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

Tag Archives: India

Mergers sweeping South Asia

First it was Bangladesh: Robi and Airtel. Then it was India: Reliance and Sistema plus maybe Aircel. Sri Lanka: SLT/Mobitel and Hutch. Now Pakistan: Mobilink and Warid. VimpelCom is looking to combine Pakistani unit Mobilink with local rival Warid Telecom, claiming the first merger in the country’s telecoms sector. The new entity will serve 45 […]

Should governments get into phone manufacturing?

I first heard about government entering the business of manufacturing phones when I was (futilely) advising the government of Bangladesh on formulating a national telecom policy. They had some bankrupt telecom equipment factories and I was asked what to do with them. I said, not much. Then my friends in India started to show me […]

Market consolidation in India, now it’s a threefer (or is it a fourfer?)

It was expected. So I ignored the news that RCom and Sistema were in merger talks. What got my attention was the Aircel angle. People have been talking about collaboration between the Ambani brothers (Jio and RCom). Now that get’s real interesting. I guess the Competition Authority is watching now. The main motivation for RCom […]

Finally, some research on Zero Rated offers and users. And it’s surprising.

The raging debate on Zero Rated content is, for the most part, taking place in a vacuum of evidence. A successful campaign by activists  ensured that many of the 1.2 million responses sent to TRAI’s proposed net neutrality regulations in April 2015 called for banning (Facebook’s Zero Rated offering, now called Free Basics).  The fear that the poor who use the free […]

Push back against the assault on zero rating

Manu Joseph hits back at the overheated rhetoric driving the opposition to zero rating. He also mentions the Quartz piece citing Helani’s report from the field in Indonesia. A lazy, neurotic suspicion of the large corporation is also behind the obtuse alarm over Free Basics. But the very strength of the parallel Internet for the […]

India relaxes rules on spectrum sharing

Spectrum is a scarce resource, made even more scarce by the difficulties governments have in refarming it. Efficient use of spectrum should be a high priority. It is obvious that allowing firms to use market mechanisms to use the resource more efficiently is a good thing. The question is why this is not done. One […]

Is the Indian telecom market consolidating?

The story in Live Mint starts with revenue shares. The Big Three (Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea) now have 70 percent of revenues. But what caught my eye was what was going on on the data side. Again the numbers can be used to illustrate this: As the uptake of data, the next growth driver […]

An instance of advice from independent think tanks saving a government a ton of grief

India has withdrawn a really stupid piece of legislation. But can you imagine what would have been the outcome if informed and articulate experts such as Pranesh Prakash of the Center for Internet and Society were not there to tell the government the dangers of following the advice of its house “experts”? Responding to a […]

Best use of a regional satellite is not for telecom but for digital broadcasting

Bangladesh keeps talking about launching a satellite. Sri Lanka threw some money at it, but backed off. Myanmar is talking. Now India wants to gift SAARC member countries with a satellite to be launched using ISRO’s innovative, low-cost launch capabilities. Something Keynes wrote about economics gave me the answer to the puzzle of why our […]

IAMAI reports that Indian Internet user growth, especially mobile Internet use, is picking up

A trade body is sure to know subscriber numbers. But how good is it on Internet users? May be they actually mean subscribers? India has added 52 million Internet users in first six months of the year, taking the total user base to 352 million as on June 30, 2015, industry body IAMAI said on […]

Kill switch becoming routine in India?

Last week I was told that the authorities/companies in Gujarat had succeeded in shutting down Internet without shutting down voice service. This was thought to be some kind of technical achievement. Now it’s on the other end of India. With the death of 1 more person, the death toll in Churachandpur district during the current […]

No fun drags on

We predicted this would happen if BSNL continued to be in the driver’s seat. In what could be another blow to the broadband dreams of millions, the deadline for rolling out national optical fiber network (NOFN) across all 2.5 lakh village panchayats has been extended by two years by 2018, according to sources close to […]

LIRNEasia publication on national broadband networks

In the context of some work we were doing with the support of Ford Foundation we conducted four case studies of national broadband initiatives. The four case studies were presented at the Expert Forum we convened in New Delhi in March 2014 and may have contributed to the rethinking of the becalmed NOFN project that […]

Questions about Digital India

I was reminded of Pramod Mahajan, a former Minister who died tragically. He was responsible for “unifying” the Ministry of Telecom and the Ministry of Electronics and IT. He also said Indian succeeded in IT and beauty only because the government was not involved. Echoes of Mahajan are heard in these reactions to Prime Minister […]

Beyond Data Center Park for Digital India

Indian government has endured stormy opposition when Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), its international telecoms arm, was privatized in early 2000. Since then, through merger and acquisition along with new build-outs, the Indian carriers – Tata, Reliance and Bharti – dominate the global connectivity business. Moreover, each submarine cable linking Asia with the Middle East, […]


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