India Archives — Page 28 of 43


LIRNEasia researchers will participate at the International Communication Association conference in Montreal, Canada, May 21-26, 2008. Rohan Samarajiva will present a paper based on LIRNEasia‘s study on the gendered aspects of telecommunications use in emerging Asia, entitled, ‘Who’s Got the Phone? The Gendered Use of Telephones at the Bottom of the Pyramid‘. Abstract: ‘Much has been said about women’s access to and use of the telephone. Many studies conclude that a significant gender divide in access exists particularly in developing countries.
According to LIRNEasia’s latest comparative study of price and affordability indicators in eight South Asian countries, Bangladesh emerges as having the lowest average monthly cost of using a mobile at all levels of use (low, medium and high) for different tariff plans (prepaid and postpaid). Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka follow closely, while Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan are seen to have significantly higher average monthly mobile costs. The study compares mobile tariffs in South Asia using price baskets, derived from those used by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The baskets are calculated for low, medium and high users for pre- as well as postpaid tariff plans, factoring in usage charges (voice and SMS), line rental, connection charges (depreciated over a three year period), and applicable taxes. For more information on results and methodology, please click HERE.
Sri Lanka’s state-run Bank of Ceylon has tied up with an Indian mobile commerce firm to start a text message based electronic payment system that could overtake credit card transactions, officials said.   Bank of Ceylon’s new service allows its six million customers to use pay shops that join the system at the cost of a text message using a system developed by India’s, PayMate. The mobile transaction service will initially start with selected large merchants like SriLankan Airlines, Odel, Singer, Abans and Stone & String before linking up retailers in rural areas. “This opens a lot of avenues to merchants because we are bringing them six million of our customers,” Bank of Ceylon’s IT chief Nissanka Janaratne said. Read the full report in LBO here.
In a major development, the Ministry of Communications & IT has cleared applications of nine telecom aspirants and is close to issuing them Letters of Intent (LoIs).    This will be followed by issuance of universal access service (UAS) licences and allocation of spectrum.    The LoIs will be issued during the week, if not tomorrow. However, the allocation of spectrum would take some time as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) was finalising the amount of vacant spectrum, sources close to the development said.    The proposals of the new applicants were pending with the telecom ministry after the DoT’s approval last month.
On 5 March 2008, LIRNEasia in partnership with the Indonesian Institute for Disaster Preparedness (IIDP) will hold the third and final “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning: Community-based Last-Mile Warning Systems” workshop at the Hotel Borobodur in Jakarta, Indonesia. Rohan Samarajiva, Natasha Udu-gama and Nuwan Waidyanatha will participate and speak at the event alongside several Indonesian speakers from various governmental, community-based and international NGOs such as BAKORNAS PB, Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), KOGAMI Padang and GTZ GITEWS. As in past HazInfo workshops in India and Bangladesh, the Indonesia workshop will not only discuss findings from the “Evaluating Last Mile Hazard Information” pilot project, but also exchange lessons learned from Indonesian counterparts.
Vodafone to launch mobile phone money transfer service in Afghanistan – Yahoo! News “This is really the early days, but when you see the low banking penetration in emerging markets, compared to rapidly growing mobile penetration, the potential is very big,” said James Moberly, senior manager for payment solutions at Vodafone on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress here. The GSM Association, the global mobile phone industry body, estimates that about a dozen such schemes involving money transfer services are in operation throughout the world, with 10 million users. Vodafone plans to launch cash transfer services soon in India and other African countries. “You can send money, withdraw cash, pay your bills or your loan, and all this is within seconds,” said Aleeda Fazal, head of product development at Afghan group Roshan, which is the partner for Vodafone in the troubled country.
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.
LIRNEasia has come up with startling evidence on how transaction costs in agriculture could be reduced by simple mobile phone applications. The organization’s Lead Economist, Dr. Harsha de Silva called for a multi-stakeholder action plan to implement a series of actions that would help poor farmers as well as consumers by reducing information costs in agricultural markets and value chains. He was speaking at a panel following a public lecture by Indian Institute of Management Professor, Subhash C. Bhatnagar, who spoke on the benefits of ICT applications to farmers, taking India as an example.

