LIRNEasia’s Lead Economist Harsha de Silva had a dream. It was that information would reduce price volatility and waste in agricultural markets and that both consumers and producers would benefit from better functioning markets. Unlike Jensen who studied the effects of price information communicated through mobiles on the market for “wild” fish and Akers who studied mobiles’ effect on grain markets (a little more complicated than fish, because the decision to grow or not is now a factor and because transportation costs are not negligible), Harsha picked perhaps the hardest of markets: small-scale production of perishable vegetables and fruits. The studies are ongoing. But we now have the ongoing research being implemented as a commercial service: Sri Lanka’s top celco Dialog Telekom is offering a trading platform based on short message services (SMS) that can help farmers to sell their produce and create a forward market for agriculture produce, officials said.
If you believe something, no evidence is necessary, they say, while if you don’t know evidence is adequate. So we are not surprised if users do not agree, but that is what evidence shows. Test results from Feb 2008 and Feb 2009 round shows a clear improvement, when accessing international servers. The broken lines are for 2008, the unbroken for 2009. SLT ADSL and Dialog WiMax were tested both times.
Recessions are not bad for everybody. Proverbial silver line in the cloud, they bring hope to some. Success of the India BPO industry can partially be attributed to the post 9/11 recession. Tighter the economy, cheaper the solutions business looks for. How far onshore rural BPOs cater to the needs of their clients?
“Sri Lanka’s leading mobile operator is creating a broadband revolution. By leveraging HSPA mobile broadband technology, it is bringing affordable access to all levels of society, from the wealthiest businesses to the poorest villages.” Thus starts the GSMA case study on the Dialog mobile broadband. It is just four pages and in easily readable format – but still enough new stuff, that makes it a worthy read. Selected extracts: Dialog estimates that the rural economy generates $350 million per month compared to $110 million in the urban economy.
Maldives is a country with an estimated population of 309,575 (August 2008), 312,527 active mobile SIMs, two mobile operators, and complete cellular coverage of all inhabited atolls, including most of the internal ferry and shipping routes (only a little bit in the one and a half degree channel in not covered, and plans are afoot to give coverage there too). It was also the worst affected in terms of property loss in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on a per capita basis. It is also one of the countries most dependent on tourism revenues. Of all the South Asian countries, it is best positioned to exploit the potential of cell broadcasting both for early warning and for commercial applications. In this light, LIRNEasia was pleased to be invited to conduct a scoping study on cell broadcasting for both public-service and commercial purposes by the Telecom Authority of the Maldives.
Babar Bhatti, who maintains an interesting website on Pakistani telecom developments, has written an interesting post where he calls for simpler tariff plans. Having seen the graphical presentation of Dialog Telekom’s tariff plans in their nice new publication, 077, I am convinced that there is a need for simplification in Sri Lanka too. Surprisingly, I cannot find the publication, or the graphical presentation of the tariff plans, on the Dialog website. Informed consumers exercising consumer sovereignty are the basis of competitive marketplaces. If they cannot figure out the prices they are paying, how can they be sovereign?
The war against porn continues – at full throttle. We are just twelve kilo meters away from porn-free net. Stay tuned. You may hear the good news anytime. Meanwhile ‘National Child Protection Authority of Sri Lanka’, which claims keeping an eye on your child even when you are sleeping, wants to keep an eye on your mobile too.
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.
Dialog Telekom, Sri Lanka’s leading mobile communications service provider announced the launch of its 3G/HSPA service in Manipay Jaffna following the setting up of the 530th 3G Base Station in Manipay, Jaffna. Dialog Telekom earns the distinction of being the first mobile service provider to provide 3G services in Jaffna. Dialog 3G will deliver the unique communication channel of video calling to customers in Jaffna who will now be able to have face to face conversations with their loved ones locally and internationally. Read the full story in Daily Mirror here.
Dialog Telekom and Sri Lanka Telecom won the first and second places respectively among the Business Today’s Sri Lanka Top Ten business firms. President Mahinda Rajapaksa presented the awards at a function organized by the Business Today Magazine. The recipients were Dr. Hans Wijesooriya of Dialog Telekom, Leisha De Silva of Sri Lanka Telecom, Harry Jayewardene of Distilleries and Aitken Spence, Sumithra Gunasekara of John Keells, Rajendra Thyagaraja of Hatton National Bank, Ravi Dias of Commercial Bank, Eran Wickremerathne of NDB Bank, Nustanfer Ali Khan of Ceylon Tobacco and Thila De Soysa of Bukit Darah. Source: Colombopage
Do mobile phones pollute the environment? Sri Lanka’s Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka thinks so. That was why he wants to impose a so called ‘environment tax’ on mobiles, (in fact all phones, but the above newspaper article focuses on mobiles) at two points, when you purchase it and use it. This is on top of the rest of the tax components the mobile users already have to pay. No information to that mobile usage is a serious threat to Sri Lanka’s environment.
Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel, which had announced its entry into the Sri Lankan mobile phone sector with much fanfare last year, is experiencing delays and may well be re-drawing its investment plans for the island country, says a Sri Lankan telecommunication expert. Rohan Samarajeewa, former head of Sri Lanka’s Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC), told IANS that while there was no doubt that Bharti Airtel was committed to operating in Sri Lanka, it had altered its timetable and could well be scaling down its original investment plans. The reasons for the delay in starting the operations were in the realm of speculation, Samarajeewa said. But he did point to a possibility of difficulties in getting frequencies from the TRC, as it is generally recognized that the allotment of frequencies tends to be “highly politicised” in Sri Lanka. The parent company in India could also be changing its priorities as regards capital allocations, in the context of the growing challenges in the more lucrative Indian domestic market, Samarajeewa said.
This past Saturday at a conference organized by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing Harsha de Silva chaired a session with Hans Wijayasuriya of Dialog Telekom, Rohan Samarajiva of LIRNEasia and Keith Modder of Virtusa that addressed issues such as this. One point that ran through the discussion was the need for companies to develop self-regulation to safeguard the trust of their customers. China’s mobile network: a big brother surveillance tool? – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE “We know who you are, but also where you are,” said the CEO of China Mobile Communications Corporation, Wang Jianzhou, whose company adds six million new customers to its network each month and is already the biggest mobile group in the world by users. He was explaining how the company could use the personal data of its customers to sell advertising and services to them based on knowledge of where they were and what they were doing.
The LIRNEasia HazInfo team, Rohan Samarajiva, Nuwan Waidyanatha, Natasha Udu-gama, joined its partners from Sarvodaya, Dialog Telekom and WorldSpace Corporation (India) to present findings from the “Evaluating Last Mile Hazard Information Dissemination” (HazInfo) pilot project at the “Making Communities Disaster Resilient” on December 11, 2007 during the Third Global Knowledge Partnership (GK3) conference in Kuala Lumpur from 11-13 December. The session, moderated by Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, presented findings and analysis within a 90-minute session divided into two mini-sessions on technology and community. Mr. Michael De Soyza of Dialog Telekom and Mrs.
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.
LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE – LBO Sri Lanka’s top celco Dialog Telekom wants to collect a million old phones and recycle them in the next two years in an initiative that will keep dangerous heavy metals from contaminating the environment, officials said. Phone batteries for example have heavy metals such a lead, nickel and cadmium. Dialog is collecting old phones and accessories from today. “In Sri Lanka there are about 10 million mobile phones, and mobile phones become obsolete in two to three years,” says Michael de Soyza from Dialog who heads the project. “Though some are handed down to friends and siblings, eventually they are discarded and are disposed of through the garbage collection system.