Rohan Samarajiva


In its report titled, “Myanmar: Telecoms’ Last Frontier” the Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) explores the realities of Myanmar’s telecom environment. The government of Myanmar wants to leapfrog “from 10 (SIMs per 100 people) to 80 in five years.” LIRNEasia’s chair Rohan Samarajiva has concluded his report in this publication: The challenges before Myanmar are many. But, if the mistakes of its neighbors and peers are avoided and lessons learned and put into effect, the target of 10 to 80 in five years can be achieved. While outlining Myanmar’s strategy for Universal Service Fund, Rohan is explicit at the very beginning of his another paper in the same publication: We at LIRNEasia have been critical of universal service subsidies.

Lest we forget

Posted by on December 27, 2013  /  0 Comments

Silently crawling seawater soon turned in to a tide of mass destruction. Nearly quarter of a million loved ones were perished across the costs of Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004. The world was stunned by such an unprecedented scale of catastrophe. The rescuers’ power of love overpowered the devastation of tsunami. Hands of prayers are still being raised with tearful eyes and the hearts full of grief.
Information and communication have always opened opportunities for the poor to earn income, reduce isolation, and respond resiliently to emergencies. With mobile phone use exploding across the developing world, even marginalized communities are now benefiting from modern communication tools. This book explores the impacts of this unprecedented technological change. Drawing on unique household surveys undertaken by research networks active in 38 developing countries, it helps to fill knowledge gaps about how the poor use information and communication technologies (ICTs). How have they benefited from mobile devices, computers, and the Internet?
Ian Scales of Telecom TV has dubbed the WTO rules as the final nail in the coffin of ITU occupying Internet and ETNO’s demand of SPNP. Praising Rohan Samarajiva and Hosuk Lee-Makiyama for detonating “The well-timed blast” with their joint publication – Whither global rules for the Internet? The implications of the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT) for international trade – Ian said: It points out that as part of the WTO agreement 82 countries unilaterally agreed to “open up and refrain from discriminatory measures in a so-called reference paper on basic telecommunications.” Most countries also agreed not to restrict the most common forms of Internet services and signed up to a moratorium on tariffs and fees on data transmissions (known as the WTO e-commerce moratorium). Those undertakings therefore run smack-bang into proposals such as ETNO’s, as well as Arab and African states’ proposals for re-establishing a version of the old accounting rate regime (designed for telephone call revenue sharing) for Internet applications.
“Economic Strategies for Sri Lanka”, a book written in Sinhala, co-authored by LIRNEasia Chair and CEO, Rohan Samarajiva and  C.J. Amaratunga was launched at BCIS, Colombo on the 6th of September 2012. The keynote was delivered by former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, W.A.
The 30th National Information Technology Conference (NITC), organized by the Computer Society of Sri Lanka, was held from 9-11 July in  Colombo. The theme of the conference was ICT for GAP: Governance, All, Peace. LIRNEasia chair and CEO, Rohan Samarajiva, PhD spoke on “Connected Nation” at the last day of the conference. Click here for the presentation slides.
LIRNEasia has achieved a milestone in the Pacific Region by launching the office of the Pacific ICT Regulatory Resource Centre (PIRRC) on 10 November 2011 in Suva, Fiji. Earlier this year, LIRNEasia won the contract to establish the PIRRC with initial funding from World Bank and relocated its Senior Policy Fellow M. Aslam Hayat to act as PIRRC’s founder director.   Permanent Secretary for Public Enterprises, Communications, Civil Aviation and Tourism Ms. Elizabeth Powell was the Chief Guest for officially opening of PIRRC.
LIRNEasia CEO, Rohan Samarajiva, is invited to speak at the FutureGov forum Sri Lanka 2011 which will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from 19-20 July, 2011. This forum will cover the strategies on how to align technology investments with agency priorities – to create necessary infrastructure and establish the enabling environment for the implementation of e-government services, thus, creating an effective and efficient e-Governance. Rohan will speak at the session “Digital inclusion”. The talk will discuss the projects that effectively and sustainably bridged the digital divide. He will also take part as a panelist in “Mobile as a main Channel of Government Service Delivery”.
