Indi Samarajiva


Dumindra (Tigo): Today my spectrum fee is 10% of my revenue. I still manage a 30% EBITA, but that’s not enough to make ends meet with equipment. In this business you need 60% EBITA. If you look at Sri Lanka the only that has been going south is telecom prices, everything is going up. Not long ago my friend was asking me about call center agents.
There is one player here in the big game that hasn’t contributed that much, and that’s government. The obvious things like taxation, duties have been mentioned many times. This isn’t a lot of researching, it’s more implementing on the government side. What does access to spectrum mean? It means a great deal.
Divakara Goswami (Chair): I’m at Deloitte and we try to find the ROI on our research. One thing we’ve found that works is doing a survey on our research. The question that I have for you is, what is the research LIRNEasia has done that can be useful to you? I’m Sanna Eskelinen from Nokia, Emerging Markets. I think it is easy for me because Rohan thinks about making himself redundant.
Harsha de Silva: Kentaro, you talked about the expenditure and ringtones, but this whole group answered vacation or new car (also new car). That doesn’t seem to be a BOP thing. Helani, you talked about prepaid, but that’s 95%, so not necessarily BOP. So is there anything that’s BOP specific? Sultanur Reza: CSR, people have different expectations.
I am currently based in Bangalore India, but as you can tell I’m not Indian. There’s some things which I don’t understand emotionally, though I do understand intellectually. For example, singing in the rain is an exception in Hollywood, but it’s the norm in Bollywood. I can’t muster the same joy at the rains, but the entire country gets a bonus when it rains on time. There’s a huge difference, based on a similarity.
I want to talk about not the demand side so much as the supply side. How we’re going to reach BOP users, and how much it will cost, and whether private sector can do this. If you look at the side, you can see that more than 3/4 of mobile users are from developing countries. Some developing countries are beginning to leapfrog OECD counterparts. The level of economic development is not necessarily a good predictor of how a country will do.
I think cell broadcasting is a good technology for reaching that last mile. We’re not very good at getting up to speed in the States. They probably figured they’d have time to incorporate cell technology into the existing warning systems. They haven’t, but perhaps becuase they don’t feel it’s as urgent. I’m glad Nuwan brought up this problem with regards to the mass media.
The projects that Nuwan worked on were on first responder warning. Our first foray into public warning was in the Maldives. You can see from the Maldives, there’s very good mobile coverage. At the peak tourists amount to 1/5th of the population. In the Maldives there was great property damage in the Malidives.
We are the first highly personalized professional information service for farmers. RML has over 170,000 subscribers across 12,000 villages. By one estimate RML might have reached up to a million farmers. This is because farmers don’t consumer the information by themselves but share it with 8-12 other farmers. They say that it’s information, and it gives me a different status in the village (to share).
Anjani Sinha, MD National Spot Exchange, India: National Spot Exchange’s objective is to reduce cost of intermediaries and enable farmers to sell directly to consumers. When the farmer harvests they can bring produce to our warehouse. A receipt is issued to him. He can then sell immediately to us, and electronic negotiation will happen. Buyers anywhere in the country can see the price and bid.
This panel comes at a stage where LIRNEasia is trying to go beyond the passive use of ICTs to how ICTs can be used for welfare. What I’m going to start with is to ask Sriganesh to set the context for this particular session. Sriganesh: What the rural poor is looking for is reliable and good quality information. What they care about is enhancing their livelihoods. They’re looking for locally driven content in local languages, demand driven more than push.
Partha Mukhopadhyay: Four broad issues I think we could think through. This whole concept of knowledge-based economies Is the classification of indicators, drivers sensible and what would you put in there Where is LIRNEasia’s work most suited What would be specific sectors that make sense (IT, agriculture) Robin Mansell: Early volumes made the case that change is not just technology but related to humans and people.  A 1999 quote – ‘knowledge is like light, weightless and intangible, it can easily travel the world, enlightening the lives of people everywhere.’ This was a very top down economist view. All one had to do was count investments in these areas.

Day 2 Photos

Posted by Indi Samarajiva on December 10, 2009  /  0 Comments

Dinidu de Alwis has uploaded a quality set of the Day Two photos to Flickr. As day two ends you can view a slideshow of the selection here. They include headshots of pretty much all the speakers. The photos from all days are and will remain available in the LIRNEasia@5 collection on Flickr.
Bill Melody: As Rohan has said, this is the last event of the day. The real question is does policy research do anything besides keep policy researchers busy. We recognize that policy research is also done for the wider community, including industry, NGOs, academics and others to inform and build support for evidence based policy. We are constantly asked to show that research affects policy. However, you generally find that policy makers and regulators go through their own decision making process and tracing the affect of research is not easy.
Chirag Jain, GupShup, India The platform is, to begin with, Yahoo Groups on SMS. All you had to do was create a group, invite your friends and communicate them. The difference was that we sat between and subsidized the cost with advertising. We were able to insert contextual advertising and targeted advertising. The platform is now offering itself to enterprises as a fantastic mobile CRM application.
by Ayesha Zainudeen CellBazaar is a classifieds site in Bangladesh. Potential buyers and sellers can search for and post information on goods. If you compare CellBazaar to a developed marketplace like Amazon, Amazon covers the full range of a transaction. The search, payment, feedback, delivery. CellBazaar actually just focuses on the search.