Does not compute | Economist.com “PROLIXITY is not alien to us in India,” admits Amartya Sen in his essay “The Argumentative Indian”. “We do like to speak.” He supports his contention with quotations from India’s classical texts, but it is also borne out by India’s phone habits. The average owner of a mobile handset spends 471 minutes (almost eight hours) on the phone each month, and sends 39 text messages.
At Wireless World Research Forum meeting currently held in Chennai, there were two presentations on Mesh Networking. While Chanuka Wattegama of LIRNEasia spoke about the Sri Lankan experience, Sharad Jaiswal of Bell Labs, India presented a similar initiative in Bangalore. There were many similarities between the two on the approach. VillageNet, the Bangalore initiative, is a low cost IEEE 802.11 WiFi based mesh network designed for connecting villages in rural India, providing low-cost broadband Internet access for wide regions.
Paper titled: Challenges of Optimizing Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) for SMS based GSM Devices in Last-Mile Hazard Warnings in Sri Lanka (authors N. Waidyanatha – LIRNEasia, D. Dias – University of Moratuwa, and H. Purasinghe – Microimage) was presented at the 19th Meeting of the Wireless World Research Forum (WWRF), in Chennai, India, 5-7 November, 2007. The paper was discussed in Working Group 1 – Human Perspective and Service Concepts (WG1).
There was a big story about SMS use declining in India. The response to a question whether Sri Lanka SMS use is declining like in India was answered in the negative by Supun Weerasinghe, the new CEO of Dialog Mobile (Hans Wijayasuriya is now the Group CEO). The question was triggered by the decline of SMS and VAS revenues from LKR 1,468 m in 2006 3Q (8% of total revenues) to LKR 1,223 m in 2007 3Q (5% of total revenues).
i4d : The first monthly magazine on ICT4D Our vision is to build a new outsourcing model to provide employment in rural India with the following objectives: New sources of skill enhancement – currently the opportunities available in rural areas are either related to agriculture or skills like masonry. Such opportunities will introduce the rural workforce to a new set of skills. Increasing the purchasing power – new sources of income from the rural BPOs will ensure greater purchasing capability and help improve the quality of life in rural areas. Increasing the income earning capacity of rural Internet kiosks – Additional revenue from DesiCrew would also make the existing Internet based businesses more viable. Reducing the gender divide – Educated young girls and housewives who cannot traverse distances can be brought into the workforce, hence enabling the enhancement in existing household income levels.
i4d, a reputed Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) magazine, recently featured an article co-written by LIRNEasia researcher Ayesha Zainudeen based on LIRNEasia‘s Teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid study conducted in 2006. The article highlights the study’s main findings with a special emphasis on the gendered aspects of telecommunications use at the BOP. Phones at the bottom of the pyramid: Telecom Accessibility – i4d Magazine In a 2006 five-country study, which was conducted by LIRNEasia, researchers asked 6,269 respondents in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Thailand about their access to, and use of telephones. Those surveyed were all users at the lowest socio-economic strata in the countries, at ‘the bottom of the pyramid’ (BOP). Their responses revealed many differences between users in the five countries, but more interestingly, inter-country inequalities in phone use between men and women.
A new report from Portico Research reveals that over half of the population of the entire world will have a mobile phone by 2008. The study predicts that the global mobile penetration rate will pass the 50 per cent mark next year, with a further 1.5 billion new mobile phone subscribers expected to join their ranks over the next four years. Portico Research says global mobile penetration rate will be at 75 per cent by 2011. It is now believed that some 65 per cent of these “new-to-the-world” users will come from the Asia Pacific region, rather than from Africa as has previously been though most likely, with the majority being from rural regions in countries such as India and Pakistan.
Does Sri Lanka have a comparative advantage in tuition? Hello, India? I Need Help With My Math – New York Times A leading candidate to watch, according to analysts, is TutorVista, a tutoring service founded two years ago by Krishnan Ganesh, a 45-year-old Indian entrepreneur and a pioneer of offshore call centers. Concerns about the quality of K-12 education in America and the increased emphasis on standardized tests is driving the tutoring business in general. Traditional classroom tutoring services like Kaplan and Sylvan are doing well and offer online features.
