New Delhi


This has been the week of IT and ITES (or queries related to them). A local weekly asked me about the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living survey, where Colombo had come in the lowest 20, but above Indian cities and Dhaka. According to EIU, the survey is for ‘human resources line managers and expatriate executives to compare the cost of living in 140 cities in 93 countries and calculate fair compensation policies for relocating employees.’ Companies can then apply this index to an executive’s spendable income to reach a fair cost of living allowance. The purpose of a cost of living allowance is to reimburse employees for excess living costs resulting from a foreign assignment.
LIRNEasia Senior Research Manager, Ayesha Zainudeen, was recently invited by Sesame Workshop India to give a special address at an action forum entitled, “M for Mobile: Exploring Technology for Social Development in India”, in New Delhi, India. It was organized with support from the Ford Foundation. The two-and-a-half day workshop brought together experts from mobile manufacturers, research, digital technology, service providers, donors, non-profit organizations, and policymakers to brainstorm on how mobiles could be effectively used for improving social development in India. Click here to view her presentation. The conference agenda can be viewed here.
LIRNEasia’s preliminary round of mobile broadband quality testing in selected locations in Western Province unveils both hopes and issues. The good news is that the quality of both key pre-paid mobile broadband services is satisfactory, in majority of locations. However, unusual quality drops in several places indicates that this performance is not always a certainty. In general, a mobile broadband user in Western Province can expect a reasonable quality unless a rare issue like the distance from a tower or a higher number of simultaneous users hinders it. LIRNEasia tested the broadband quality of the popular pre-paid High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) broadband connections of the two key providers.
Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, CEO of LIRNEasia, made a presentation entitled, “Equitable communication for all:  South Asia’s contribution“, at the recently concluded ITU-APT Foundation of India Annual Convention on “Equitable Communication for All” held on 22 March 2010 in New Delhi, India. The presentation used  findings on LIRNEasia’s Teleuse@BOP study on rising mobile ownership levels as proof of success of South Asia’s Budget Telecom Network Model, followed by telecos in profitably catering to BOP markets. The presentation goes on to examine how a similar model can be applied to provision of Internet services as well. View the full presentation here.
Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, CEO of LIRNEasia, was invited to speak a the 18th Convergence India, held from 23 – 25 March 2010 in New Delhi, India. His presentation entitled, “South Asia: Challenges of the Budget Telecom Network Model” presents data on rising mobile ownership levels from the Teleuse@BOP3 study, as evidence of success of South Asia’s Budget Telecom Network Model which has allowed South Asian telcos since 2005‐06 to make excellent (if highly volatile) returns by serving “long‐tail” markets of poor people by for example, investing in the “prepaid” market (lowering transaction costs) and focusing on revenue-yielding minutes rather than ARPUs. A full webcast of the event can be viewed here. View the full presentation here.
The title is bold, we agree, but it is true. The FCC is asking broadband and smartphone users in USA to use their broadband testing tools to help the feds and consumers know what speeds are actually available, not just promised by the nations’ telecoms, reports wired.com. Starting yesterday (March 11), netizens can go to the FCC’s Broadband.gov site, enter their address and test their broadband speed using one of two testing tools.
Rohan Samarajiva, will deliver one of two invited lead talks at ICTs and Development: An International Workshop for Theory, Practice and Policy, to be held in New Delhi, India, 11 – 12 March 2010. Titled, “How the developing world may participate in the global “Internet Economy”, his presentation examines the potential mobile telephony has in enabling low-income earners first-time access to the Internet. He argues that a teleco business  model similar to the Budget Telecom Network Model arguably responsible for dramatic reductions in mobile tariffs, could be similarly applied to the case of mobile internet. View the full presentation here. Other notable speakers at the event include Dr.
We now have evidence to support the claim that those at the “Bottom of the Pyramid” (and therefore, the majority of people in the developing world) are likely to enter the world of knowledge and convenience promised by the Internet through the path opened by the rapidly increasing capabilities of mobile networks and user devices. Mobile 2.0 describes the use of mobiles for “more‐than‐voice”. Mobiles are increasingly becoming payment devices which can also send/process/receive voice, text and images; it is envisaged that in the next few years, they will also be fully capable of information‐retrieval and publishing functions, normally associated with the Internet. Mobile 2.
