BOP Archives — Page 5 of 5


India’s urban-rural telecom gap?

Posted on March 9, 2009  /  0 Comments

An AFP story published today talks about the Indian boom in mobile connections, despite all round economic gloom: a record 15m new connections were added in India in January 2009 according to the article. India’s “mobile revolution” is still mainly seen in the cities, but the real prize for phone companies is the vast rural market, where nearly 70 percent of the 1.1-billion-strong population live, analysts say. By the end of January, 34.5 percent of the population owned a telephone, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said.
Findings from the Teleuse at the bottom of the pyramid (T@BOP3) will be released at a meeting organized with the leadership of the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) on 10 February 2009. This will be followed by media interactions in Mumbai and Chennai. Ayesha Zainudeen, Harsha de Silva and Rohan Samarajiva will present at the events. Teleuse@BOP, pioneered by LIRNEasia in 2005, is a unique series of cutting edge demand-side studies on ICT use among the BOP. The 2008 study was conducted across six countries, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and most recently, Bangladesh, among a sample of 9500+ BOP (SEC D and E) users.

Should telcos abandon the BOP market?

Posted on February 3, 2009  /  5 Comments

An article published by the Business Standard, India, states that telecom operators should focus on their most profitable customers, those at the top of the pyramid or TOP, instead of following bottom of the pyramid (BOP)-focused strategies. The article cites a study by BDA, a consulting firm in India, which finds that the TOP contributes a greater percentage to revenue than their lower-income counterparts.  An interesting debate has ensued, here and here,  on the economics of serving the BOP. Although such figures appear to economically justify abandoning BOP-focused telecom strategies, some argue that there seems to be more to the picture than first meets the eye.  Rob Katz of Nextbillion.

India: The Impact of Mobile Phones

Posted on January 20, 2009  /  0 Comments

A recent report of the same title, published by Vodafone and ICRIER, India, reveal that Indian states with high mobile penetration can be expected to grow faster than those states with lower mobile penetration rates, namely, 1.2% points for every 10% increase in the penetration rate. The research also highlights the role of mobile along with complementary skills and other infrastructure, for the full realization of benefits of access to communications in agriculture and among SMEs.  Importantly, telecommunications cannot be seen in isolation from other parts of the development process. In urban slums, the research reveals the importance of network effects, i.
A review of LIRNEasia’s maiden book entitled, ‘ICT Infrastructure in Emerging Asia: Policy and Regulatory Roadblocks’, edited by Rohan Samarajiva and Ayesha Zainudeen, appears in the Asian Economic Bulletin (August 2008), published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore. “…not withstanding the technical language, the question the book poses and the arguments it puts forward will be of interest not just to telecoms policymakers, regulators and policymakers, but also a wider readership that is interested in the policy-making process, the effects of technology, and the roles of institutions in shaping outcomes…this makes for an interesting reading, as it is not often that policymakers are given this type of “fresh” data.” The full article can be purchased here.

The Interview with Rohan Samarajiva

Posted on November 4, 2008  /  0 Comments

This episode of The Interview features an interview with Executive Director, Rohan Samarajiva on telecom regulations, disaster mitigation, preparedness and early warning, mobile phone usage at the BOP and a number of other technology related issues. The Interview – Rohan Samarajiva from CPA on Vimeo.
An intriguing move from a consortium that includes Google that seeks to provide cheap and plentiful broadband to areas around the Equator: O3b, by contrast, intends to offer bandwidth on a wholesale basis to internet-service providers, and transmission services to telecom operators, to link remote base stations to their core networks. Furthermore, O3b’s service will be available only in a ribbon around the equator, covering most developing countries. It can start offering this service with just five satellites (it will eventually have 16) circling 8,000km above the equator. These should be in orbit by late 2010. More on this here.
We don’t write enough about handsets, a crucial element in extending connectivity to those at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Here is an Economist piece on a rapidly rising handset maker. “Although ZTE supplies phones to big names such as Vodafone and Telefónica, most of its customers are in the developing world, where overall handset sales are growing by 16% a year. ZTE’s steady but stealthy rise reflects how much of the growth in telecoms is at the bottom of the economic pyramid.”
An article entitled, ‘Teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Beyond Universal Access’, co-authored by Harsha de Silva and Ayesha Zainudeen, has been published in Telektronikk, a leading telecommunications journal, published by Telenor, Norway. Appearing in the journal’s second issue for 2008, aptly titled, ‘Emerging Markets in Telecommunications’, the article explores the extent to which “universal access” to telecommunications has been achieved  in Asia, based on findings from LIRNEasia’s five-country study of the use of telecommunication services at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’, namely in India, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Very high levels of access, but low levels of ownership are found. The paper then looks at the potential benefits that these non-owner users are missing out on, and then goes on to look at the key barriers to ownership that are faced by them. The paper estimates that there could be close to 150 million new subscribers at the BOP in these five countries by mid-2008.

