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.
The number of voice calls being made has remained steady over the past two years, but text messages sent and received have increased by a staggering 450 percent. At the end of 2007, text messaging had just overtaken voice calls 218 to 213. But by the end of the second quarter of this year, an average mobile phone subscriber placed or received 204 calls, compared with sending or receiving 357 text messages. Teens between the ages of 13 and 17 now send or receive 1,742 messages per month, compared to the second-highest age group, 18 to 24 year olds, who send and receive about 790 messages. Read the story in Wired News or New York Times.
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 […]
Proposals to slash the cost of using mobile phones abroad, for text, data and voice calls, could become law next July following a vote in Brussels. The European Parliament is to vote on whether roaming costs for text messages should be capped. The cost of sending a message is expected to eventually fall by 60% from an average of 23 pence to 9 pence. Voice calls would fall from 36 to 27 pence a minute and customers would be able to set limits on data downloads. A reluctant mobile phone industry first had limits on its roaming charges imposed by the EU in September 2007.
Considering five fundamental rights applications yesterday (Sept 22), the Supreme Court issued an interim order against the implementation of the Environment Tax, reported Lanka Dissent. The petitioners were Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, Ven. Kiniyawala Palitha Thera, Telshan Network and Swarnavahini. The SC ordered the immediate suspension of the gazette notification announcing the new tax, and fixed December 01st as the next day of hearing.
Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Dr. Muhammad Yaseen has said that data usage is increasing in Pakistan and proliferation of broadband services will help establish Information Society. He was talking in a seminar on The Future of Mobile Communications in Pakistan. Chairman PTA said that for mobile phone industry future direction could be value addition and innovation in services including mobile commerce, video streaming, and high speed mobile internet. He said presently broadband costs are high in the country but broadband usage was showing growth in the recent quarter.
A campaign to crackdown on people making nuisance calls as well as hoax calls to emergency services was launched yesterday.It will require all mobile phone owners in Bahrain registering with their operators before the end of the year. Telecommunication Regulatory Authority general director Alan Horne said that there were around 600,000 Batelco and Zain mobile telephone owners whose names were not registered. People who use pre-paid cards will be asked to register their telephones at Batelco and Zain offices as from September 1 and those who fail to do so will only be able to receive and make emergency calls as of January 1. They will have to turn up at one of the operators’ offices with identification.
Responding to Rohan Samarajiva’s views on newly implemented Environmental levy in Lankadeepa last week, Central Environmental Authority Chairman Udaya Gammanpila calls it essential and the ‘first progressive tax’ in Sri Lanka. Assuring it does not burden public, he says any tax can be initially unpopular but the impact should be seen in long term. (Lankadeepa, August 19, 2008) These are his points in brief: 1. If not for the Environmental levy, the government has to find money to address environmental issues by increasing either VAT or customs charges. That will raise prices in general.
Central Environmental Authority Chairman Udaya Gammanpila calls the new ‘Environmental tax’ essential, pro-poor and progressive. Releasing used mobile phones and CFL bulbs to environment is dangerous, he warns, with a long list of hazardous chemicals that would perhaps put a chemistry professor to shame. He wants to collect them for recycling. The tax money will be used to build recycling plants. Not everybody agrees.
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.
In one of the most significant legal rulings in the tech industry this year, a Superior Court judge in California has ruled that the practice of charging consumers a fee for ending their cell phone contract early is illegal and violates state law. The preliminary, tentative judgment orders Sprint Nextel to pay customers $18.2 million in reimbursements and, more importantly, orders Sprint to stop trying to collect another $54.7 million from California customers (some 2 million customers total) who have canceled their contracts but refused or failed to pay the termination fee. While an appeal is inevitable, the ruling could have massive fallout throughout the industry.
A recent LIRNEasia media outreach effort timed to coincide with the upcoming SAARC Summit in Colombo has been picked up by AFP. Leaving aside the question of the operators in the SAARC countries collectively lowering their termination rates to make possible more reasonable intra-SAARC call charges, the data also show that Pakistan has the overall lowest international telecom prices and Nepal has the highest. Hopefully, some of these prices will come down, now that the comparisons have been made! South Asian leaders urged to slash telco tariffs – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE Calls were cheapest in Pakistan, where fixed and mobile phone users pay three US cents a minute to call many non-SAARC destinations, including the United States and Hong Kong. But users pay 12 US cents to call Bangladesh and India.
In a TV interview yesterday, I said that the new anti-sharing and certificate-carrying rules promulgated by the TRC would affect the poor disproportionately, because the rich could buy their children phones, while sharing was the only option for most Sri Lankans. Indeed, a special package for parents wanting to be in touch with their children in these uncertain times has been just announced (below). But the question that a commenter raised on the other discussion thread is whether it is any longer possible to buy a mobile for your own child. If a National ID is required to own a SIM, and the child does not have a NIC, it seems to follow that the child cannot have a mobile. Has anyone studied the ramifications of the rule before running press notices?
Europe’s mobile phone industry will today mount a last-ditch effort to ward off strict price caps on text messages and data downloads within the EU by warning that heavy regulation is cutting capital spending and profit margins. With Viviane Reding, EU telecoms commissioner, poised to propose a new round of price caps this month, mobile operators claim their capital spending has already slipped from 13% of revenues in 2005 to 11% last year – and could fall further. The GSM Association – the global trade body representing more than 750 GSM mobile phone operators – citing data from a study by management consultants, says the industry’s return on capital employed was as low as 7% in 2007 or less than half that of other significant sectors such as steel and software. Sources said this gives the lie to Reding’s claim that it is making excessive profits from “roaming” services in the EU. Read the full stiry in the Guardian here.
Indonesia’ competition watchdog found six mobile phone providers guilty of price fixing, which may have cost consumers more than $300 million in additional rates. The Business Competition Supervisory Commission says the companies formed a cartel to keep tariffs for text messaging artificially high. The companies include Telkomsel, Telkom and Smart Telecom. They were given fines totaling more than eight million dollars. Source: Voice of America
Mobile broadband could be bundled with standard contracts as early as 2009, a broadband comparison site has claimed. If the current rate of price-cutting continues, mobile broadband will soon be perceived as free of charge, according to Top 10 Broadband. “Competition is reaching its zenith in the mobile broadband market,” said Jessica McArdle, a spokeswoman at Top 10 Broadband. “It is only a matter of time before mobile broadband modems are offered for free in conjunction with mobile phone packages in the same way as ISPs such as TalkTalk currently offer ‘free’ home broadband with home phone deals.” Read the full story here.