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

Category Archives: General

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Variations on the theme of evidence-based policy and politics

Few days back, I was on a panel discussing the past two years record of the government and what we’d like to see in the coming three years. I talked about the President’s interest in focusing everyone’s attention on the Sustainable Development Goals and the expert committee that has been appointed to advise the government […]

Challenges of implementing e payments in a country where 350m people still have no phones

Nandan Nilekani of Infosys and Aadhaar fame has been brought in to help the government of India accelerate the transition to e financial services in the aftermath of demonetization. 350 million with no phones and 350 million with feature phones is just the first problem. What happens when there is no signal, like in Chennai […]

Job security and income stability are main concerns of online freelancers

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“Online freelancers are not given loans from local banks. The first question the officers ask us is whether EPF/ ETF is deducted from our salary. This is how they understand whether we have a stable job or not. They refuse to issue us loans because we don’t have a stable job. This is not the […]

Evidence on excessive taxes on Internet being counterproductive

Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva refers to evidence showing Internet taxes are counterproductive and says current excessive taxes are temporary. Video of interview.

Does LIRNEasia have core values? Should it?

Bill Easterly’s latest piece in Foreign Policy argues that the Trump victory is essentially a defeat of technocrats who do not have, or cannot defend, fundamental social values. Made me ask whether we too have, over time, become value-neutral technocrats. I had written on values in telecom policy many years ago (Samarajiva & Shields, 1990). […]

ICT use in Myanmar 2016 survey results presented to Deputy Minister

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On the 19th of December, LIRNEasia CEO Helani Galpaya and the MIDO co-founders (Phyu Phyu Thi, Htaike Htaike Aung and Wai Myo Htut) met with the the Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications, U Kyaw Myo to present the results of the 2016 nationally representative survey of ICT use in Myanmar.  U Sai Saw Lin […]

2017 Greetings

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Learning from the experience of social entrepreneurs in education

The 2017 Budget presented by the Minister of Finance of the Government of Sri Lanka proposed provision of “free Tabs for almost 175,000 students who enter the Advanced Level (AL) classes and around 28,000 A/L teachers from 2017.” LKR 5,000 million was allocated for this purpose. Given the fact that LIRNEasia had just completed a […]

A new kind of MVNO being pioneered by Google may transform mobile broadband experience

In the first iteration, the benefits of MVNOs were marginal. Different brand, perhaps better customer service . . But it appears Google is offering a new model where your handset would jump to the best available signal. Google purchases capacity on multiple networks making this possible. Instead of signing up with a single carrier, you’d […]

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 […]

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 […]

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