Rohan Samarajiva, LIRNEasia Chair and CEO, made the lead presentation on access to ICTs at an OECD/infoDev Workshop on the Internet Economy yesterday in Paris. The workshop, “Policy coherence in the application of information and communication technologies for development,” is currently underway.
In his presentation, Dr Samarajiva described the new “Budget Telecom Network Model” developed in South Asia that is enabling mobile operators to serve low-income customers who yield very low ARPUs [Average Revenues per User] and discuss its extension to enable broadband use. Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have offered the lowest total costs of mobile ownership since 2005-06 while still yielding adequate, though somewhat volatile, returns to ensure continued investment in network extension and new services. LIRNEasia research shows that this has been made possible by business process innovations to reduce operating expenses, and the minimizing of transaction costs made possible by widespread prepaid use. The analysis extensively draws from LIRNEasia’s six-country, 10,000 sample Teleuse @ BOP3 survey which shows how poor people are actually using information and communication technologies in emerging Asia.
The invitation signifies recognition of the high profile LIRNEasia has achieved as a thought leader on innovations in telecom policy and regulation that benefit those at the Bottom of the Pyramid in emerging Asian economies. Other speakers include Professor Richard Heeks of the University of Manchester and representatives of NokiaSiemens Networks and Vodafone. The workshop is being held on 10-11 September 2009 at the Paris Headquarters of the OECD.