The GSMA Asia team had come to Colombo for their annual staff retreat. Amid all the team building activities, they also thought they should replenish the knowledge conduits and asked LIRNEasia to put together a few sessions.
Many ideas were presented, but I thought it surprising that a collective organization of users of international backhaul capacity had paid so little attention to the sad state of international wholesale markets in the region: IP transit prices way above what were being offered in Europe and North America, excessive reliance on submarine cables that were vulnerable because of the chokepoints of the Suez, the Malacca Strait and the Taiwan Strait.
Improving the international connectivity of the region by promoting the building of open-access terrestrial cables to supplement the existing submarine cables is now a priority of UN ESCAP. We’ve been working with them on this since 2010. I hope GSMA will join this effort.