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Author Archives: Rohan Samarajiva

Myanmar Parliamentarians keen to learn about ICTs

18 MPs from six parties

Eighteen members of Parliament from six different political parties, including the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party and the opposition National League for Democracy, assembled before start time this past weekend for an ICT awareness program organized by the Myanmar ICT for Development Organization (MIDO) where LIRNEasia supplied the content. They then stayed engaged throughout, […]

Myanmar launch of Information lives of the poor book

Yangon book launch

The first translation of the book Information lives of the poor, co-authored by Laurent Elder, Rohan Samarajiva, Alison Gillwald and Hernan Galperin and published by IDRC, was ceremonially released in Yangon at at event on the 25th of July. The picture shows one of the co-authors handing over the book to H.E. Mark McDowell, Canada’s […]

Indications of Myanmarese directly taking up smartphone and mobile apps

A study of mobile use by poor micro entrepreneurs in five cities has revealed surprisingly high levels of smartphone use, indicating fast take-up of mobile applications and services beyond voice when competitive network roll-out gathers momentum in the coming weeks. The results of ethnographic research, interviews and focus groups conducted earlier this year by LIRNEasia, […]

MPT’s joint venture will keep all 8,500 employees and create direct and indirect employment

In Sri Lanka, the incumbent teleco is a healthy company that gives decent service, lots of patronage benefits and some contributions to Treasury. It did not shed any employees, other than through voluntary schemes. In Bangladesh and India, the incumbents are at death’s door. The difference is that Sri Lanka government partially privatized the company […]

Myanmar book launches

There will be two events to mark the launch of the Myanmar translation of Information Lives of the Poor, co-authored by Laurent Elder, Rohan Samarajiva, Alison Gillwald and Hernan Galperin and published by IDRC. The first is at the Sky Palace Hotel , 3, Yarza Thingaha Road, Datkhinathiri Township, Hotel Zone, Southern Nay Pyi Taw, […]

China Internet use from mobiles overtakes use from computers

I wonder what Carlos Afonso, who was so upset when I said at IGF2009 in Sharm El Sheikh that most people in developing countries would be accessing the Internet over mobile devices, would have to say now? China had 632 million Internet users at the end of June, an increase of 14.4 million since the […]

IBM is betting on what we’re betting on

As someone old enough to remember the 1984 Apple ad that assailed IBM as big brother, I am willing to bet Big Blue will pull through and to be amused by Apple collaborating with IBM. The areas IBM is betting heavily on include data analytics, cloud computing and corporate mobile and social computing. At a […]

Are articles published in open platforms read more than those in closed journals?

For the last few years, I have been reluctant to publish in academic journals and edited volumes, where the content that I contributed would not be available on the web. I have now some doubts about the wisdom of this position. If one assumes that citation is a proxy indicator that someone out there is […]

LIRNEasia ideas in July Echelon Magazine

There is a good article the mobile revolution by Nalaka Gunawardene in Sri Lanka’s best business magazine, Echelon. No surprise, he draws extensively on LIRNEasia research ranging from teleuse at the bottom of the pyramid through the work on the budget telecom network business model to our estimates of how many Internet users there are. […]

Smartphone market at crossroads

It appears that the smartphone market may be turning into a commodity market sooner than thought. Samsung’s response to its predicament could shape the entire smartphone market. If Samsung aggressively cuts prices to improve sales, it could pressure other competitors like Nokia, HTC and Motorola Mobility to lower prices, too. That could lead to lower-quality […]

China’s Internet model spreading in Asia?

A fascinating interview with the Chinese financier Zhang Lei by the Financial Times highlights the need to learn about and keep up with China’s ICT industry. Now Zhang is taking the Chinese template offshore. “The Chinese model, which is mobile-driven, is more suited to emerging markets than the US model, which is desktop driven,” he […]

Reading the tea leaves for Myanmar mobile marketing strategy

Interesting that Ooredoo SIMs cannot be used on feature phones, while Telenor is trying to cover that segment as well. “Cheap SIM cards of two foreign telecom companies will attract people. Ooredoo’s SIM cards cannot be used on Java system handsets as their system is 3G Advanced. But the 3G system will be suitable for […]

Budget Telecom Network model in article marking 25 years of mobile in Sri Lanka

LIRNEasia research is extensively quoted in this Sunday Times article by Nalaka Gunawardene. The past decade has seen the highest number of telephone connections being given out across South Asia. It happened thanks to what researchers call the ‘budget telecom model’, where low cost technologies coupled with business process innovations helped telecom operators to reduce […]

Myanmar: Telecenters to educate users about mobile services and apps?

Interesting interview with Ooredoo’s Myanmar strategy chief: Flagging up the likes of mobile health and money services, Swierzy told Mobile World Live there was a big opportunity to go beyond the traditional talk and text model. “We think we can get Myanmar using advanced services more quickly than other markets,” he said. Qatar’s Ooredoo, along […]

MIDO and LIRNEasia to launch Information Lives of the Poor in Myanmar

Myanmar is in the midst of a dramatic transformation under the Thein Sein administration. ICTs are front and center, with both Ooredoo and Telenor set to launch services within weeks. In an op ed published in Myanmar in May 2012, almost a lifetime ago given the scale of the changes, I said: “Starting late means […]

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