TRAI announced last Thursday(27/03/2008) that ADC (Access Deficit Charge) will be completely removed from April 1. LIRNEasia was the only non-Indian entity that sent responses to the TRAI consultation paper no. 2/2008 dated 21st January 2008 on Access Deficit Charge (ADC). Here, as the response to the first question LIRNEasia said We agree with phasing out of the ADC. Our work on the subject in 2004-05 led us to advocate this same position by questioning if the ADC was merely ‘a politically motivated tax on private operators to protect the incumbent, its employees and its copper-wire access network during a very long transition to competition.
LIRNEasia Lead Economist Harsha de Silva was invited to be the Consultant to a recent Expert Group Meeting on the Provision of ICT Access for Disadvantaged Communities through Public-Private Partnerships conducted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission fro Asia and the Pacific [ESCAP]. A number of influential policy makers and academics from the region participated at the meeting held between 12-14 December in Bangkok. Harsha set the stage for the expert group meeting by preparing a draft background paper and made a concluding presentation incorporating many of LIRNEasia research findings across the region. Harsha emphasized the need for policies to bridge the market efficiency gap in ICT access through better and conducive regulation and advocated innovative PPPs for bridging identified access gaps in rural BOP segment. Find the draft background paper here Find the presentation slides here
Sri Lankan government withdrew proposed regressive tax of LKR 50 per month of its new tax proposals on mobile subscribers. LIRNEasia’s research evidence from the T@BOP study played an important role in pointing out the likely adverse effect of the proposed regressive tax on the mobile users at the “Bottom of the Pyramid”. The following are the articles/discussions on this topic. Sri Lanka plans to tax mobiles more heavily Taxing Sri Lanka’s mobile customers; Goose or eggs? Sri Lanka drops unfair mobile phone tax, slaps higher usage tax The following is an extract of the The Parliament of Sri Lanka’s Hansard on Mobile Taxation Issue on 6th September 2007.
Prof. Rohan Samarajiva and Tahani Iqbal discuss issues regarding implementing mobile number portability in Sri Lanka in a leading local English daily Daily Mirror. Sri Lankan mobile users and service providers can be optimistic about MNP. It has resulted in better rates even in countries which had lower rates than ours before MNP. It will result in an overall improvement of the quality of services.
LIRNEasia lead economist Harsha de Silva recently had the honor of hosting 2006 Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus on his weekly television show; Biz1st: In- Focus, which runs on MTV and Shakthi TV in Sri Lanka. A five minute cut on the discussion, where Professor Yunus discusses how a “digital genie” will appear from the “Aladdin’s lamp” [the mobile phone] to empower the poor, has been linked below.
Daily News – Friday, 3 August 2007 In a press conference held yesterday to announce South Asia’s first Broadband Communications Congress and Expo (SABCCE) General Manager/ Head of Consumer Market Development Division of Sri Lanka Telecom SLT M.Z Saleem said CDMA Broadband technology will be introduced to the local market by SLT soon. Most of the service providers in the local telecommunication industry are in the process of introducing this technology to the market. However the equipment needs higher investments for introducing this technology, he said. ‘Broadband communications are very cost effective.
Sri Lanka would soon be making mobile telephone numbers portable, telecom minister Rauf Hakeem said addressing the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2007. Financial Times – Daily Mirror – 09-June-2007 The telecom industry will be ensured with a mobile number portability that is expected to result in more growth, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Rauff Hakeem said yesterday.