India Archives — Page 16 of 43


Connectivity, not limited to telecom

Posted on August 1, 2011  /  0 Comments

Because of some work done on India-Sri Lanka services trade, I keep getting invited to speak on related topics, including physical connectivity between India and Sri Lanka. Not sure what good comes of these talks, but . . . Physical connectivity in the southern SAARC region.

One man, 80,000 SIMs

Posted on July 24, 2011  /  3 Comments

I thought the Pakistani man who thought he had 2 SIMs but found 57 had been issued in his name was a story. But India does better, according to NDTV. A man in Mumbai’s suburb Thane region was found with 80,000 Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards. The SIM cards were found at the residence of Anwar Ansari, in Bhiwandi area of Thane. According to reports, Mr Ansari used to run a racket that facilitated international calls.
Since 2004, India has been behind Pakistan on a key indicator: mobile SIMs/100. Few in India wanted to talk about this. But we did. Now finally, India has pulled ahead, as it should. I discuss the reasons in a recent piece done for Pioneer.
The Telecom Policy and Regulatory Environment survey results have been carried in the Economic Times in India. India’s regulatory regime has been found to be the best for mobile phone tariffs but the 2G spectrum allocation controversy has pulled it down in a recent perception survey of seven nations conducted by telecom regulation and policy study firm Lirneasia. “In India, the regulator does not regulate most of the prices where as in other countries, we surveyed, there are regulatory interventions,” Payal Malik, senior research fellow of Lirneasia told PTI. India scored 3.9 for mobile phone tariffs on scale of 1 to 5.
The World Economic Forum has issued its Global Information Technology Report which includes the NRI rankings. I find the sub indices always more instructive but for now, only the top line aggregate rankings are discussed. The big winner, among the countries LIRNEasia works in and the WEF covers, is Indonesia, advancing from 67th place in 2009-10 to 53rd place in 2010-11, a massive jump of 14 places. Sri Lanka has advanced six places from 72nd to 66th. Bangladesh advances three places to 115th, from 118th.
“Often, most cases are suspected cases, with fewer confirmed cases. Patients with symptoms are asked to go for further tests, and this takes time. By the time a good number of confirmed cases are collected, the disease has spread rapidly. From a public health perspective, this is just not good enough. We need to catch it at the out-patient care level, restrict spread to clusters and deliver a cure before it grows into a wider geographical spread.
Policy windows are an important element of LIRNEasia’s work style. More than supply push we believe in demand pull. Does not give us optimal control over our time, but we live to work, not work to live. The period following the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami was clearly a media window, even if we can debate whether it was actually a policy window. LIRNEasia, which does not have ongoing research on disaster early warning was inundated by requests for interviews and articles.
The AT Kearney Global Services Location Index for 2011 is out. I seem to have missed the 2010 report, so comparing with 2009, which I did do a post on. India is still number 1 and China is number 2. No change. Thailand has slipped to 7 from 4, overtaken by Indonesia.
We are not the greatest fans of the Network Readiness Index, but we do believe it matters. Many of these composite indices are built upon questionable data such as the problematic “Internet users/100” indicator. No time at this moment to probe the details, but here are some key takeaways: The study showed the rapid progress of the so-called Asian Tigers, whose governments have invested heavily in technology. Besides Singapore, Taiwan was ranked 6th, South Korea 10th and Hong Kong 12th. Japan was 19th.
When discussing our Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) indicator, we first introduce the concept of regulatory risk. I emphasize that it is not limited to the regulatory agency’s actions, but to all government actions that have a bearing on the operation of the company. The list of woes afflicting Vodafone in India is illuminating. “The combination of the capital gains tax, uncertain regulation and the very tough competitive environment has caused investors to say it wasn’t great timing” to do the deal, said Robert Grindle, an analyst with Deutsche Bank in London. Still, he said, “India is one of the fastest growing assets in Vodafone’s footprint, and without the contribution from India the company would have much lower top line growth than it does.

Design for government

Posted on March 27, 2011  /  0 Comments

Last week I attended a day-long seminar on applying design thinking to government. I wasn’t fully convinced that this was truly novel. But there is no doubt that government does not adequately research the end user of its services. A write up about the event in Mint highlights that aspect: Design thinking denotes an approach to problem-solving, with three distinct aspects. First, users are studiously followed and analysed employing ethnographic tools.
LIRNEasia Senior Research Manager, Ayesha Zainudeen, was recently invited by Sesame Workshop India to give a special address at an action forum entitled, “M for Mobile: Exploring Technology for Social Development in India”, in New Delhi, India. It was organized with support from the Ford Foundation. The two-and-a-half day workshop brought together experts from mobile manufacturers, research, digital technology, service providers, donors, non-profit organizations, and policymakers to brainstorm on how mobiles could be effectively used for improving social development in India. Click here to view her presentation. The conference agenda can be viewed here.

India: Mobiles to eliminate black money

Posted on February 22, 2011  /  1 Comments

LIRNEasia’s IAB member and close collaborator Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala has written a thought-provoking op-ed in the Times of India: Black money thrives in the cash economy. If we introduce traceability in financial transactions, it will be difficult to hide. We can do this using some simple available technologies. It is possible to carry out all transactions in electronic form, where money is transferred from the payer’s bank account to the payee’s. The back-end core banking system of almost all banks allows that.

Doing telecom business in China

Posted on February 16, 2011  /  7 Comments

Talk about coincidence. Just yesterday, on the train to Brussels, I just finished answering a series of questions sent by Voice & Data, the leading ICT industry publication in South Asia. This included a question on whether it would be possible for Indian telcos to do business in China. My answer was “China is a market that is still heavily controlled by the government. I see possibilities for Indian equipment/software/apps suppliers to enter, but believe it is premature to think of Indian operators entering the Chinese market like they have entered African or South Asian markets.
LIRNEasia celebrated Sri Lanka’s 63rd anniversary of Independence by discussing how to bridge the information and knowledge gaps in the rubber and pineapple value chains in the country, based on the extensive value-chain research conducted by LIRNEasia researchers led by Sriganesh Lokanathan over the past six months. In addition, we initiated research planning for value-chain research in Bangladesh, India and Thailand that will constitute the Knowledge-Based Economies module of LIRNEasia’s current research cycle. Participants from Bangladesh, India, Korea, Nepal and Thailand participated in the rich discussion. Experts from within Sri Lanka included agriculture and demand-side research specialists. The summary report will be posted shortly.

Perils of protectionist talk

Posted on January 23, 2011  /  1 Comments

I lived in the US at the peak of the scare stories focused on Japan. I now live in Sri Lanka at the peak of scare stories focused on India. The following should be educative to the scare-mongers: Economic events and market trends are notoriously unpredictable. In the early 1980s, the Japanese high-technology assault on the American computer and semiconductor industry seemed scary. “What are our kids supposed to do?