Ayesha Zainudeen


LIRNEasia’s Executive Director will speak at the International Conference on Information, Communication and New Media & the First Annual Convention of the Information and Communication Association of Taiwan, being held in Taipei on 17 May 2008. His presentaiton, Asia at the leading edge of communication and new media developments? can be downloaded by clicking on the link.
Rohan Samarajiva chaired the panel discussion on ‘Convergence in Regulation – Designing Regulation for Convergence’ at the GSMA Third Annual Government Mobile Forum on 12 February 2008. The Forum was a part of the 2008 Mobile World Congress, taking place from 11-14 February 2008 in Barcelona 2008. The panellists included: Maria Del Rosario Guerra, Minister for Communications, Colombia Binali Yildirim, Minister of Transport and Communications, Turkey Daniel Pataki, Chairman European Regulators Group (ERG) Mickael Gosshein, CEO Orange Jordan Sol Trujillo, CEO Telstra The Government Mobile Forum is a unique platform where ministers, regulators and industry leaders come together, face to face, to discuss the opportunities that the mobile industry offers for economic growth and social development and the barriers it faces in meeting this challenge.
Rohan Samarajiva participated in the Third Annual ‘Joint Roundtable on Communications Policy – The Future of Indian Mobile’ in Kovalam, India from 7-9 February. The Round table was organized by the Aspen Institute India in collaboration with the Aspen Institute, USA. The objective of the conference was to convene Indian and American business leaders, government policy-makers, leading academics, and other experts to discuss government and business approaches to mobile commerce, mobile banking and m-governance that will have a positive effect on India’s economic and social development.

At the close of a productive year…

Posted on December 28, 2007  /  34 Comments

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by Harsha de Silva & Ayesha Zainudeen In Does inequality matter? Exploring the links between poverty and inequality (p. 135-167), Edited by Prashan Thalayasingam & Kannan Arunasalam. Published by CEPA, Colombo, 2007 Pre-publication version available for download. The paper was presented at the Centre for Poverty Analysis Annual Symposium on Poverty Research in Sri Lanka (6-7 December 2007, Colombo) Introduction: Much has been said of the benefits of access to telecommunication especially at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’.

Innovating for Asia’s BOP

Posted on October 12, 2007  /  4 Comments

Can dinosaurs dance? Oct 11th 2007 | From The Economist print edition Responding to the Asian challenge ARE consumers in India and China too poor to afford high-quality Western goods? That used to be the old idea of doing business in these countries as firms offered watered-down versions of their products at reduced prices. Mr van Houten, of chipmaker NXP, says Indian and Chinese consumers are forcing multinationals to design sophisticated products that more closely meet their needs, and this is making firms operating in Asia better innovators. By recruiting ingenious local engineers and designers in places like Bangalore and Beijing, and paying close attention to trends and practices in the market, firms are coming up with products and services that can be sold in other parts of the world too.
The final report from the World Dialogue on Regulation (WDR) 3rd research cycle has been released and can now be downloaded or ordered in hardcopy. Edited by Amy Mahan and William H. Melody, this most recent collection of the network’s research and case studies elaborates on inclusive and propoor strategies for extending network development. Title: Diversifying Participation in Network Development: Case studies and research from WDR Research Cycle 3 Editors: Amy Mahan and William H. Melody
Missed calling (also referred to as beeping, flashing and many other names) has been most talked about in Africa; Johnathan Donner has been talking and writing about it for some time now; his research provides interesting insights into what he calls the ‘rules’ of beeping. A recent Reuters article looks at the growing phenomenon in not only Africa but other regions too. LIRNEasia’s Teleuse@BOP survey findings also show that the phenomenon is considerably common among bottom of the pyramid (defined here as Socioeconomic Classification groups D & E) phone users in India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. But what’s more interesting, is that the phenomenon was seen as being used more or less to the same extent in the ‘middle and top of the pyramid’ (defined in the study as Socioeconomic Classification groups A, B & C). This held true for phone owners in all five countries studied – Pakistan, India (with some of the lowest per minute call rates in the world), Sri Lanka, Philippines and even Thailand (the country with the highest per capita GDP among the set of countries studied).

World now has 4b phone lines, says UN

Posted on September 5, 2007  /  1 Comments

World now has 4b phone lines, says UN | Sep 05, 2007 | telecomasia.net (Associated Press via NewsEdge) Largely because of the mobile phone boom in developing countries, telephone service has quadrupled in the past decade to 4 billion lines worldwide, according to a report from the UN telecommunications agency.
Anjana SAMARASINGHE The Daily News, 3 September 2007 | See Print version Sri Lanka needs to focus special attention on broadband connectivity as it is becoming more important for the development of businesses in the country.
We could still do better; But more taxes could kill the industry The Nation Economist, Sunday 26 August 2007 | See Print version I have to say that JHU does not know economics. What is the rationale behind taxing the only sector that is growing? The industry is giving government enormous amount of revenue. Twenty percent of every mobile rupee goes to the government. If you squeeze the goose for more eggs the goose will ultimately die.
Rohan Samarajiva will chair a session entitled, “Partnership Building: Beyond the traditional boundaries” and also present on “Mobile Phone Penetration at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP)” at Sri Lanka’s Telecentre National Alliance’s Partnership Building with NGOs & other networks, being held from 31 August – 2 September 2007. The event is being organised by Sarvodaya, at the Vishva Samadhi Conference Hall, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka Presentation slides
The 17th Biennial ITS Conference is being held in Montreal June 24th-27th, 2008. The purpose of this Conference is to bring together academics, industry analysts,policy makers, consultants and other major stakeholders to present and discuss the most recent research findings. The 17th ITS Biennial Conference will provide industry decision-makers, academic experts and government policy-makers an opportunity to explore and debate contemporary issues that are facing domestic and international telecommunications industry participants. Two of LIRNEasia’s resarchers were selected to present papers at the 16th Biennial ITS Conference in 2006. Abstracts for the 2008 conference can be submitted online at until 31 October 2007.

The ‘Next Billion’

Posted on August 7, 2007  /  0 Comments

The ‘Next Billion’ is a somewhat familiar term to those in the telecom/ICT sector. This Boston Consulting Report considers the ‘next billion’ in financial services. The report reveals many parallels with the ‘next billion’ talk in the telecom sector, except for the fact that this realisation has already been made in the telecom industry whereas, according to this report, the financial sector is just on the verge of making that same realisation in a big way. It looks at those traditionally excluded from financial services, because they are deemed a non-commercially lucrative group to serve. It argues that by adopting innovative business models, these groups can become commercialy viable to serve.

Researchers wanted

Posted on July 29, 2007  /  0 Comments

LIRNEasia currently has openings for four researchers. Applications for the post of Senior Researchers are being accepted until August 24th 2007. See Job descriptions.
Rohan Samarajiva will present a paper on ‘Sri Lanka’s telecommunications commitments under GATS: Assessment and issues for the future’ in the “Trade in Services’ session at the International Trade Law Conference 2007, on 1 August, organised by the Sri Lanka Law College in collaboration with The Department of Commerce of Sri Lanka and The World Trade Organization. The topic of this year’s conference is “The Doha Development Agenda and the Future of the Multilateral Trading System.” The conference will seek to facilitate an extensive discussion on the critical issues that have arisen in the course of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations. The panel of speakers consisting of policy makers, academics and professionals of outstanding calibre have been drawn from the developed and developing world such as the US, EU, India and Sri Lanka, in order to stimulate debate and facilitate a holistic experience for the participants.The conference website is: http://www.