India Archives — Page 25 of 43 — LIRNEasia


A study by Professor Rajat Kathuria, ICRIER and International Management Institute New Delhi, is now available. In the paper, Professor Kathuria seeks to assess the impact of decline of leased line prices in Indonesia. It tries to capture this impact through qualitative as well as quantitative impacts. Since the decline in prices occurred recently (2008 April), the period post the decline is not large enough to do a meaningful time series analysis. However, qualitative assessment is made and the impact is compared with India, where decline in leased line prices led to substantial benefits to user industries.
Existing telecom operators may have to pay more than the new players eyeing the 3G space, in the form of annual charge for the 3G spectrum. A committee chaired by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) Joint Secretary J S Deepak has recommended that an operator having 2G spectrum and 5 MHz of 3G spectrum should pay an incremental 1 per cent more than the applicable slab rate for 2G spectrum. The committee, which was set up to suggest annual spectrum charges for 3G, has recommended that due to the efficiency in capital expenditure and synergy in operations, operators having 2G spectrum and acquiring 5 Mhz of 3G spectrum should be charged at a higher rate. GSM 2G operators get 4.4 MHz and CDMA players get 2.
The roll-out plans of new mobile players could be dampened with some of the existing pan-Indian operators demanding higher rates for providing interconnection. This includes higher termination rates (levied for ending calls from a new operator’s subscriber to an incumbent player’s network) and port charges (for accepting traffic from a new player to an existing network). Incumbent operators such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are at an advantageous position because they have a large subscriber base and, therefore, it is necessary for the new players to interconnect. If the new operators do not interconnect with them then their subscribers will not be able to call users on the incumbent player’s network. “The interconnection charges being imposed by the existing players are based on the telecom regulator’s order issued in 2003.
Leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel will launch operations in Sri Lanka in December, a top official announced on Monday. “We will roll out the services next month as all formalities are done and issues relating to inter-connectivity have been sorted out,” Bharti Enterprises vice-chairman and managing director Rajan Mittal told reporters in New Delhi. The telecom giant had been facing problems of inter-connection, with local carriers not willing to give inter-connections to the company. Source: Hindustan Times, Nov 04

Rapid rise in rural telephony in India

Posted on October 27, 2008  /  0 Comments

Few weeks back I heard Senior Director of COAI, Mr T.R. Dua, state that rural teledensity (or access paths/100) now exceeded 10. Having heard numbers as low as 2/100 population just a few years back, I decided to investigate further. The Indian telecom minister, Mr Raja, confirmed that there were now 11 access paths per 100 rural persons.
“We must realize the fact that disasters threaten sustained economic growth of the society and the country.” These were the words of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani addressing the opening ceremony of the first National Disaster Risk Management Conference. The function, reported Associated Press of Pakistan, was organized to mark the Disaster Awareness Day observed annually after the catastrophic earthquake which struck country’s northern areas in October 2005, killing 73,000 people and leaving 3.5 million homeless. On the other side of the border Congress President Sonia Gandhi has said there is a need of effective disaster management to mitigate the woes of the people in future calamities, with floods affecting several districts of Bihar and other parts of the country.
An article entitled, ‘Teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Beyond Universal Access’, co-authored by Harsha de Silva and Ayesha Zainudeen, has been published in Telektronikk, a leading telecommunications journal, published by Telenor, Norway. Appearing in the journal’s second issue for 2008, aptly titled, ‘Emerging Markets in Telecommunications’, the article explores the extent to which “universal access” to telecommunications has been achieved  in Asia, based on findings from LIRNEasia’s five-country study of the use of telecommunication services at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’, namely in India, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Very high levels of access, but low levels of ownership are found. The paper then looks at the potential benefits that these non-owner users are missing out on, and then goes on to look at the key barriers to ownership that are faced by them. The paper estimates that there could be close to 150 million new subscribers at the BOP in these five countries by mid-2008.
Results for Indonesia in LIRNEasia’s Telecom Regulatory Environment survey show an interesting trend. Unlike their counterparts in other countries (Bangladesh, India, Maldives Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand) Indonesia telecom experts have given marks so low for different aspects of their regulatory environment that none of the categories, in any three sectors, meet the average of 3. (The options were from 1 to 5, 1=extremely unsatisfied, 5=excellent service) The one comes nearest is the score for Market Entry in the mobile sector (there are nine players in the market – eight national, one regional) but that too miss the average by 0.05 points. The results do not show a change from the previous (2006) scores.

