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Rohan Samarajiva

Suggestion for the ITU as it heads into its 150th year: Refocus

I was asked to participate in panel that posited a series of questionable propositions as its starting point. “Regulation was becoming less relevant; ITU had done a good job building regulatory capacity; now it needed to find new things to do” is a rough paraphrase. We have now fully emerged from an environment where service […]

ITU Telecom World highlights big data for development session

An unexpectedly detailed description of our big data session was included in the Day 3 highlights: Big data is usually in the headlines for the wrong reasons – surveillance, exploitation of personal data for commercial or governmental ends, intrusion of privacy – but can also serve a valid and immensely exciting social purpose for development. […]

Beyond the battle of imaginations: Pragmatic and fact-based approach to big data at ITU Telecom World 2014

Much of what is discussed as “big data” does not include the poor, because smartphone penetration is still low, social media are not used by all classes and datafied records are rare in developing countries. Therefore, the session focused on research that has been/is being done on pseudonymized mobile network big data in developing countries. […]

ITU: From regulation to . . . ?

So I have been invited to participate in the panel moderated by Tim Unwin that is described below. I did not use the session title, “balancing participation and facilitation” because that does not seem to correctly reflect the language in the descriptive paragraph below. We have now fully emerged from an environment where service and […]

Can we afford to let mobile network big data lie fallow?

As I move from several productive conversations about big data for development in London to Doha where we will be exploring the potential of mobile network big data in the context of three presentations on research insights that have been drawn from big data, the question that preoccupies me is whether we can afford to […]

ITU Telecom World discusses what it will take to lower international backhaul prices

In a packed session chaired by LIRNEasia’s Abu Saeed Khan, the next steps in improving international backhaul will be discussed. Affordable International Backhaul Monday, December 08, 2014, 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM, Hospitality Lounge 7 Many countries around the world lack affordable backhaul and cross-border networks that enable local networks to connect to the wider […]

Big data for development discussed at ITU Telecom World

Following the plenary in 2013 at which Viktor Mayer-Schonberger introduced big data to ITU Telecom World attendees, there will be a panel discussion at the 2014 edition in Doha, Qatar. What is novel is that we will have three presentations by those who have actually got their hands dirty with big data, including Linus Bengtsson […]

ICT in agriculture. The future is here. It’s just unevenly distributed.

In 2010 I wrote a piece of science fiction. It was published in an academic book, so it came out in 2013 as “e South Asia: A social science fiction,” in South Asia in 2060: Envisioning regional futures, eds. Najam, A. & Yusuf, M., chapter 26. London: Anthem. This is what I said about agriculture […]

Myanmar backhaul constraints must be addressed: Marketing and access networks not enough

As we always say, think of the Internet as a chain. A chain is as strong as the weakest link. This imperfectly researched article by a Yangon based journalist (has missed the AAE-1 Cable completely) claims that backhaul problems may be responsible for the poor Internet performance of Ooredoo. For Telenor and Ooredoo to be […]

Why the Silk Road initiatives must include a focus on enhancing terrestrial and undersea international backhaul capacity

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in one of the first discussions on the maritime Silk Road being promoted by President Xi Jinping. I wrote up the two points I made in my five minutes. The second point described in the excerpt below suggests that governments and operators get behind the UN ESCAP […]

SIMs/100 in Myanmar

The way mobile connectivity is growing in Myanmar, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology should be updating the connectivity numbers every week. But given all the other priorities such as deciding who gets the fourth license, indicators are not easy to come by. According to the Irrawaddy Magazine, the country had 11.6 million active […]

Limits of mobile telephony

Nothing better illustrates what we have always said about ICT’s role in development than this tragic story from Sierra Leone: But none of it was reaching Isatu Sesay, a sick teenager. She flipped on her left side, then her right, writhing on a foam mattress, moaning, grimacing, mumbling and squinching her eyes in agony as […]

RIA research on two-sided markets published in Telecom Policy

Christoph Stork and Alison Gillwald have been engaged with the real-world problem of high mobile termination rates in Southern Africa for several years. Perhaps the earliest intervention was with the Namibian Communication Commission in 2009. Then there were repeated engagements in South Africa. We know, from our experience, that policy engagement does not leave a […]

Daily Star is first to report IDI Asia rankings

Bangladesh has not done too well in the IDI rankings, but a Bangladesh newspaper has been fast off the mark. On a global ranking of ICT usage, Bangladesh falls at 145 among a total of 166 countries, according to the latest report published by the International Telecommunication Union today. In Measuring the Information Society (MIS) […]

Thailand is only SE Asia winner in IDI stakes

We deal with a a subset of ASEAN countries, the most prosperous among them being Thailand. So I looked at the performance of the not-so-rich ASEAN in the ICT Development Index. Thailand has advanced from 91st place in 2012 to 81st in 2013. Very significant. Then comes Viet Nam (101; down two places from 2012), […]

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