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CHAKULA features an e-interview with LIRNEasia’s CEO

CHAKULA is a newsletter produced by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC). Named after the Swahili word for ‘food’, it aims to mobilise African civil society around ICT policy for sustainable development and social justice issues. The latest issue features an e-interview with LIRNEasia’s CEO Rohan Samarajiva, but it is not the only reason why […]

Wanted: A terminator to terminate the termination cost

The UK regulator, Ofcom, has proposed cuts in interconnection fees (also known as mobile termination rates), the wholesale charges that operators make to connect calls to each others’ networks. It has unveiled plans to cut the rate in stages from 4.3 pence ($0.065) per minute to 0.005 pence per minute by 2015. “As rates fall and […]

Mobile booms remittance boon in Bangladesh

Bangladesh exported 50 percent less manpower in 2009. Thousands of jobless workers also returned home as their employers went broke after the Wall Street collapsed. Yet inward remittance grew by 20 percent ($10.72 billion) in 2009. How could fewer workers send the highest-ever remittance? The mobile networks covering nearly 100 percent of the population as […]

Sri Lanka: President uses SMS to wish mobile users: Why not Cell Broadcasting?

At least some have first assumed it a practical joke, but Daily Mirror online confirmed President did send a New Year wish to all mobile users today. Using romanised Sinhala President wrote “Kiwu paridi obata NIDAHAS, NIVAHAL RATAK laba dunnemi. Idiri anagathaya sarwapparakarayenma Wasanawantha Wewa! SUBA NAWA WASARAK WEWA! Mahinda Rajapaksa” (As promised I delivered […]

Sri Lanka: A Nenasala telecenter – The story of two photos

April, 2008

I took the first photo. That was in April 2008 in an informal telecenter visit. The second one appeared in a Sinhala blog recently. Mangedara Nenasala telecenter at Thulhiriya (less than 2 km from MAS Holdings) is one of the hundreds of defunct Nenasala telecenters. During better times it provided services such as utility bill […]

Colloquium: Mobile 2.0: m-money for the unbanked

Colloquium conducted by Dr. Erwin Alampay of NCPAG, Philippines. Presentation began by looking at the potential for M-money. Why should we use m-money? Improving efficiency: Improve services, financial services. BOP a target. BOP (migrants) relies on various forms of remittances Looking at Filipinos, 9% of BOP had a relative living abroad, and 13% in another […]

Bypass drives “informal” FDI in Pakistan

Two years back China Mobile bought Paktel for US$460 million. That was a legitimate transaction. Last week two Chinese nationals were arrested while the authorities busted a bypass den at Islamabad. They have been allegedly the partner of an “influential Pakistani” in this illegal venture. It claims to have caused an estimated six billion rupees (US$74 million) […]

Pakistan Telecom Authority shows futility of raising mobile taxes

The Pakistan Telecom Authority in their December 2008 quarterly review gives the reasoning behind the government’s decision to impose high taxes on mobile phone use. To reduce the high fiscal deficits, the government had increased taxes. The increase for the telecom sector was over 40 percent; for other sectors it was only seven percent. However, […]

Sri Lanka: Dishes, dishes everywhere…

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Multiple dishes is a common sight at many Nenasalas – the ‘telecentres’ set up under the e-Sri Lanka program, funded by the World Bank. Some of them are huge – with diameters little less than 2m. Having not done a design recently, I cannot tell the prices offhand, but I do know they are expensive […]

World Bank wanted cyber-cafes for rich; we implemented ‘Nenasalas’ for poor – Sri Lanka Minister

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Old habits die hard. When you have been a member of a tiny Trotskyite left political party for the longer period of your life and seen the World Bank as your arch enemy, you may forget that you are on the same side now. This seems to be what happens to Sri Lanka’s Minister of […]

Sri Lankan Software Industry: Repeating an experiment once failed?

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Narayana Murthy, the ‘IT Guru’ is in Colombo. ‘Entrepreneurship and IT for National Integration: A Challenge for Sri Lanka’ was his topic addressing Sri Lankan software industry representatives, on Saturday. The well attended event was organized by the three month old Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) that has ambitious plans to […]

Isuru: The face of Rural BPO business in Sri Lanka

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When I first met Isuru Seneviratne in late 90s (in cyberspace) he was a twelve year old student. Life was not always sympathetic to this eldest of a family of three. Flickr still has a photo showing young Isuru and his sister assisting their parents in poultry. His father was a famer – then the […]

USA: Obama details Recovery Plan but short on Broadband goals

Barack Obama used his first weekly address as U.S. president to provide more details of his proposed US$825 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan that, among other things, will upgrade classrooms, invest in renewable energy and expand broadband Internet access. Obama stated his intention to invest in these areas during the presidential debates in September […]

Obama’s Stimulus Plan Includes $6 Billion for Broadband

The $825 billion proposal from the Obama transition team and House Democrats includes $6 billion to improve the U.S. broadband infrastructure, which is lacking in many rural and mountainous areas, particularly the West. There aren’t a lot of details yet on how that $6 billion would be given out, but it doesn’t seem to encompass […]

Indonesia: Qatar Tel to begin Indosat shares tender

Qatar Telecommunications Co QTEL said on Saturday it would begin tender offers for shares in Indonesian telecoms firm PT Indosat on Tuesday to lift its stake to 65 percent, the maximum allowed. Indonesia limits foreign ownership in the telecommunication sector to a maximum of 65 percent for mobile phone operators and 49 percent for fixed-line […]

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