RTBP m-Health Connect in India

Posted on September 20, 2008  /  2 Comments

This past week, our friends from the Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI) of the Indian Institute of Technology showcased the Real-Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP) at the Connect 2008 exhibition hosted in Chennai, India from September 11-13. The theme of this year’s event, which is the 8th episode, is – Global Competitiveness and Equitable Growth-Driven by Innovation”. The action research: Evaluating a real-time Biosurveillance program, being pilot tested in the state of Tamil Nadu, India and the District of Kurunegala, Sri Lanka over the next 2 years to come is an innovation emphasizing m-Health. The two ladies: Geetha G (left) and Suma Prashanth (right) in the news articel are managing the RTBP project in India, which includes developing the technology and piloting the ICT system with Village Health Nurses in rural Tamil Nadu. At present, the technology partners RTBI, Auton Lab (USA), and Lanka Software Foundation (Sri Lanka) are jointly working on developing the end-to-end disease surveillance and notification software applications.
The Aspen Institute has published a report entitled, ‘m-Powering India: Mobile Communications for Inclusive Growth’ co-authored by Mahesh Uppal and Richard P. Adler, which documents the discussions from the Aspen Institute India/ C & S Joint Roundtable on Communication Policy held in Kovalam, India in February, 2008. LIRNEasia’s Executive Director, Rohan Samarajiva,  participated at the event, which brought together senior representatives from the telecommunications industry, government and academia. The objective of the meeting was to develop policy proposals that would contribute to the development of low-cost and high-quality telecom infrastructure needed to facilitate seamless transactions of mobile commerce. A summary of the main recommendation (as documented in the report) is given below.
State-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) Monday said it has decided to share its network with private telecom companies for roaming agreements. The company will sign the first roaming agreement with new telecom operator Swan Telecom, a BSNL internal circular of the management committee meeting said. This facility will enable subscribers to enjoy seamless connectivity throughout the country. “The memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard may be signed with the seeking operators initially for six months only on non-exclusive and experimental basis,” the circular said. The circular also added that the company would revise the initial charge of 52 paise a minute for every outgoing call after six months, and the incremental additional cost of the upgrade of equipment to provide roaming facilities will be borne by the private operators.

A world free from 9/11s and tsunamis?

Posted on September 12, 2008  /  1 Comments

Exactly seven years from yesterday (still today to some), early in the morning on September 11, 2001, nineteen hijackers took control of four commercial airliners en route to San Francisco and Los Angeles from Boston, Newark, and Washington, D.C. The hijackers flew two of the airliners, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center. Another group of hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon. A fourth flight, United Airlines Flight 93, whose ultimate target was either the United States Capitol or White House, crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Telecom major Bharti Airtel today said the company hopes to start operations in Sri Lanka within this calendar year, despite the delay in getting interconnection from the local operators there. “Discussions are going on with the Sri Lankan telecom regulator and the existing operators there relating to the interconnection issue. It should be sorted out shortly,” company’s CEO Manoj Kohli told reporters here. “We should be in a position to start our operations there before 2008. It is as per our schedule,” he said.
The debate over Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum auctions and internet telephony comes at a time when international organizations and analysts are painting a starkly contrasting picture of the Indian telecom and IT sectors. Recent International Telecommunication Union (ITU) data reveals that the success of India’s telecom revolution is restricted to mobile voice with very little to showcase in fixed line and internet access, or high-speed broadband. For a country that is the global IT and ITeS capital or the world’s back office, its own internet penetration remains one of the lowest in the world. Forecasts are equally uninspiring, projecting high-speed internet access to remain abysmal till 2012. Internet broadband penetration will limp along to eventually reach a measly 3.
While some Asia-Pacific economies are world leaders in information and communication technologies (ICT) where broadband access is ultra-high speed, affordable and close to ubiquitous, in most of the region’s poorer countries Internet access remains limited and predominantly low-speed. This is what ITU’s Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Report for the Asia-Pacific region 2008 says. It was released at ITU TELECOM ASIA 2008, Bangkok, Thailand yesterday (Sept 2, 2008). The Report finds evidence that ICTs and broadband uptake foster growth and development, but the question remains as to the optimal speed that should be targeted in view of limited resources. The area in which the region really stands out is the uptake of advanced Internet technologies, especially broadband Internet access.
Barack Obama stands for Net Neutrality while John McCain sternly opposes. Internet should be open space, says Obama, for anyone to use any application of his/her choice without discrimination. That is like saying the roads are free for anyone to drive any vehicle they like at any time. It sounds good in theory. However, in practice it is a different story.