If I.T. Merged With E.T. – New York Times To appreciate that potential, look at how much is being done with just car batteries, backup diesel generators and India’s creaky rural electricity grid.
In internal discussions, I had expressed skepticism about Facebook/Linked In type services for anything other than social interactions. But it looks like I am being slowly proven wrong! In India, Poverty Inspires Technology Workers to Altruism – New York Times Manohar Lakshmipathi does not own a computer. In fact, in India workmen like Mr. Manohar, a house painter, are usually forbidden to touch clients’ computers.
India’s mobile phone market has become the fastest growing in the world, with Indians adding nearly six million new connections every month. As Anjana Pasricha of VoA reports from New Delhi, much of the growth is among low-income consumers. Telecom companies are going all out to woo such customers, offering them deals that make cell phones affordable for even those who earn as little as $125 a month. Handsets are available for $45. Users can buy new pre-paid phone cards for less than 50 cents.
New Delhi, (PTI): Cellular operators in the country have asked the Government to go slow on devising regulations on Mobile TV, saying that the technology is “nascent” and the customer behaviour still uncertain. “This is a nascent business and therefore, no decision should be taken which will restrict the development of the market or foreclose technological options,” the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has told the telecom and broadcast regulator TRAI. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had last month issued a consultation paper for the stakeholders on issues relating to mobile television. “Various technology solutions are being tested in the global marketplace. It is also important to recognise that customer behaviour and demands are also evolving,” the operators said.
Foreign telecom investors, who hold significant stake in India telecom companies, are exploring the possibility of joining hands and initiating an arbitration proceeding against the government of India and department of telecom (DoT) in foreign courts against the new telecom policy. The move comes as some of the foreign investors say the that the new policy announced last week, which allows dual technology “favoured only CDMA players, especially, Reliance Communications”. Besides, the new policy has also enhanced subscriber-linked criterion for spectrum allocation by multiple times – this implies, operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular cannot get additional spectrum in their existing circles unless they increase their subscriber base between two-six times, a process that will take anywhere between 18-48 months. This has also led to the pending applications of all GSM players being disqualified. The new norms, if implemented, will hit the expansion plans of all telcos and also lead to a heavy increase in the capex for the next couple of years.
India’s finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said Monday in Washington, “Regulation must stay one step ahead of innovation”. He said the developed countries’ financial authorities are not keeping up with the new and complex financial market instruments that lay behind recent credit market turmoil. “Thanks to the present crisis which originated in the advanced economies … I think developed economies will listen more to the developing economies’ point of view,” Chidambaram remarked. “In the name of innovation, regulators or governments in the advanced economies have fallen behind the curve.” The time has come for the developed world to attend to its own problems, and stop lecturing emerging economies about what is right and what is wrong, he said.
Rural BPO at Mahavilachchiya received wide publicity yesterday, with several local newspapers prominently highlighting the to-be-success story like Sunday Times did below in a first page half page article, and a finance editorial. BPO in the Anuradhapura backwoods IT rumble in the jungle What puzzles us is why some of these articles (Not the Sunday Times story) referred to the venture as a ‘corporate responsibility’ (an euphemism for ‘charity’) of John Keels Holdings (JKH), a top business conglomerate in Sri Lanka. When Indian Tobacco Company (ITC) launched e-Choupal chain in India, nobody branded it ‘corporate responsibility’. It was an online window for its rural suppliers of first tobacco and later other agricultural/aquaculture produce like soya, coffee, and prawns, to interact directly with the company. It was part of ITC business and definitely not charity.
Mobile phones are about to become the simplest and quickest way to transfer money across borders, under a deal announced yesterday by Western Union and GSM Association, the main mobile phone operators’ body. The agreement could have a big impact on global cross-border remittances, worth an estimated $500bn a year, and provide a springboard for mobile carriers and Western Union to offer other mobile banking services using “mobile wallet” technology. Cross-border money transfers valued at up to $100 in countries such as India, the Philippines, Mexico and China – which have large volumes of remittances from migrant workers – will be an early priority of the deal. Thirty-five mobile operators with 800m customers in more than 100 countries have signed up to take part in the GSMA Mobile Money Transfer pilot scheme led by Sunil Mittal, managing director of Bharti Airtel. Other participants include MTN, Orange, Orascom, Smart, Telenor and VimpelCom.