The first post on big data on this website was in September 2011. By 2012, we were working on the topic with mobile network big data in hand. Six years ago, we were alone in the field. The meetings we had in multiple countries with multiple operators did not yield the additional data we desired. But we can be happy that our efforts such as an early dissemination effort at ITU Telecom World may have contributed to a more enlightened attitude that made possible the effort described below: The GSMA has announced that more operators have joined its “Big Data for Social Good” initiative and that the first wave of trials have been conducted by Bharti Airtel, Telefonica and Telenor.
Finland is often cited as a miracle of education. Its telecommunication regulation is equally impressive. In 2011, the Finnish consulting Rewheel has predicted that the country’s mobile operators would grow data traffic without increasing investments. It has been proven right, as shown in the chart. Data traffic in Elisa’s Finnish 4G/LTE network has grown by more than 20-times between 2011 and 2017.
We thought that long distance carriers would be the primary beneficiaries of Asia Pacific Information Superhighway (AP-IS). That was way back in 2010 and six years is long enough to radically transform telecoms in this century. Now the Internet companies and content providers are outperforming the baffled carriers in every front. That is what I presented in the 2nd Working Group Meeting of AP-IS at Guangzhou early this week. Image source.
A box in 2015-16 Affordability Report of the Alliance for Affordable Internet includes a box on gender which begins thus: By March 2015, just over a year after liberalising their ICT sector, 40% of Myanmar’s population between the ages of 15-65 owned a mobile phone. Yet, women were 29% less likely to own a mobile phone than men. To understand the reasons for this gender gap in mobile phone ownership, GSMA and LIRNEasia conducted a qualitative study among 91 men and women in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, and Pantanaw, a small town in the southwestern part of the country. The research showed that women in Myanmar play a prominent role in the management of household finances — even if they do not earn anything themselves — and are frequently involved in the financial decision to purchase a mobile phone for the family. Yet women’s access to this family mobile phone is often limited because the phone tends to travel outside the home, with the person who is deemed to need it the most.
“Either we disrupt or we get disrupted,” warned Cisco’s outgoing CEO John Chambers in his last speech to the industry last year. He also said that 40% of companies will be dead in 10 years. “If I’m not making you sweat, I should be,” Chambers quipped. He was referring to the rising tide of innovation that breaches the dyke of comfort zone where conventional verticals reside. Less than a year after Chambers’ keynote, GSMA has reported how the mobile industry has failed to secure a sizable share from $3.
The Myanmar government is rushing to inject competition to the nascent mobile industry by inviting bids for the fourth license yesterday (July 27, 2015), said Reuters. Local firms, with registered capital of minimum US$2.37 million, may form foreign partnership and submit their proposal by August 24 (that’s less than a month). Under the state-owned monopoly, Myanmar’s mobile penetration was just 2.5% in 2011.
Discussions on net neutrality usually generate more heat than light. Based on her star turn at IGF 2014 in Istanbul where she sought to bring data from the trenches to the soaring abstractions that characterise the debate, LIRNEasia CEO has been invited to speak at a high-profile panel in Barcelona. The panel description.
The GSMA Asia team had come to Colombo for their annual staff retreat. Amid all the team building activities, they also thought they should replenish the knowledge conduits and asked LIRNEasia to put together a few sessions. Many ideas were presented, but I thought it surprising that a collective organization of users of international backhaul capacity had paid so little attention to the sad state of international wholesale markets in the region: IP transit prices way above what were being offered in Europe and North America, excessive reliance on submarine cables that were vulnerable because of the chokepoints of the Suez, the Malacca Strait and the Taiwan Strait. Improving the international connectivity of the region by promoting the building of open-access terrestrial cables to supplement the existing submarine cables is now a priority of UN ESCAP. We’ve been working with them on this since 2010.
