India Archives — Page 23 of 43


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.
Detailed findings from LIRNEasia’s Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) study conducted in 2008, have been published in Voice&Data, India’s only magazine on the business of communications, including analyses on the business, technology and regulatory aspects of Indian telecom and networking: Telecom growth is phenomenal in some emerging nations of the Asia Pacific region, but the risk attached to investments in each country varies. Pakistan scores the highest in five parameters, while India tops in one in the Telecom Regulatory Environment survey. Read the full article here.  Findings from the TRE study were presented in Delhi, India, last week, at a panel discussion, co-organized by Voice&Data.
In the third round, LIRNEasia has extended the testing to one more location. With that we have tested two packages in New Delhi (MTNL and AirTel), two in Chennai (BSNL and AirTel), five in Colombo (SLT ADSL, Dialog WiMax, Dialog 3G, Dialog 3G Unlimited and Mobitel Zoom 890) and two in Dhaka (SKYbd and Sirius). A strenuous task for five teams, no doubt, who took readings at different times staring from 8 am and went up to 11.00 pm (some had to spend nights at offices) but results are worth the effort. What did we learn?
LIRNEasia will present findings from the Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) 2008 study at a panel discussion today, in Delhi, India. Organized in association with Voice and Data, the event entitled, ‘The Challenging Policy and Regulatory Environment’, will be held at Le Meridien Hotel, Delhi from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Contention Ratios varying from 1:50 and 1:20 (Can be relaxed a bit in residential as the links are not shared) is what LIRNEasia and TeNet jointly proposed, but Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) thought it best to adopt 1:50 and 1:30. According to ‘Guidelines for service providers providing Internet/broadband services for ensuring better quality of service’TRAI issued on March 2, 2009, ISPs are expected not only to maintain contention ratios above these values but also be open to subscribers on what they will deliver – instead of promises they cannot make. In addition we received some publicity from Indian online media. Good to know people start taking notes. More on LIRNEasia’s Rapid Response program here.
Given coincidence of the SAARC Minister’s meeting and the release of LIRNEasia’s twice-a-year price benchmarks, I was tempted to see how much progress had been achieved, with regard to the Colombo Declaration’s para 6 which called for low intra-SAARC international voice tariffs. Not much progress to report, unfortunately. On the fixed side, the only countries with intra-SAARC tariffs lower than to non-SAARC countries, are Bhutan and Nepal. Bhutan, because it has a special price for India (other SAARC prices are high) and Nepal because it has not changed its extremely high tariff structure (and the lower-by-comparison intra-SAARC prices). Lanka Bell in Sri Lanka offers low prices to India, but our methodology does not capture that, because we take the prices of the largest operator, SLT.
The intention of this blog is to share the user requirements captured during the business analysis phase of the real time biosurveillance program. The state of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lankan business cases are documented in the report. Any changes can be discussed in this blog itself.
Last year, several LIRNEasia researchers were pleased to work with Nokia on explaining the reasons behind South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) being the only countries with a TCO [total cost of ownership] below USD 5/month, when the average for almost 80 countries studied was USD 13.15. According to the latest issue of Nokia’s Expanding Horizons magazine (p. 10), the TCO has come down further, to USD 10.88.
The village Health Nurse (VHN) is a rural last mile primary health care worker – duties ranging from holding medical camps in schools to running a Health Service Center (HSC) in the village providing primary health care to walking door-to-door providing antenatal and post natal care. These mobile services require proper documentation; the paper work is later converted to statistics that is reviewed by the district and state Health Officials. An idea Sir Gee is to replace the 2 heavy bags with a 100gram mobile phone with built in applets to capture the same data. The Real Time Biosurveillance Program, an m-Health pilot carried out by Indian Institute of Technology Madras’s Rural Technology and Business Incubator in the Thirupathur block, to begin with, will be field testing the mobile concept of capturing the necessary and sufficient morbidity data for aggregate reports and disease surveillance. Lessons from this pilot will provide enough insight to develop the remaining applets to replace the heavy bags.
Mr Narayana Murthy of Infosys has always been a straight-talker and a clear thinker. The Sri Lanka President deserves congratulations on picking him as his advisor. He will give good advice. We hope the President will take the advice. Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday appointed N R Narayana Murthy, chairman of India’s Infosys Technologies, as his international advisor on information technology, the president’s office said.
In the course of her research on India’s telecom policy and regulatory environment, LIRNEasia Senior Research Fellow Payal Malik calculated the HHIs for different circles in India and found them to be very low.  Drawing on other TRE research and the literature, she has made a comparative assessment of the level of competition in India and a prognostication on the direction of mobile tariffs in an interview with the Economic Times. Lirneasia’s senior research fellow Payal Malik had published the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) – the index for market concentration – in the telecom markets of South Asian countries, last year. Lower the HHI, higher the competitiveness in a market. India’s turned out to be the lowest at 2000, as compared to Indonesia’s 3400 and Thailand’s 3900.

On the cons of satellites

Posted on February 13, 2009  /  4 Comments

Satellites were the darlings of the development set back when I was in grad school in the 1980s.   When I returned to Sri Lanka and started working at the Arthur C. Clarke Centre for Modern Technologies, one of my assignments was to get Sri Lanka connected to the Internet via satellite.  It didn’t, and I left. As a result, I’ve acquired quite a bit of knowledge on satellites along the way.
As a trial the State of Tamil Nadu, in India, is piloting the use of mobile phones with Village Health Nurses (VHN) to talk with the Deputy Director of Health Service (DDHS) and Public Health Center (PHC) staff as and when they need. Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (IITM) will add on a m-Health Survey application to add value to the mobile phones for the VHN to share patient disease and syndrome information. Besides digitizing health records, the VHN are eager to learn other communcation features such as SMS, WWW (GPRS), and Email. Team of Researchers from IITM’s Rural Technology and Buisness Incubator (RTBI) visited with the Thirupathur Block VHNs to outline the Real-Time Biosurveillance Program, a pilot project carried out in India and Sri Lanka. The meeting is documented in the “IITM VHN meeting report“.
Today, Lanka Bell (the cable partner of Reliance through Flag), announced that calls to India would henceforth cost LKR 0.07 a minute, among the lowest IDD rates offered.   They have not got around to updating their website, but newspaper ads should count for something. What is causing downward pressure on international call rates to India?  Just a short time back, Dialog cut prices to India.

Are mobilephone markets saturated?

Posted on February 4, 2009  /  0 Comments

According to analysts who see the world as made up of the US market, yes: Analysts and investors are beginning to ask whether the industry can continue growing. The challenge is both simple and daunting: how to expand when more than half of the six billion people on the planet already have phones. And even in developing countries where there are underserved markets, subscribers spend less on phones and services. Craig Moffett, an industry analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, is one of the skeptics.
Several of the pilot projects presented at the 2nd Pan Asian evidence-based e-Health adoptation and application (in short form – Panacea), were m-Health projects. One of the Panacea projects THIRRA and LIRNEasia lead RTBP share some aspects one being working on disease information communication in Sri Lanka; however, differs in the goals where THIRRA aims to digitize the H-544 health form at the Public Health Inspector’s point of service – at the patient’s home. On the other hand, RTBP will digitize minimal set of parameters: location (postal code), disease (ICD Code), symptom, sign, age, and gender collected from health provider facilities. Some of the other m-Health projects; especially in Philippines, involved Filipino rural community health care workers strictly using SMS with prearranged formatted strings for communicating field data to a central database. Prof.