Mobile investment boom in India foretold

Posted on February 20, 2008  /  0 Comments

Telecom sector to see funds bonanza, tariff cuts – Business News – News – MSN India – News India’s booming mobile services market will see investments of over Rs 100,000 crore (around $24 billion) by 2010, the fastest investment ramp-up seen in any telecom market globally even as analysts predict a bruising battle that will see tariffs fall sharply. The investments include between Rs 48,000 crore and 60,000 crore ($12 billion to $15 billion) from six new telecom players (including Reliance and Tatas’ proposed GSM mobile services) over 12 to 24 months to create capacity for 250 million more mobile subscribers. This fresh investment will be over and above the estimated Rs 48,000 crore ($12 billion) being put in by incumbents like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Essar, Idea Cellular, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices (the latter two for ramping up CDMA mobile operations) in 2008-09 alone. Powered by ScribeFire.
Rohan Samarajiva participated in the Third Annual ‘Joint Roundtable on Communications Policy – The Future of Indian Mobile’ in Kovalam, India from 7-9 February. The Round table was organized by the Aspen Institute India in collaboration with the Aspen Institute, USA. The objective of the conference was to convene Indian and American business leaders, government policy-makers, leading academics, and other experts to discuss government and business approaches to mobile commerce, mobile banking and m-governance that will have a positive effect on India’s economic and social development.
21 – 23 February 2008 at Kandalama Hotel, Kandalama, Sri Lanka LIRNEasia hosted a Workshop to discuss the policy level implications and business level possibilities of using ICTs to reduce transaction costs in the agricultural value chain as well as to improve traceability and enhance quality of products sold. The Workshop brought together key stakeholders consisting of policy makers, private and public sector participants and researchers, both in agriculture and ICT. It was based on the pilot projects conducted by LIRNEasia in 2007, which was discussed in detail at the Workshop. All presentations made at the Workshop can be found below: Traceability: International Perspective – Visoot Phongsathorn Linking Sri Lankan farmers to global markets – Dr. Harsha de Silva Traceability in agricultural markets – Shamistra Soysa Benefits of ICT applications to farmers with emphasis on transaction costs: experiences from India – Prof.

Need for redundancy highlighted again

Posted on January 31, 2008  /  1 Comments

Indian outsourcing sector hit by Internet disruption – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE India’s vital outsourcing industry, which relies heavily on the Internet, was grappling with a major communications disruption Thursday after damage to undersea cables thousands of kilometres away in the Mediterranean. Internet connections may take up to 15 days to return to normal, businesses said, adding that telecommunications in neighbouring Bangladesh and Sri Lanka were also affected. Powered by ScribeFire.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has said that mobile operators may be pushing consumers to give up fixed line telephone by charging a higher tariff for cell-to-fixed line calls. The regulator has asked the operators to stop the differential tariff as it was not justified. “The differential and higher charges levied by cellular service providers for calls to fixed lines do not have adequate justification. This can be viewed as an attempt to promote substitution of fixed line traffic by mobile traffic and may lead to forced substitution of fixed lines by mobiles, thereby reducing the target market for fixed line broadband,” senior TRAI officials said. Read the full story in ‘The Hindu – Business Line’ here.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Wednesday (Jan 23) recommended guidelines for rolling out mobile television services to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on various issues related to licensing and technology. TRAI has suggested that the choice of broadcasting technology should be left to the service providers but should be recognised by an authorised body. There are broadly two routes for providing mobile television services. One is operated by using the telecom network with spectrum already allotted to Unified Access Service License (UASL) and Cellular Mobile Telephone Service (CMTS) licensees, and the other using broadcasting method using separate spectrum. According to TRAI, telecom operators with CMTS or UASL licenses will not require any further licence or permission for offering mobile television services on their own network using the frequency or spectrum already allotted to them.
State-owned telco BSNL on Monday said it plans to launch India’s biggest IPO to raise over US$10 billion. “The company is valued at well over US$100 billion. We are looking at offloading up to 10% stake, subject to government approval,” BSNL finance director S K Saxena told reporters. When asked about the development, telecom minister A Raja said: “The government is considering it (an IPO). The department of telecom (DoT) will discuss the issue and take a final decision soon”.
A United Nations survey of global e-government readiness has found that many Asian countries are sliding down the rankings. Just one Asian country—South Korea—made the top ten coming in at sixth, with Japan next on 11th.   The next highest was Singapore at a surprisingly low 23rd, and Malaysia at 34th. The top 35 countries are otherwise dominated by Europe, Australasia and North America.  The biggest revelation was that most Asian countries are sliding down the rankings.