In the process of trying to deflate inflation numbers (not inflation), the Government of Sri Lanka has removed alcohol and tobacco from the new price index because they are socially undesirable (not because government taxes are driving those prices through the roof) and included for the first time mobile phone charges. This is a positive move for a government that has imposed an additional 7.5 per cent levy on mobile charges (the government currently takes LKR 26.50 of every LKR 100 spent on mobiles through value-added and mobile-specific taxes). At least this should bury the misconception that mobiles are used only by the rich.
Greeting people by text message (SMS) has become a general behavior. Cellular mobile networks are tolerant to processing such messages on birthdays, weddings and other personal events of their customers. But the networks get chocked when gigantic wave of messages hit the airwaves. New Year is one such event when the mobile phone networks continue processing billions of messages for quite a while. But all networks are not necessarily capable of handing the traffic of text even in the developed economies.
Click on the links to see the full articles covering LIRNEasia’s book, ICT Infrastructure in Emerging Asia: Policy and Regulatory Roadblocks. ‘BSNL’s monopoly over infrastructure a hindrance to growth’ – Financial Express (India) Rural connectivity is now the focus of every telecommunication player in the country. Almost all stakeholders, from handset manufacturers to service providers, believe that the next wave of growth is in the rural areas.”However, India’s roll out (of telecom services) in rural areas has been slow. BSNL has the backbone infrastructure but is not yet ready to share it with private players,” he added.
Swami is an employee of My Mobile store in Noida can tell how the mobile business at his store has been dwindling in one of the most popular markets in New Delhi region for mobile phones and its accessories. Before January, My Mobile would sell goods worth about Rs 2.5 lakh on any given Sunday but sales started dipping about four to five months ago and the Sunday before Christmas, which should have been a busy period, with sales being down in the range of Rs1 lakh. “Our future is in danger,” Swami says pointing to a Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications’ service centre that doubles as mobile phone retail store located bang opposite My Mobile outlet. The Sony store opened a year ago.
Calgary’s 22-year-old Piotr Staniaszek subscribed the Bell Mobility $10 unlimited mobile internet plan. But he was hammered with a whooping $85,000 bill in less than two months! Because Mr. Staniaszek plugged his mobile phone with a PC and happily downloaded high-definition movies using the “unlimited” mobile internet plan. Bell says its “unlimited plan” is applicable for browsing internet from mobile device only – not using the gadget as a modem and browsing the net from PC.
Among the five countries LIRNEasia has conducted its survey on teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP), which country do you think we found people who are least willing to share their mobile phone with a another? (a) India (b) Pakistan (c) Philippines (d) Sri Lanka (e) Thailand This was one of the interesting questions asked during the interactive quiz show at the LIRNEasia organized session at GK3, ‘Teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid’. The session addressed issues like the misconceptions about the teleuse (including Internet) at the BoP; exact nature of the demand at the BoP (in terms of using common facilities, getting connected, staying connected); strategic behaviours do users at the BoP engage in and policy and regulatory barriers stand in the way of the BoP being served. Team Blue emerged as clear winners scoring 105 marks against 35 scored by Team Red. Part 2 of the quiz show will be there today (Dec 13) from 14:00 – 15:30 hrs @ Room 302, Level 3, KLCC.
Buzzcity got the top award for mobile networking applications at the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress held in November 2007. This blog describes how they are changing their charging structure, partially based on LIRNEasia research. gammalife: BUILDING MOBILE COMMUNITIES We organised a session of BuzzCity-NUS Digital Media Forum a few weeks ago with presentation by Dr. Rohan Samarajiva, who leads a regional ICT policy group called LIRNEasia. His group had a done a study across five Asian nations – India, Pakistan, The Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand – and asked people the main reason why they use a mobile phone.
