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Tag Archives: Pakistan

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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.” […]

Punjab charging ahead with m-Governance

Last weekend, talking about policy and regulatory issues will drive Pakistan’s adoption of broadband.  My co-panellists were Faisal Sattar (CEO of Pakistan’s Universal Service Fund), Salman Ansari (former advisor to the Ministry of IT & Telecom in Pakistan) and Kojo Boakye (Policy Manager at the Web Foundation). I was at Pakistan ICTD Workshop organized by newly […]

Pak Supreme Court questions $705m USF siphoning

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has demanded a legal and constitutional explanation from the Attorney General (AG) for withdrawing around PKR70 billion (US$705 million) from the universal service fund (USF). The USF comes from all mobile operators’ 1.5% of gross revenue. This entire fund is intended to be used to finance the expansion of telecoms services to underserved […]

Anti universal service in Pakistan?

We have been working with the Pakistan Telecom Authority, the Pakistan Universal Service Fund and operators to achieve universal service in that country. Universal service means a phone for everyone. But according to this report there are people in Pakistan who will kill barbarically to prevent this goal from being achieved. A young mother of […]

ICTs to improve monsoon hazard monitoring in S Asia

The widespread casualties caused this year by fast moving weather systems in Uttarakhand and in Pakistan have caused experts to call for real-time data sharing among the region’s meteorological departments. This seems to call for increased reliance on ICTs. The monsoon has been erratic in recent years. Last year, the monsoon failed in Sri Lanka, […]

Pakistan Universal Service Fund robbed?

I’ve had a running argument with my friends M. Aslam Hayat (one of the creators of the Fund) and Parvez Iftikhar (first CEO of the Fund) about whether it’s possible to have an effective, efficient universal service fund. My position has been that that such a thing can function for a few years, if well […]

Leveraging ubiquity of mobiles to improve government services

Last year, I wrote about how the ubiquity of mobiles had helped a Bangladeshi doctor improve vaccination rates and win a Gates Foundation Prize. Here is another story about how the ubiquity of mobiles is helping improve government service delivery in Lahore, Pakistan. Even among the poorest fifth of households, 80% now use phones, so […]

FCC punished Pakistan. Is Bangladesh next?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has asked US carriers not to pay more than US$0.02 per minute to their Pakistani counterparts. This decree has been slapped after Pakistan has raised its international termination rate to $0.88 per minute, which the FCC calls anti-competitive. Pakistan’s 14 Long Distance and International (LDI) operators have formed a single […]

ITU’s ICT Development Index: What is not trite?

There is so much wrong with the IDI. It gives a higher ICT development rank to Cuba (106) and Zimbabwe (115) well ahead of India (119). I ridiculed the predecessor of the IDI in the past, but they keep churning it out unfazed and people keep paying attention, which then causes me to pay attention […]

What to do about unregistered SIMs?

We have consistently argued that human beings must be associated with, and be accountable for, SIMs. The imperatives of the Budget Telecom Network Model cause companies (or more, the thousands of resellers who actually interact with customers) to give away SIMs without too many controls. Therefore, one must be judicious in enforcing the rules. We […]

Paper on perverse incentives created by the Bangladesh ILDTS policy

The paper was presented at the ITS India conference early this year. Somehow, we neglected to do a post about it. But, better late than never. Here it is. A subsequent revision of the ILDTS in late 2009 failed to address the concerns raised in this paper. Instead the focus of the revision was mainly […]

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