LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Author Archives:
Rohan Samarajiva

Ooredoo Myanmar also moves into black operationally

Even if it took some exchange-rate movements, to do it, it’s still good news. My only concern is that Myanmar lawmakers will see these numbers as an invitation to start milking what they as a cash cow. There is much to be done in Myanmar in terms of translating the reforms into real benefits for […]

What can we learn from Systematic Reviews for the advancement of MSMEs?

Dr. Vigneswara Ilavarasan presenting the findings of the SR

On 26 April 2016, Dr Vigneswara Illavarasan who led the Systematic Review on ICTs and MSMEs, convened an expert roundtable to discuss the results and to learn from those working in the field. To round out his study, which was focused on urban areas, I presented the Systematic Review on the impact mobiles had on […]

Telenor Myanmar is cash-flow positive, with EBITDA margin of 42%

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2016 Q1 financial results revealed by Telenor Myanmar paints a rosy picture: “I think I’ve said for many quarters now that this cannot continue, but it does,” said Group CEO Sigve Brekke during the company’s financial results presentation. “One-and-a-half years into operation … [Telenor Myanmar] is now cash-flow-positive for the first time.” Telenor Myanmar’s operating […]

Platforms and how they play out in particular places

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In theory, surge pricing is a no-brainer. If prices go up when demand surges at particular times, surge pricing will bring additional supply to the market. While not supporting what appears on the face to be an economically illiterate decision by an Indian court to ban surge pricing the authors of the Economic Times op-ed […]

What can one say about policy barriers to mobile communication in ASEAN?

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I was given the task of talking about policy challenges to using mobile communication advancing socio-economic development in the ASEAN, at the research meeting on mobile communication in the ASEAN at the LKY School. Given the tremendous heterogeneity within ASEAN (ranging from Singapore to Myanmar) I decided it would be more useful to do a […]

Indian government fails to relieve itself of USF money

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I thought that the Government of India finally solved the problem of getting rid of the universal service fund money that kept coming in. Sam Pitroda gave them the solution with NOFN, that was supposed to shift the money to BSNL and other government entities. And the money was given for little result. But the […]

To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful

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It’s difficult to understand how Google’s mission could have been achieved, if the US authors’ union had prevailed. But the US Supreme Court has declined to hear the final appeal. The justices did the right thing. The legal fight over Google’s effort to create a digital library of millions of book is finally over. The […]

On two kinds of intervention, one that works and another that makes one feel good

I received an email from some magazine catering to the NGO Sector, saying they had studied our website and wanted to do a feature on us. After I agreed, the next email included the following question. First of all, I would just like to know if LirneAsia are implementing projects as of the moment or […]

When transaction costs approach zero

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We at LIRNEasia have always seen transaction costs at the heart of much of what we do. Our interest in ICTs in value chains, for example, has been focused on changes to transaction costs made possible by ICTs. This fascinating article on the business models underlying cloud computing foregrounds the scale economies perfected by the […]

Inclusion through platforms

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The only platforms LIRNEasia is currently studying are those used for micro work in the IT and ITES sector. There our focus is on inclusion. But, this article shows we should consider looking at more platforms. Deepthi, the single mother of a teenager, says she has tried other types of self-employment. She worked as a […]

Mainstreaming assistive technology for benefit of spectrum of abled and disabled

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Ever since Nirmita Narasimhan gave a colloquium on ICTs and disabilities at LIRNEasia in 2011, the topic has not been far from my mind. We included a component in the ongoing Myanmar project and are pushing hard to get assistive technologies into the policy discourse in that country. But my inability to get a single […]

Never let an incumbent control the fiber backhaul: Lesson from Afghanistan (not that there weren’t others before)

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One principle LIRNEasia defended consistently over the discussions at UN ESCAP about the Asia Pacific Information Superhighway (APIS) was that of open access. And despite many entreaties we held firm that the fiber had to owned by any entity other than the incumbent telecom operator in the country passed by the APIS fiber. From the […]

Trade agreements and information policy

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Twenty years ago, when NAFTA was still a novelty, Patrick Hadley and I looked at the interface of trade and communication policy. I recalled this when I was asked a question during a TV talk show about safeguards for culture in trade agreements. Looks like the issues we wrote about are becoming mainstream: China’s notorious […]

Lessons from LIRNEasia’s Telecom Policy & Regulatory Environment work for other fields

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I spent the past two days immersed in a new subject: elections management. We have been engaged in one of the hardest public policy puzzles, that of improving Sri Lanka’s electoral system, since early 2015. As a result of that engagement, I was invited to participate in a vulnerability assessment of Sri Lanka’s election management […]

2015 Gorkha Earthquake: Evaluation of Nepal’s emergency communication systems

It was barely a month after LIRNEasia conducted a course on broadband policy and regulation in Nagarkot, that Nepal was affected by the Ghorka Earthquake. Our hearts went out for the people of Nepal who suffered from a series of tremblors, power and communication outages and many difficulties. We managed to convey some support for […]

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