LIRNEasia CEO, Rohan Samarajiva, recently published an article appearing in the Daily Mirror on the potential health threats of mobile phone use. He argues that while it is true that electromagnetic radiation from handsets does pose a potential threat, studies by the Indian government  and the WHO argue that: to date, no adverse health effects have been established for mobile phone use; that studies are ongoing to assess long-term effects of mobile use; and that there is increased risk of traffic injuries when drivers use mobile phones while driving. However, we, as responsible consumers, need to take the necessary precautionary measures such as buying safe handsets, among other things. Click here to read the full article.
LIRNEasia CEO, Rohan Samarajiva, recently spoke at a workshop organized for the telecom reporters in Bangladesh to strengthen their understanding and know-how on telecom, especially regarding legal, regulatory and business issues. The event has received extensive media exposure. While noting that Bangladesh boasts of the some of the lowest tariffs in the world, largely a result of budget telecom network business model, Rohan argued that the government’s vision for a “digital” Bangladesh can only be met “by extending the budget telecom network model to broadband, building wireless access networks capable of handling data cost-effectively, backed up by non-discriminatory, cost-oriented access to backhaul, including redundant capacity, and offering applications that are of value to consumers, giving them reason to use broadband.” Click here to read the full article in the Daily Star. More coverage will be tracked here in the coming days.
LIRNEasia CEO, Rohan Samarajiva, was recently invited to the 12th  South Asian Telecommunications Regulators’ Council Meeting in Tehran, Iran, where he made presentations on intra-SAARC roaming charges (mentioned in this post) and broadband quality of service in the Asian region. LIRNEasia has been involved in broadband quality of service testing in the Asian region for a while now.  The most recent tests using the AT-tester, a diagnostic tool developed by IIT-Madras and LIRNEasia, were conducted in October 2010. Rohan argued that delivered speeds with the local domain were above those advertised, the opposite was true in the international domain. Furthermore, broadband services in Asia offer lower value for money than in North America,  likely largely  in part due to high international backhaul costs.
LIRNEasia CEO, Rohan Samarajiva, delivered a lecture entitled, “Asia: Broadband & forms of government intervention” on the 15th of February at the Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. His presentation examined Korea’s benchmark model of broadband access and adoption, its success factors, and the extent to which it could be replicated in Asia. He contrasted it with Hong Kong’s market-centric approach that had achieved the same results, faster and with less resources. Click here to view the full presentation.
LIRNEasia CEO, Rohan Samarajiva, made a presentation on ICT innovations in South Asia at a conference held in Brussels on 16 – 17 February. The theme of the conference was “Asia rise in ICT R&D – Looking for evidence: Debating collaboration strategies, threats and opportunities”. More on the conference can be found, here. Click here to download presentation slides.
Findings from LIRNEasia‘s multi-country study on the use of ICTs, particularly for more-than-voice, has been cited in the Economist. LIRNEasia‘s CEO, Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, was also cited. The number of users is still small: even among young people in South-East Asia (a tech-friendly lot) only 8% had used “more-than-voice” services, according to a poll by LIRNEasia. But the potential is exciting.
LIRNEasia CEO, Rohan Samarajiva, was quoted recently in an article published by TIME on India’s widening telecom scandal. A recent report published by India’s top auditor highlights irregularities in the government allocation of 2G spectrum to private companies. Rohan Samarajiva, an expert on telecom policy in South Asia, has studied the mobile-phone market in Bangladesh. There, too, investigations revealed hundreds of cases of spectrum sold and resold in “non-transparent” transactions. Nevertheless, Bangladesh has nearly 100% phone coverage and some of the lowest prices in the world.
LIRNEasia Chair and CEO, Rohan Samarajiva, will make a presentation on “The Budget Telecom Network Model and its Extension to Wireless Broadband” at a workshop entitled, “Mobile Broadband: Igniting the Service Revolution” to be held on 26-27 November 2010 in New Delhi, India. Organized by the IIMA IDEA Telecom Centre of Excellence (IITCOE), the workshop brings together several key senior executives from the corporate, government and non-for-profit sectors in India. The PPT presentation is available for download here. More information on the event can be found here.