Nine mobile operators have agreed to accelerate the implementation of interoperable mobile money services across MEA regions. Bharti Airtel, Etisalat, Millicom, MTN, Ooredoo, Orange, STC, Vodafone and Zain will implement the GSMA’s Mobile Money Interoperability (MMI) program. These operators represent 582 million mobile connections across 48 countries in the Middle East and Africa regions. As of December 2013, mobile money in this region showed following growth: The regions accounted for 58% of the world’s 218 mobile money deployments; Sixty-six percent of all registered accounts and 73% of active accounts are located in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa; Mobile money users in these regions accounted for 77% of global transaction value in June 2013, performing 341 million transactions totaling US$5.7 billion.
Prepaid has diminished the appeal of Mobile Number Portability (MNP). A recent study of GSMA suggests that merely 25% of developing markets have introduced MNP, while only a further 15% are known to be implementing it in the future. It means about 60% of regulators in the developing world have either decided against introducing MNP, or have made no progress to date. Sri Lanka Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (SLTRC) has found no value in MNP. The director-general of SLTRC, Anusha Palpita, told local media: ‘The main beneficiary of [MNP] and those demanding it [would be] post-paid mobile subscribers.
These were framing comments I made at the Panel discussion on “Regulatory challenges arising from the new mobile ecosystem,” GSMA Public Policy Forum at the Mobile Asia Expo 2013, Shanghai, 27 June 2013. The keywords are ecosystem and regulatory. It is widely recognized that the emerging Internet-centric communication system is far more complex than the old voice-centric one and that many more actors are involved, beyond the telecom operators, their vendors, regulators and policy makers. In particular, content and applications providers play an increasingly important role. Unfortunately, they are not represented on this panel, a shortcoming that I hope will be remedied in future episodes of what has to be a continuing conversation.
Universal access was discussed in “Networking Revolution: Opportunities and Challenges for Developing Countries” of the World Bank in June 2000 as follows: In low-income countries, however, the focus should be on providing public access to services. The only realistic objective in the short term is therefore to achieve “universal access”, whereby everyone would be able to access a public booth in every town, village or vicinity or within “reasonable” distance. What “reasonable” distance actually means, what services are to be provided at every public booth (telephone, e-mail, real-time Internet), and which of these services are appropriate at what level in the hierarchy of towns and villages, will very much vary from one country to another, depending on potential demand and ability to pay for these services. The scale at present runs from access to 2 Mbps high-speed Internet lines for every home in Korea to a telephone within (distant) walking distance in some African countries. That was 13 years ago.
On 27th of February, I will be moderating a panel discussion following key notes by Chairman BTRC Sunil Kanti Bose and Minister of ICT Indonesia Titaful Sembiring. Should prove intersting. Asia Pacific Regional Summit 2013 Leveraging the New Mobile Horizon – Connecting Asia through Mobile 09:00 – 12:30, Wednesday 27 February 2013, Auditorium 1, Hall 8.0, Fira Gran Via, Barcelona 09:00 – 09:05 WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION Irene Ng, Head of Asia, GSMA SESSION 1: DEVELOPING ASIA PACIFIC 09:05 – 09:45 KEYNOTES Preparing for a new age of connectivity in Bangladesh Sunil Kanti Bose, Chairman, BTRC Driving innovation in ICT throughout Indonesia to support the country’s economic growth H.E.
GSMA Mobile World Congress has become the preeminent international event in telecom. A Government Mobile Forum is held as part of it. I have been asked to moderate two sessions, the first being described below. It will be held on the morning of 26th February in Barcelona. I look forward to it.
Making affordable communication devices for the BOP is not a high school project. It requires strong backing from every stakeholder of the industry. GSMA’s Emerging Market Handsets (EMH) was intended to make the mobile handsets at or below $30 level. Motorola won the GSMA’s deal. My study on Stolen Handsets has captured the semiconductor industry’s involvement in scaling down the handset prices.
It is estimated that the world’s population went past the seven billion mark in 2011. Why do I use this cautious language? Sri Lanka just conducted a census and is looking for some half a million people that are short of the previous projections. So estimate we must. GSMA’s Mobile and Development Intelligence website estimates that the number of mobile SIMs went past the five billion mark, at end of 2011.