The Second India Disaster Management Congress (IDMC 2009) took place from 4-6 November at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. It was organized by the National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) to assemble, synthesize and further disseminate knowledge on disaster management in diverse sectors. Natasha Udu-gama, former HazInfo Dissemination Manager and Researcher, presented “Implementing Inclusive ICTs: Mobile Cell Broadcasting for Public Warning and Commercial Use” based on the LIRNEasia study in the Maldives” completed in May 2009. Her presentation was made during the Early Warning and Disaster Communications session on Friday, 6 November. The session was chaired by Mr.
LIRNEasia responded to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s (BTRC) Consultation Paper ‘Standardization of Quality of Service Parameters for Broadband Internet Services’ based on the broadband research and testing done in Dhaka, New Delhi, Chennai and Colombo. We said (a) broadband is above 256 kbps, not 128 kbps; (b) minimum bandwidth requirements should be valid beyond the ISP domain; (c) operators should maintain predetermined contention ratios; (d) bandwidth ultilisation should be above 75% on average; (e) latency < 85 ms for local and <300 ms for international and (f) user surveys are important but should be supplemented by user testing which gives a more objective measure. LIRNEasia also offered assistance if BTRC plans user testing. Downloads: Consultation Paper and LIRNEasia’s Response.
Payal Malik, Senior Research Fellow, will speak on universal service policies based on LIRNEasia research to the participants of the 3rd Annual Connecting Rural Communities Asia Forum to be held from 23-25 June 2009 in New Delhi, India. The event is expected to attract stakeholders, policy makers and executives from across the ICT sector with the shared goal of shaping future of rural connectivity. The organizers hope to be discuss: How can governments best support the creation of self-sustaining rural connectivity initiatives that benefit local people? Step-by-step practical guidance on overcoming the most pressing technical challenges Developing a world-class telecentre rural development programme Progress on delivering the promise of the United Services Obligation Fund Realising the benefits of greater rural connectivity though the delivery of E-services Mapping the future need for connectivity: Identifying choke points in the delivery network Training and empowering rural populations to make full use of the potential inherent in greater connectivity More information is available on the official website: http://www.events.
The results of the 2008 TRE research were presented at a well attended event in New Delhi on 6 March 2009. The picture above shows Mr R.N. Prabhakar, Member of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India responding to points raised in the discussion. In the background are members of the panel, including LIRNEasia Chair and CEO Rohan Samarajiva.
In the third round, LIRNEasia has extended the testing to one more location. With that we have tested two packages in New Delhi (MTNL and AirTel), two in Chennai (BSNL and AirTel), five in Colombo (SLT ADSL, Dialog WiMax, Dialog 3G, Dialog 3G Unlimited and Mobitel Zoom 890) and two in Dhaka (SKYbd and Sirius). A strenuous task for five teams, no doubt, who took readings at different times staring from 8 am and went up to 11.00 pm (some had to spend nights at offices) but results are worth the effort. What did we learn?
Recessions are not bad for everybody. Proverbial silver line in the cloud, they bring hope to some. Success of the India BPO industry can partially be attributed to the post 9/11 recession. Tighter the economy, cheaper the solutions business looks for. How far onshore rural BPOs cater to the needs of their clients?
Leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel will launch operations in Sri Lanka in December, a top official announced on Monday. “We will roll out the services next month as all formalities are done and issues relating to inter-connectivity have been sorted out,” Bharti Enterprises vice-chairman and managing director Rajan Mittal told reporters in New Delhi. The telecom giant had been facing problems of inter-connection, with local carriers not willing to give inter-connections to the company. Source: Hindustan Times, Nov 04
New Delhi: The Indian government is set to begin here Monday the process to e-auction radio frequencies for telecom operators to start third-generation (3G) mobile services across the country and fetch the exchequer over Rs 40000 crore ($10 billion). The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will hold a pre-bid conference here with all the potential consultants – one of whom would oversee the process to e-auction spectrum for next generation mobile applications, officials said. Read the full story in ‘sify.com’ here.