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

Author Archives:
Rohan Samarajiva

Ooredoo Myanmar’s data success story

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I wish standard metrics would be used when CEOs talk about data use so that we can be sure that Telenor’s 52 percent is comparable to Ooredoo’s 86 percent. But anyway, it’s good to see Ooredoo’s emphasis on data is paying off: “We are thrilled that 86 per cent of our customers currently use our […]

How will the push to include companies selling attention on the Internet within the scope of national taxation play out?

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It was in 2009 that LIRNEasia first engaged systematically with the interaction of taxation and ICT promotional policies. This was when working on an assignment for the OECD. We had of course engaged with mobile-only taxation in Sri Lanka and in Bangladesh. But the issues were simple back then. No discriminatory taxes that treated mobile […]

Greatest surprise in Myanmar telecom

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We’ve been talking about the high level of data use in Myanmar. We were surprised. The Telenor Myanmar CEO has been surprised too. “The thing that surprised us most [was] the data – 52pc monthly data users is very high [in a] country with this type of GDP, so it’s promising in terms of what […]

Who is telling the truth about the electricity crisis?

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That was the title of the two-hour TV talk show at ITN that I participated in yesterday. One does not expect new knowledge to emerge from a talk show, but this one was an exception. Illuminating information was disclosed by the Additional General Manager of the Ceylon Electricity Board in response to some statements I made. […]

Why does the government have to do everything?

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I am sitting here at a World Bank consultation on setting priorities for Bank lending in 2017-22. I was shocked by some of the comments, an example being: why isn’t there government-provided training for BPM? It seems that people are still stuck in government-centric thinking. What is the track record of government in providing training […]

Access other than by phones to Facebook is negligible in Cambodia

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Mobile network operators know how many smartphones are active on their networks. But this information is not made public. One has to wait for the infrequent sample survey to find out, like below. According to a 2015 report by the Asia Foundation, an astounding 80 per cent of Cambodians access Facebook exclusively through phones, with […]

Consolidation in the air, also in Afghanistan

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It is not only in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka that there are moves to consolidate mobile markets. Afghanistan has joined the conversation. But the reasons are different and saddening. It seems that high-value customers are leaving the country. And the part about people not being able to charge their smartphones because the Taliban blew […]

Helping Chamber of Construction Industry Sri Lanka grapple with services trade

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Ignorance of the basic issues of services trade has created a fertile breeding ground for paranoids, xenophobes and protectionists. Some organizations, sadly, appear to foster ignorance, possibly because they want to foster paranoia. Others want to learn. In the latter category is the Chamber of Construction Industry. Here are the slides I plan to use […]

Pros and cons of scraping the web to measure inflation

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The Economist carries an account of a new way of measuring inflation based on big data. Not applicable to our countries yet. But a watching brief is justified. The new index completely misses changes in offline prices and spending on things like petrol and rent. It will not replace the CPI any time soon. It […]

Network shutdowns in the news again

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This time it’s on account of elections in Congo. For an overview of the phenomenon, see CDT’s map and timeline. We first wrote about this problem in 2006. Then it was worked up into Gyanendra’s Law and its various exceptions. Image source

Prescribing cures for ailing BSNL: Too late?

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BSNL is on life support courtesy of the Indian taxpayer, whatever fictitious paper profits it conjures up. The authors of a recent op ed in Hindu Businessline see through the fiction. The government firms had their own share of sops such as (i) year-ahead early start in the assignment of both 3G and Broadband Wireless […]

How to avoid the recurrence of an electricity crisis

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The nationwide unplanned outage last Sunday has obviously got everyone upset. While some are trying to make political capital out of it, the responsible thing to do is to understand the causes and act to avoid a recurrence. This appeared to be the objective of the reporter who interviewed me last week for this article. […]

Writing workshop for special issue on systematic reviews

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LIRNEasia was early in getting into systematic reviews. We have faced considerable challenges when communicating the findings. We are working on pulling together what we learned in the process for a special issue of Information Technology and International Development here at a nice, quiet hotel in Galle.

Thoughts on how data on the tourist industry can be improved

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We are aware that the UN has identified tourism data as priority area in terms of exploring the potential of big data to contribute to the work of national statistical organizations (NSOs). However, this was not something we took on, given our programmatic priorities which are urban development, improved socio-economic monitoring and epidemiology. When we […]

Economic impacts of planned and unplanned outages

In our teaching-focused comparative work on electricity, we found there was a fundamental difference in the way the problem of costs was approached in Sri Lanka and on the sub-continent. In Sri Lanka, the focus was on the costs of NOT having power. In India, the focus was still on the costs of inputs, per […]

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