India’s Bharti Airtel, China Mobile and PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia are UBS’s top three telecom investment picks in Asia for 2008, as their home markets enjoy strong growth rates. “Growth features such as rising consumption, elasticity of demand and economies of scale will continue to be the main themes for the growth markets, including China, India and Indonesia, which are still under-appreciated by investors, in our view,” UBS said in a report. India and China, the world’s fastest-growing mobile markets, added around 8 million mobile phone subscribers in October, taking their user base to approximately 217 million and 531 million, respectively. Read the full story in Forbes.com
A new documentary film, titled Teleuse@BOP, recently produced by TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP) and based on LIRNEasia’s study on Teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid, highlights a communication revolution happening in Asia’s emerging telecommunication markets. When it comes to using phones, the film says, people at the bottom of the income pyramid are no different from anyone else; they value the enhanced personal security, including emergency communications, and social networking benefits. Increasingly, poor people are not content with just using public phones or shared access phones (belonging friends or family). They see a utility and social value of having their own phones.
Asian National Statistical Offices should consider inserting a question on telephones into their household surveys that will capture this. Telephony | Mobile homes | Economist.com NEARLY half of Lithuanian households now use just a mobile phone rather than having a fixed line at home too, according to the European Union’s statistical office. The Finns, fast adopters of technology, are close behind with 47% of households ditching the home phone. People from Central and Eastern Europe are more likely to have only a mobile phone, perhaps because fewer households had a fixed line in the first place.
Yunnan-based Chinese companies are offering cheap phones and illegal mobile service in the North of Burma, according to a research report, prompting the military authorities to seize all Chinese mobile phones. It says the Chinese providers are “taking advantage of the inability of the Myanmar military junta to provide satisfactory and affordable mobile phone services in the Shan State and the Kachin State areas of North Myanmar.” Read more.
Informa Telecoms & Media reveals that worldwide mobile penetration will hit 50 per cent – or around 3.3 billion subscriptions – on Thursday, just over 26 years since the first cellular network was launched. Since its birth in 1981, when the first mobile telephony network was switched on in Scandinavia, the mobile phone has become one of the world’s great success stories. As of the end of September there were operational networks in 224 countries around the globe, a figure that has increased from 192 in 1997 and 35 in 1987. Informa estimates that mobile networks covered 90 per cent of the global population by mid-2007.
Verizon Wireless to Open Its Network – New York Times In a major shift for the mobile phone industry, Verizon Wireless said yesterday that it planned to give customers far more choice in what phones they could use on its network and how they use them. While there are technical limitations involved, the company’s move could lead to an American wireless market that is more like those in Europe and Asia, where a carrier’s customers can use any compatible phone to easily reach a wide array of online services — and take their phones with them when they switch companies. The move, which surprised industry watchers because Verizon Wireless is known to be highly protective of its traditional business, is part of a larger shift in the communications world. Powered by ScribeFire.
The Malaysian government will withdraw some WiMAX licenses “as the market is too crowded.” Earlier this year, the government gave licenses to four companies to operate WiMAX. But they have failed to perform, the country’s concerned minister has alleged. And that’s why the Malaysian government has now decided to revoke the licenses. Read more.
Though not focused on the BOP like the LIRNEasia teleuse@BOP survey, this interesting survey appears to have reached similar conclusions. Pulse Asia Inc. – About Us Thirty-four percent of Filipinos use a cellular phone, while 66% do not. Cellphone usage is higher in urban areas (48%) than in rural areas (19%), with the highest level of usage in Metro Manila (51%). (See Table 1) As may be expected, cellphone use is proportionately higher among the upper Class ABC (63%) than among the poorest Class E (17%).
Although some of the major news agencies were reporting that SMS and cell phone coverage had been jammed, it was only partially true with parts of Islamabad being taken off at times. However, given some of the activists’ experience with disaster relief communications, many groups knew that SMS couldn’t be censored (Pakistan’s Telecoms Authority generally use cheap mobile jamming devices which had proven ineffective in the past). Added to the fears that the internet may be taken offline in the weeks ahead (this hasn’t happened in Pakistan yet) and the growing concerns over the clampdown of independent media in Pakistan, a coalition . . .