Mobile2.0: Beyond voice? Call for papers

Posted on September 29, 2008  /  0 Comments

Preconference workshop at the 2009 conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) | 20-21 May 2009, Chicago, Illinois, USA | Download Call for Papers (pdf) Mobile phones are becoming increasingly important in bringing people into the Information Society.  It is widely accepted that the inhabitants of the future household will carry mobile devices that will be capable of voice and data communication, information retrieval and forms of entertainment consumption. Mobiles are now (and will increasingly become) payment devices that can also send, process and receive voice, text as well as images; in the next few years they will also be capable of information-retrieval and publishing functions normally associated with the Internet. Through such services and applications, industry experts predict that many in emerging markets will experience the Internet, or ‘elements’ of the Internet for the first time through a mobile phone, rather than a PC; mobile payments, mobile social networking, SMS voting are just a few examples of some of these services and applications. Emerging markets appear to be following a different trajectory from developed markets; while the latter are moving forward via triple- and quadruple-play scenarios, the former are moving on paths that involve mobile phones as the key […]
In its 2005-06 budget (Khaleda Zia) the Bangladesh government imposed a regressive Taka 900 tax on each SIM that was issued.   We describe the tax as regressive because, if it was passed on to customers, it would hurt the low-user segment (generally the poorer segment) of the market more, because it’s a fixed tax that does not vary with use. The mobile operators did not quite understand what the government wanted to do and decided to absorb the tax.  They made various pleas and protests and got the tax reduced to Taka 800.  Finally, in 2008, they decided they had enough and decided to pass on most of the tax to customers.
Hutch, a pure BOP play that was making very good profits, has reported declining profits and revenue growth.  One quarter does not a trend make.  But seen together with Dialog’s bad results for the last quarter, it suggests things are not looking good for the telecom sector which is taking multiple hits with tripled spectrum charges, revenue-raising taxes in the name of the environment and all sorts of additional costs imposed in the name of national security. If the government keeps taking JHU advice, they are likely to make the economy slow to a crawl.
Two thousand and five hundred years ago, Gautama Buddha correlated tax collectors to bees. A righteous ruler, said he, taking the Liccavis as an example, collects tax without making it a burden on people, in the same was a bee collects honey from a flower (without damaging it). Such wise words were not always heeded. Four new levies, reported Financial Times today, will come into force this month under the Environmental Conservation Levy Act No. 8 of 2008.
LIRNEasia’s Executive Director will present a paper on the gendered aspects of telecom use at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) in emerging Asia, at the 58th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA), ‘Communicating for Social Impact’ in Montreal, Canada, on 26 May 2008. The paper ‘Who’s got the phone? The gendered use of telephones at the bottom of the pyramid’ explores the so called gender ‘divide’ in telecom access at the BOP in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, and Thailand, finding that that a significant gender divide in access to telephones exists in Pakistan and India , to a lesser extent in Sri Lanka , but is absent in the Philippines and Thailand. The authors argue that perhaps as penetration levels increase, overall the gender divide may reduce, although in some cases like Pakistan, culture will override. The paper also looks at difference is usage patterns between men and women at the BOP, and challenges some of the findings of studies which claim that women’s and men’s use is fundamentally different.

LIRNEasia at WSIS, Tunis, Nov 17

Posted on December 6, 2005  /  1 Comments

Pro-Poor, Pro-Market ICT Policy and Regulation World Summit on the information Society, Matmata Room, Kram Centre Tunis, November 17, 2005, 9:00 – 16:45 LIRNE.NET and the World Dialogue on Regulation (WDR), LIRNEasia, Research ICT Africa (RIA), Diálogo regional sobre la sociedad de la información (DIRSI) Sponsored by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and The Information for Development Program of the World Bank (infoDev) 9:00-9:15 Welcome Randy Spence 9:15 – 10.15 ICT Demand, access and usage by the poor Chair: Heloise Emdon, IDRC Telecom Strategies on a Shoestring (Household Income Below USD 100/Month)(PDF download) (LIRNEasia) Ayesha Zainudeen, LIRNEasia team Digital Poverty in LAC (DIRSI) Roxana Barrantes Measuring ICT Access and Usage in Africa (RIA) Alison Gillwald, Christoph Stork 10:30-12:00 Core Networks and Policy Issues Chair: Olivier Nana Nzepa, RIA Having a Backbone; Making Best Use of What You’ve Got (LIRNEasia) Harsha Vardhana Singh, Rohan Samarajiva SADC Universities Connectivity Initiative (RIA) Lishan Adam Telecoms Funds & Regulatory Challenges (DIRSI) Hernan Galperin Universal Service Funds, Access Deficit Charges & Least-cost Subsidy Auctions (PDF download) (LIRNEasia) Harsha de Silva, Payal Malik African Regionalism, National Policy Formation and International Governance (RIA) Lishan Adam, Andrew Barendse 12:00 - 13:15 Extending Access Networks Chair: Ben Petrazzini […]