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

Tag Archives: Pakistan

Myanmar overtakes Bangladesh and Pakistan in IDI ranking

We do not believe the ITU’s ICT Development Index is perfect, but we write about it every year. This year, the web interface has been jazzed up. But even more interesting is what has happened with Myanmar. In 2010, Myanmar ranked 150th in the world, and was second to last in the Asia Pacific. Bangladesh […]

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 […]

Out of the box: Disaster comms in a box from Pakistan

Pakistani researchers have developed a solar-powered portable mobile phone network that can be used when the regular mobile phone networks are down due to natural disasters. Dubbed as the Rescue Base Station (RBS) for Pakistan, the system has been jointly developed by a team from the Information Technology University (ITU) in Lahore and the University […]

Why, when the solution is staring one in the face, do governments continue to foster grey markets?

I was reading the 2014 Annual Report of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, where on page 37 the PTA reports that international calls being terminated on Pakistani mobile networks has decreased dramatically since 2011-12, from 10.8 billion minutes to 5.6 billion minutes in 2013-14. The PTA even says that “one view is that this is due […]

Abuse/non-use of Pakistan universal service funds

I did not know how bad things were in Pakistan until I read this essay by my friend Parvez Iftikhar, the greatest universal service fund evangelist there is. Coming to home, the level of utilization of USF funds in Pakistan, at this time, is actually worse. According to a careful estimate, since 2006 an equivalent […]

Illegal bypass contaminates telecom markets and beyond

The Government of Pakistan has ordered an expensive re-verification process of all mobile SIMs in the aftermath of the Peshawar Massacre. Aslam Hayat, a LIRNEasia alumnus now with Telenor Pakistan, has pointed out that the root cause is being ignored: However this does not mean that the system is foolproof, there is possibility that at […]

South Asia fails to make progress in ITU’s ICT Development Index

The 2014 Measuring the Information Society report is out. No surprises at the top: Denmark is now at 1 and Korea is now 2; just changed places from 2012 ranking. Significant movement from the Gulf countries: UAE goes from 46 to 23 and Qatar from 42 to 34. UAE is almost too difficult to believe. […]

LIRNEasia’s systematic review on impact of mobiles carried in Pakistan press

There were some implicit references in a recent article in the Bangladesh Daily Star, but this is the first coverage based entirely on the systematic review. Mobile coverage in rural areas makes markets more efficient by matching demand and supply across a larger geographical space, resulting in benefits to consumers as well as producers, says […]

4G in Pakistan

The rollout everyone is waiting for is from Reliance’s Jio Infocomm. The Ambanis tend to change the game. But in the meanwhile, Zong has beaten Warid to announce a seven-city rollout in Pakistan Dr. Fan said that Zong will inject 1 billion dollars in Pakistan over the span of three to four years. He said […]

More Facebook users than Internet users in South East Asia?

Internet & Facebook users, 2014

I have always been intrigued by the differences between South and South East Asian countries. We saw this over and over again when we did the Teleuse@BOP surveys. But playing around with some numbers for Facebook users in four South and four SE Asian countries, I was astounded. In all the SE Asian countries, there […]

Bangladesh to tax the mobile industry (again)

It started with the infamous “SIM tax” in 2005. Although mobile covers nearly 100% of population and geography, a highly ambiguous Social Obligation Fund (SOF) was created in 2010. Consequently the telecom regulator has been illegally amassing huge wealth since 2011. Now the tax authorities have decided to impose 1% surcharge on mobile usage to […]

Pakistan disbands international call termination cartel

Pakistan observes its independence day on 14th of August. On 13th of August in 2012, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom (MoITT) issued a directive to establish “International Clearing House” or ICH. It allowed the international long distance carriers’ cartel to fix call termination rates at their whim. As a result, the hardworking Pakistani […]

NRI: Bhutan arrives with a bang. Pakistan, Bangladesh slide back. Nepal advances

I was looking for overall indicators for the Bhutan ICT sector a few years back. The only index that included Bhutan then was the ICT Development Index, published by the ITU. So I am happy that WEF has included Bhutan in the NRI for the first time. And they have placed at 94, ahead of […]

What are the costs to Pakistan of not having wireless data networks?

One of the most interesting things that happened within government in Sri Lanka with regard to electricity policy was that they started asking a different question. Instead of asking only the question”how much does the proposed electricity generating option cost” they started asking the question “what are the costs to the economy of load shedding.” […]


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