General


Among the comments to an informative article on Zuckerberg’s interactions with telecom CEOs at GSM Mobile World tamasha in Barcelona was this: The carriers are making tons of money supplying pipes. The expensive pipes are in demand because of the low cost apps people can run over them. It would be like power companies complaining they don’t make money off of selling electrical appliances, when people pay power companies every month for power.
JOIN US IN SRI LANKA – Indian Ocean Tsunami 10th Year Anniversary (IOTX) – CAP WORKSHOP DOWNLOAD THE CAP WORKSHOP FLYER These are exciting times for alerting enabled by the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) standard (ITU-T Recommendation X.1303), especially as major online media and technology companies continue their support and promotion of CAP. One theme is the emergent support for CAP-enabled alerting through advertising by online media. In that vein, we expect this Workshop will discuss the development of harmonized design guidelines for such emergency alerting, perhaps including aspects such as colours, fonts, languages, and sets of symbols. Earthquake and volcano alerting are also expected to be Workshop topics, as well as updates on progress for some of the many CAP implementations already in production and others in active development.
The XX Factor is written by Alison Wolf, the CBE Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management at King’s College London. The book outlines how working women of the modern workforce have changed the society.  This change has occurred due to the fact that women are working in white collar jobs around the world hand in hand with men in contrast to past generations where both educated and uneducated women stayed at home once married. Author starts the book with the story of Jane Austen (1775 – 1817), an English novelist braking off her engagement with Harris Big Wither in 1802, which was something extraordinarily brave at her time. Then the book describes modern highly educated professional females, 70 million worldwide who stand in a direct line from Jane Austen.

Praise for regulators in US

Posted on February 27, 2014  /  2 Comments

They say mergers are coming in both India and Sri Lanka. I’d prefer clear guidelines rather than discretion, for reasons like this. A rash of consumer-friendliness has broken out across the mobile data industry. Over the last year, the four major carriers — AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile — have cut prices and offered greater flexibility in how they sell their voice, text and broadband services. The industry could be on the verge of an all-out price war.
Yesterday I listened sporadically to a live streamed conference on Big Data. Sporadic was not intentional. I am in Dili, Timor Leste, where most connectivity is via satellite with latencies in the 700ms range. Anyway, the focus was not on big data per se. They talked about all sorts of things, mostly open data (in the parts I heard) and crowd-sourced data.

Wireless that works in a crowd

Posted on February 19, 2014  /  1 Comments

The unpredictability of what large numbers of people do with their wireless devices when in a crowd has caused problems ever since wireless became the preferred last mile solution. But there is a solution on the horizon? A recent demonstration in San Francisco showed off a technology that Steve Perlman, a serial entrepreneur and inventor who sold WebTV to Microsoft for more than $500 million in the late 1990s, contends will give mobile users far faster cellular network speeds, with fewer dropped phone calls and other annoyances, even in stadiums and other places where thousands of people use mobile phones at the same time, Nick Wingfield reports. In the demonstration, eight iPhones played different high-definition movies from Netflix at once, all receiving the video wirelessly. Rather than causing the local network to stumble under the strain of so much data jamming the airwaves at once, the video played on all the screens with nary a stutter.
Obama administration wants to digitize the bureaucracy for all practical purposes. With federal budgets under fire in Congress, the government’s move to the Internet has gained pace. An electronic payment, for instance, costs the government only 9 cents to process, compared with $1.25 for a paper check, the Treasury Department says. At Treasury, which last year suspended most paper mailings for all but the very aged and those with “mental impairments,” officials estimate the shift will save $1 billion over 10 years.
The “twittersphere” has been abuzz, with claims of anti-intellectualism and a few admissions of fault since Nicholas Kristof’s philippic appeared. “Political science Ph.D.’s often aren’t prepared to do real-world analysis,” says Ian Bremmer, a Stanford political science Ph.D.
Every few months (or longer, depending on whether I am in the country) I serve on judging panels for a televised debating competition run by a private TV channel. Today, the topic was one that we had actually done research on: “mobile phones have positive effects on the efficiency of daily life.” The proponents had done their home work and were citing Jensen’s Kerala study, Aker’s Niger research and so on. To beat back the opposition, they were citing the Danish cancer study and so on. They could have cited our work that directly dealt with the subject, but I was not going to hold it against them.
This World Bank blog throws in the new, new thing “big data.” But really with little substance. Some unthinking hack. Information technology can be a powerful tool to empower the citizen. In Pakistan, where mobile phone penetration is almost 70 percent, it is possible to reach even the poorest households.
Skype’s acquisition by Microsoft was a big story. This should be, too. Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten acquired Viber for $900 million, just days after the CEO of the mobile messaging player denied it was in acquisition talks. Rakuten said the deal is aimed at strengthening its global platform by bringing Viber’s user base to its e-commerce and digital content services. Viber has 280 million global registered users in nearly 200 countries and more than 100 million monthly active users.
So it’s done. More smartphones were sold in 2013 than feature phones. Does this mean that smartphones outnumber feature phones on the world’s networks? No. But that too will happen.
The Pew Research Center does surveys within the US that contribute valuable information to US policy processes. In this news release, they also present worldwide data. Smartphone adoption, however, shows a different picture. More than half of Americans (55%) have a smartphone, 34% have a feature phone, and 9% have no phone. Elsewhere in the world, a smartphone is less common.

Military-telecom complex in Cuba?

Posted on February 12, 2014  /  1 Comments

Now that Myanmar is on the move, Cuba’s position in the telecom league tables is likely to decline further. Or will it? Minority partnerTelecom Italia (who says Communists are against foreign investment?) has been given USD 706 million to go away by Raul Castro’s son-in-law’s company. If they have that kind of change, perhaps they are planning to invest in the sector as well?

Korea no model to emulate

Posted on February 11, 2014  /  0 Comments

We’ve been talking up the need to look beyond Korea as THE model to emulate because their vaunted successes have been achieved with massive long-term subsidies that are difficult for most countries to replicate. But here are some other less known features of the Korean Internet environment that one would not want to emulate: Every week portions of the Korean web are taken down by government censors. Last year about 23,000 Korean webpages were deleted, and another 63,000 blocked, at the request of the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC), a nominally independent (but mainly government-appointed) public body. In 2009 the KCSC had made just 4,500 requests for deletion. Its filtering chiefly targets pornography, prostitution and gambling, all of which are illegal in South Korea.
Prepaid has diminished the appeal of Mobile Number Portability (MNP). A recent study of GSMA suggests that merely 25% of developing markets have introduced MNP, while only a further 15% are known to be implementing it in the future. It means about 60% of regulators in the developing world have either decided against introducing MNP, or have made no progress to date. Sri Lanka Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (SLTRC) has found no value in MNP. The director-general of SLTRC, Anusha Palpita, told local media: ‘The main beneficiary of [MNP] and those demanding it [would be] post-paid mobile subscribers.