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Rohan Samarajiva

Reflecting on Sri Lanka’s international connectivity issues in Paro, Bhutan

I write this sitting at a UN ESCAP consultation on the Asia Pacific Information Superhighway in Paro, Bhutan. Bhutan is a country of around 800,000 people which has two fiber cables connecting the main cities to the Indian cables in the Siliguri area. Actual broadband user experience is patchy. Because there was no official representative […]

Telenor Myanmar betting on convenience, quality and cheap handsets

So Telenor is about to hit the market. They’ve got to work smarter, lacking the billions (USD 15, but I’ve heard even larger numbers) Ooredoo is committed to invest. Being the late comer, Telenor is betting on service quality as well as extensive marketing network to ensure success. While MPT assigned 13 companies and shops […]

4G in Pakistan

The rollout everyone is waiting for is from Reliance’s Jio Infocomm. The Ambanis tend to change the game. But in the meanwhile, Zong has beaten Warid to announce a seven-city rollout in Pakistan Dr. Fan said that Zong will inject 1 billion dollars in Pakistan over the span of three to four years. He said […]

Assessing the benefits to Sri Lanka of direct connection to SEA-ME-WE 5

All these years Sri Lanka was connected to its main international communication conduits (SEA-ME-WE 2, 3 and 4) from Colombo and Mount Lavinia (a suburb of Colombo) over branch cables. In the case of SEA-ME-WE 5, the new consortium cable that is expected to come online in 2016, the connection will be direct, in that […]

SEA-ME-WE 5 to improve Bangladesh connectivity; Because of Myanmar, will cost USD 10m less

The government of Bangladesh will spend USD 72.5 million on SEA-ME-WE 5, on which construction commenced this month. “As Myanmar has become a member of the consortium we are paying $10 million less for the branch cable,” Hossain said. So far 12 countries have confirmed their membership with the consortium, while three other entities may […]

Can Sri Lanka become a knowledge hub without a step change in university education?

In a short piece reassessing the Sri Lanka government’s economic strategies centered on hubs, this is what I had to say on progress toward a knowledge hub. The controversial stuff on electricity, ports and aviation. Most progress has been achieved on this thrust, measured by the export revenues and numbers of jobs created by the […]

India High Court rules mobile towers no threat to health, easing 4G rollout

If broadband is to be provided at affordable costs, the last mile will for the most part be wireless. Unless people allow towers to be built, this will not be feasible. The Gujarat High Court decision will help. The latest verdict of the Gujarat High Court that base stations for wireless data and mobile communications […]

Sri Lanka Disaster Management Conference, 24-26 September 2014, to mark 10th anniversary of our greatest disaster

It is true that we tend to overdo the ceremonial elements, but well-organized conferences perform a vital function in public policy making and implementation. They concentrate the attention of the relevant persons, both in terms of preparing presentations and in terms of listening. Not all of it sticks, but if well designed, enough seeps through […]

Bangladesh makes first appearance in AT Kearney ranking; Sri Lanka moves up five places; India remains at number one

In May 2007, I made a presentation to high-level committee appointed by the government of Bangladesh to recommend reforms to the way international telecom traffic was handled. I neglected to spell out what BPO stood for. “What is BPO” was the question from the audience. Seven years later, Bangladesh is ranked 26th in the AT […]

Despite competition, MPT SIMs still have black market value

Incumbent telcos see competition as an unmitigated evil. But what happens is that competition energizes the market and creates new demand. If the incumbent is decently managed, it can catch some (and possibly most) of this demand. After all, it is the known brand. And competitors have their own problems in the start-up phase. Looks […]

Modi administration will implement BBN and get all the credit

In the design of India’s broadband initiative, it was said that one thing was non-negotiable: the work had to be done by state-owned enterprises. Knowledgeable people advised the government that this would slow down implementation. And so it happened. Now the new Minister is hiring 10 CIOs to push implementation (including much of the eco […]

Large-screen smartphone sales projections indicate mobile data growth will continue, if not increase

This is not immediately relevant to our market segment, but it will become so over time. This has the potential to displace laptops and small smartphones. The economies of scale will kick in, and prices will come down. And a key element in the Internet eco system will be put in place. According to a […]

Extending a chameleon concept/rule to mobile networks

Net neutrality sticks in one’s mind. Alliteration helps. The guy who cooked up the term ran for Lieutenant Governor nomination in New York and lost, but not too badly. Guess that helps explain its inherent openness to multiple meaning imposition. Net neutrality has an extraordinary range of meanings, not all consistent with each other. Just […]

Questions that help us understand strengths and weaknesses of Systematic Reviews

This year’s CPRsouth focused on systematic reviews. Completed and in-process studies were presented and a whole day of the Young Scholars’ Program was devoted to the topic. On the last day, I was tasked with moderating a panel of those who had worked on SRs. One reason we did this was to ensure that the […]

Are social media breaking the monopoly MSM had on defining what was important in the world?

In a fascinating piece of writing that seamlessly moves between the “real” world of the news and the “real” world of television drama, Maureen Dowd picks up and expands upon, a stray comment from President Obama: The murderous melee that ensues is redolent of President Obama’s provocative remark at a Democratic Party fund-raiser in New […]

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