Missed calling (also referred to as beeping, flashing and many other names) has been most talked about in Africa; Johnathan Donner has been talking and writing about it for some time now; his research provides interesting insights into what he calls the ‘rules’ of beeping. A recent Reuters article looks at the growing phenomenon in not only Africa but other regions too. LIRNEasia’s Teleuse@BOP survey findings also show that the phenomenon is considerably common among bottom of the pyramid (defined here as Socioeconomic Classification groups D & E) phone users in India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. But what’s more interesting, is that the phenomenon was seen as being used more or less to the same extent in the ‘middle and top of the pyramid’ (defined in the study as Socioeconomic Classification groups A, B & C). This held true for phone owners in all five countries studied – Pakistan, India (with some of the lowest per minute call rates in the world), Sri Lanka, Philippines and even Thailand (the country with the highest per capita GDP among the set of countries studied).
In the South Asian region, Pakistan has taken the lead in introducing mobile number portability. Who will be second? As the story below states, this takes some time and planning. LIRNEasia will shortly post a report on the MNP workshop conducted in Islamabad by the PTA last week. :: bdnews24.
The government of Pakistan seems set to issue three 3G licences by the end of this year, according to recent Reuters reports. Pakistan is one of a number of populous Asian nations whose hunger for more widely available communications services are proving to be a major growth engine for telecoms groups with global ambitions. However, it does remain to be seen if there exists a solid business case for investment in third generation networks in a region where the most basic prepaid voice and SMS services are stimulating economic activity by providing consumers and businesses with connectivity. This has not deterred the state-owned GSM operator in Nepal, one of the world’s poorest countries, from launching 3G services. The 3G SIM card reportedly costs about US$64.
LIRNEasia, Sarvodaya and the partners of the HazInfo project have been saying this and more importantly implementing this. Hope the message will be heard. Reuters AlertNet – News – Prevention spending must be doubled Governments, aid agencies and humanitarian actors must spend twice as much on disaster preparedness activities that could save millions of lives, the British Red Cross has urged.Almost two years on from the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami, risk reduction remains low on the international agenda despite encouraging progress in tsunami-affected regions themselves. “The tsunami highlights the importance of proactively preparing for disasters and this lesson must be learnt and risk reduction must become a high priority in all disaster-prone areas,” said David Peppiatt, British Red Cross head of policy.
There is an international report in a reputable medium (Reuters AlertNet) about a text messaging for disaster warning development in Sri Lanka. This is a request to whoever who is responsible for this project to give it publicity within the country, not limiting the publicity to foreign media. “Sri Lanka has also been trying to harness the mobile phone as a powerful warning device, and is working on a text message alert system to give people a crucial few minutes to seek safety if another tsunami hits.” The story that contains this claim is at Alertnet:
This article shows that government’s instinct to ban cellphones from conflict zones because of the belief that it will be used by militants/terrorists to further their cause, actually neutralizes one of the security agencies most potent weapons to track subversives. I doubt that the Sri Lankan government will allow cellular service to be available any time soon in the North. But at least it gives the security agencies some food for thought. The Indian government was similarly reluctant to have cellular service in Kashmir, but the Indian security agencies are their biggest proponents now. ———— Troops in Kashmir master new weapon: cell phones Reuters By Sheikh MushtaqSun May 21, 1:53 AM ET Minutes after a bomb exploded recently in Kashmir and wounded Indian soldiers, a senior member of an Islamist rebel group called local newspaper offices to claim responsibility for the blast.
“Bangladesh learned about the value of [early warning] in 1970 when a cyclone resulted in more than 300,000 deaths. The government and people subsequently put in place effective early warning and preparedness measures involving modern cyclone-forecasting systems and more than 5,000 people to get the message to the villages. When a cyclone of similar force struck in 1997, 200 people were killed, which brings up to mind a point I want to make. The interesting thing to me is what Bangladesh did to marry old-fashioned communication with modern technology, the so-called ‘last mile’ of the early warning system. It’s something that we dare not forget in our UN work for the tsunami… All the sophisticated technology won’t matter if we don’t reach real communities and people.