General


There is a certain arrogance in coverage of developing countries by Western reporters. They assumed that Ooredoo, managed by Westerners, and Telenor in particular would simply walk over MPT. That was the case in places like Bangladesh where the government did not act to reform the incumbent. But MPT is managed by KDD. They also did not take into account the advantage of having land.
India used to be the center of gravity of everything we did at LIRNEasia. In terms of expenditure and effort, perhaps the center is shifting. But intellectually, the challenge of managing the asymmetrical relationship between Sri Lanka and India continues to engage. I was asked to write something for the visit of Prime Minister Modi. Unbeknownst, the piece had also been published in the government-owned newspaper: One subject that is likely to come up in the Modi-Sirisena discussion is the long delayed coal power station.
Bangladesh has enacted its National Telecommunication Policy way back in March 1998. The government has taken seventeen years to feel the need of modernizing it. A surreal wishlist is outlined in the consultation document, which has been signed by an unknown person (dated March 5, 2015). And it has been published on March 8, 2015 with a deadline to respond within a week (March 15, 2015). Honesty, which is missing in this bureaucratic haste, is the best policy.
A Ratings Agency has put specific numbers behind the entity-based and mobiles-sector specific taxes in 2015 interim budget. Should the proposals go ahead, 2015 FFO-adjusted net leverage for Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT, BB-/Stable) and Dialog Axiata (Dialog, AAA(lka)/Stable) is likely to deteriorate to 1.8x and 2.5x, respectively (2014: 1.2x and 1.
EZcash is unusual in that it was developed by one company, but three out of five mobile operators use it. This may be unique. Why can we not see more of these kinds of collaborations? Report and link.
Haven’t had time to analyze this election promise, so was very happy to see a CPRsouth alumnus take an excellent run at it. Usually, these free Wi-Fi services have lower speeds compared to the average home connection, and often come with a data or a time cap. Perth, for example, offers free public Wi-Fi in a certain area, with a limit of 50MB per connection. Do your stuff, and then get out of the way; let the next user in. Effective, intelligent limiting is one solution.
The situations in the US and our countries are very different: we have more competition at the access-network level, we have more people who are not connected and our retail pricing schemes are more rational. But it’s illuminating that the FCC is not as excited about zero rating as some other people: Under the FCC’s newly approved net neutrality rules, wireless carriers and other ISPs will not have to go the agency and ask permission every time they want to introduce a new offering or mobile broadband plan, such as a new zero-rating plan, according to FCC officials. The FCC adopted three so-called “bright line” rules for net neutrality: no blocking of legal content; no throttling of Internet traffic on the basis of content; and no paid prioritization of content. For everything not covered by those rules, the FCC approved a catchall “standard for future conduct,” which will used to ensure that broadband providers are not “unreasonably interfering with or unreasonably disadvantaging” the ability of consumers and content providers to use the Internet and connect to each other. Future practices will be judged on a case-by-case basis.
I’m pretty sure we (LIRNEasia and RIA) were the only ones to have asked this question in Asia and Africa. Finally, surveys conducted in Africa and Asia found that more than half of the people that weren’t on the Internet didn’t know what it was. The Report. But I do not think the “more than half” is very accurate. This kind of thing happens when people write on the basis of other reports of research without going to the source.
At the end of its First Quarter of operations, Telenor Myanmar reported 3.4 million subscribers. That’s a hefty number, given Ooredoo had a head start and MPT also got energized during that time. But the real story is that 40 percent of that number (1.36 million) were daily active data users.
Internet.org, Facebook’s effort to give people free Internet (or at least 38 websites and services that do not include Google) was launched earlier this month. This has resulted in a quantum leap in discussions of various aspects of net neutrality, including ones that connect the debate in the rich countries to our reality that is dominated by people who has no access to Internet of any kind. Here is a good example. The critical question is “who is the target user of Internet.
A “New Mobile Weather Stations”, notably made from local parts, fast delivers the rainfall forecast to the Sri Lankan farmers through text messages. It alerts them six hours ahead of excessive rain. That’s good enough for the farmers to take precaution. This device costs only $250 as opposed to $10,000 for standard mobile weather stations. And man behind the machine is Yann Chemin, a researcher of International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
One of the most important ways by which research influences policy is for the researcher to become a policy maker. In 2006-07 Harsha de Silva was leading LIRNEasia’s ag info research. As Deputy Minister for Planning and Economic Affairs, this is what he’s telling audiences now: Farmers are not poor because they don’t get the subsidy, farmers are poor because their agricultural markets are not working. There is no way in which officials can sit in the food department and solve the problems of the volatility of the prices in vegetables. It can never be done.
Here are some more stories. In Romanian, I think. And in German. Serbian, I think. In Bahasa Indonesia, where the story started.
This story has legs. Someone has riffed off the Quartz story. Report.
This is a first for us. Our findings on Facebook users > Internet users in some countries that was reported in Quartz has been translated into Arabic and published by Al Jazeera. It’s not like anyone at LIRNEasia reads Arabic, but we were alerted to this by the kind folk at IDRC.
Demand-side surveys add tremendous value in many areas of research; Assessing Quality of Service (QoS) for mobile, fixed and broadband services isn’t one of them. Certainly not when it involves a perception survey. The Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) attempts to understand the user satisfaction of availability and QoS for mobile cellular, fixed and broadband services. QoS is an objective measure whereas customer satisfaction surveys are subjective. Therefore, more technical QoS measures such as network availability, performance (not further defined by TRAI) and reliability cannot simply be assessed the same way in which complaint redressal, for instance, would be.