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

Author Archives: Rohan Samarajiva

Does telecom use not “directly help people” in Myanmar?

Imposing an additional tax on a specific good or service results in the reduction of its use. Generally, this is recommended for demerit goods such as alcohol and tobacco. In Myanmar, the government appears to believe telecom is a demerit good, collecting a five percent tax from all telecom bills since April 2016. The President […]

Telecom is biggest attractor of FDI in Myanmar

There was a time when oil and gas attracted the most FDI in Myanmar. This is FDI that results in greater exports by enabling the unlocking of the resources under the ground and the waters of Myanmar. One can debate how much of the risk is borne by whom and whether the returns are proportional […]

More media play for demand-side study in India’s BharatNet pilot areas

It’s been a while since LIRNEasia research has been featured in Indian newspapers. We’re making up for that: “70% of the institutional players such as schools, banks and health centers in rural India are not aware of government’s BharatNet initiative,” IIT Delhi professor and co-author P Vigneswara Ilavarasan of a survey by a think-tank LIRNEasia, […]

CPRsouth & India Broadband course alumna makes substantive contribution to Indian broadband policy debate

The purpose behind our work in CPRsouth and the broadband policy courses we have been offering in the South Asian region is catalysis. We speed up or initiate. The participants in the courses do the heavy lifting. Here is evidence it’s working. Preeti Mudliar has published a report on the Indian NOFN/BharatNet: This study visits […]

LIRNEasia research contributes to improving Indian policy measures to connect rural areas

Just a few days before we presented our research to senior policy makers at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Indian Express carried a story highlighting some shortcomings in the implementation of BharatNet. This was possibly linked to a parliamentary question that had been posed around then. Now in a follow up piece, […]

4th Indian broadband policy & regulation course ends at IIT Delhi

This was the fourth (or fifth if one broadens the definition) broadband course we had taught in India. But there was something different about this course. Possibly it was because NOFN/BharatNet was becoming real on the ground. But it was not yet real in terms of connecting people as indicated by the report below. Out […]

SEA-ME-WE 5 construction completed

This is a big deal. For all countries, but especially for Bangladesh and Myanmar which were hitherto dependent on a single undersea cable and few terrestrial links. Of course, construction being completed does not mean that the data is flowing at all points. That will hopefully happen quickly in all countries. If you read the […]

Myanmar’s fourth license before year-end?

I wrote earlier about the importance of timing when companies enter new markets. One hopes that this timetable will be adhered to in this fast maturing market. U Zaw Min Oo, a director of Myanmar Technologies and Investment Corporation – one of the 11 local firms – told The Myanmar Times this week that he […]

First coverage for 2016 Myanmar teleuse study

Helani Galpaya, along with MIDO’s research team, released in Yangon the results of the second teleuse survey conducted in Myanmar earlier in 2016. The first coverage: People would only enjoy the fruits of digital development when the country overcame difficulties in promoting digital literacy skills, the survey said. According to the survey, 78 per cent […]

Demonetization cuts Indian handset sales

Replacing a phone can be postponed. Getting a new connection? That too can be postponed. It appears these things are being done. I guess we can expect a surge in purchases once the new notes are available. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘demonetisation’ strategy to remove the high-value INR500 and INR1000 (

Kick-starting the mobile payments revolution in India

It is a lot of pain, but it seems the demonetization is going to make India a leader in m-financial services. Across the country, about 70,000 merchants a day are signing up for India’s best-selling mobile payments platform, Paytm, about 14 times as many as the daily average before the currency decision, said Vijay Shekhar […]

Good bye to 2G in Singapore

When I was looking for countries with smartphone penetration higher than Myanmar (78%), and of course there was Singapore. So with more than 80% smartphone penetration and the 2G networks about to be shut down and spectrum reallocated, it’s no wonder sales of 2G-only phones are being discontinued. Wonder who will be next? Singapore’s mobile […]

MSME research tabled in Sri Lanka Parliament

It has been reported that Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, asked during a short intervention during the Budget debate that the excessive taxes imposed on data services be reversed. It is reported that the summary of the LIRNEasia systematic review on ICT use by MSMEs has also been tabled in Parliament. We […]

Big data for development panel and an audience of Sri Lankan academics

The Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS) is the primary “learned society” for Sri Lankan academics. It’s a rather staid outfit where I think you need multiple nominees to support your application to join and they reject papers if they’re not in the correct font (I may be exaggerating a little because […]

Learnings from research on online freelancing disseminated on both sides of the world

Helani Galpaya with Vint Cerf

It’s just over two days since we presented the findings of the online freelancing work to the media, government and the private sector in Colombo. And on the other side of the world, in Guadalajara, Mexico, Helani Galpaya reports: One of my 3 panels today at the UN IGF in Mexico. This one on “The […]

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