar. One operator, MPT, has an advantage in that it owns land in all major population centers. The claim that they are examining tower quality before offering sharing is one that I would take […]

MNP is no silver bullet

One of the problems with social media is that no one reads beyond the 140 characters. I was asked about mobile number portability via Twitter. I provided the information via links in a blog post and then tweeted the post. I get the sense that no one went to the nuances. I am good at […]

Mobile number portability for Sri Lanka?

We have been requested via social media to shed light on MNP, I gather in light of various dissatisfactions about what all ISPs did in terms of blocking websites in the past few years. Attachment to the number, the costs involved in printing up new business cards, etc were seen by many in the West […]

Former Lead Consultant Economist assumes duties as Deputy Minister

Harsha assuming duties

Five years ago, our Lead Consultant Economist, Dr Harsha de Silva, entered Parliament as an opposition national-list MP. For those unfamiliar with idiosyncrasies of Sri Lankan politics, that is an MP without constituency responsibilities who is appointed by a political party based on the contribution he/she may make to legislative or executive functions. Without doubt, […]

On the same wavelength on smart cities: Citizen is also the sensor

I was somewhat disappointed by the Modi government leaning toward the IBM vision of smart cities, where sensors would be ubiquitously placed across green-field new-build satellite cities across India. Our vision is lower cost and seeks to improve existing cities relying on citizens as the principal sensors. So I was pleased to our thinking echoed […]

Applying basic principles of policy design across sectors

Parvez Iftikhar will be amused that I am proposing a fund, after objecting to his favorite Universal Service Fund. But that is how the policy game gets played. We look at something that does not work at all or produces more bad outcomes than good (government-owned telcos with universal service obligations in the old days; […]

Abuse/non-use of Pakistan universal service funds

I did not know how bad things were in Pakistan until I read this essay by my friend Parvez Iftikhar, the greatest universal service fund evangelist there is. Coming to home, the level of utilization of USF funds in Pakistan, at this time, is actually worse. According to a careful estimate, since 2006 an equivalent […]

Experimentation to replace urban planning?

Partha Mukhopadhdyaya is an expert on cities, having studied them in multiple countries including China and India. He also happens to serve on our scientific advisory board. Mint carried the first part of an interesting discussion with Partha on cities. When we talk about the insights from big data for cities, we naturally get slotted […]

Smart cities: Will the gap be between those can work with data and those who cannot?

Our own work with big data focuses on cities. This guest editorial in the UN Global Pulse blog provides as excellent rationale for the focus on cities. In addition, it raises some areas for caution. Placing algorithms at the forefront (or even in the front-row seat) of decision-making may have potentially severe drawbacks. It’s indeed […]

LIRNEasia’s big data research to be discussed in Taiwan

Yuan Ze University is a leading private university in Taiwan. In keeping with its strategy of differentiation and internationalization, it has invited LIRNEasia to interact with its new Center of Excellence known as the Innovation Center for Big Data and Convergence. Even though Taiwan is not a country of focus for LIRNEasia, we have had […]

Two colleagues in India’s influential thinkers list

Forbes India has just published a list of 24 influentials, in no particular order, according the author. We were pleased to see two colleagues with whom we interact a lot, Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Sunil Abraham featured in the “top ten.” Our congratulations to this well-deserved honor and our wishes for more strength in the […]

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