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.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has issued regulation on domestic leased circuits in a bid to provide cheaper bandwidth to IT companies, BPOs and ISPs. The regulation imposes obligation on all service providers who have the capacity of copper, fibre or wireless, and who have been allowed under the licence to provide leased circuits, to share it with other service providers. For service providers, these regulations open up the possibility of meeting customers’ demand for end-to-end leased circuits, the regulator also said. Tariff ceilings for local leads and ports were also prescribed and the service providers were allowed to offer discounts on a transparent and non-discriminatory basis. Read more.
Six water pressure sensors placed on the seabed in the southern Bay of Bengal and northern Arabian Sea will act as sentinels in India’s tsunami early warning system, which was formally inaugurated today. The sensors — four in the Bay and two in the Arabian Sea — will look for changes in ocean water level and send readings via satellite to the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) in Hyderabad, the hub for the system. The Rs 125-crore early warning system will also use a network of seismic stations, tide gauges and computer simulations based on seabed studies to issue alerts about tsunamis — waves sometimes triggered by undersea earthquakes. Continue reading “Tsunami sentinels on duty under sea – Six sensors in place, six more to be added”
The Daily Mirror, a leading English daily in Sri Lanka, recently featured an article on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and its potential to drive productivity at the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP). The article cited research conducted by LIRNEasia on telecom users at the BOP and the pioneering Grameen microfinance approach to extending telecom access to the poor. The notion that users at the bottom of the pyramid are either unwilling or unable to access telecommunication facilities is effectively dismissed by the findings of the LIRNEasia cross-country research, which indicates that low income users in Sri Lanka averaged about 23 calls per month, while those in India and Pakistan averaged more than 30 and those in the Philippines averaged around 16…A particularly interesting conclusion that emerges from this research is the perception that accessibility to telephony helps in reducing the gap between the rich and the poor and in instilling a feeling of social mobility among the poor. Continue reading ‘Driving productivity at the bottom of the pyramid: How ICT can help’. Print version also available here: .
Can dinosaurs dance? Oct 11th 2007 | From The Economist print edition Responding to the Asian challenge ARE consumers in India and China too poor to afford high-quality Western goods? That used to be the old idea of doing business in these countries as firms offered watered-down versions of their products at reduced prices. Mr van Houten, of chipmaker NXP, says Indian and Chinese consumers are forcing multinationals to design sophisticated products that more closely meet their needs, and this is making firms operating in Asia better innovators. By recruiting ingenious local engineers and designers in places like Bangalore and Beijing, and paying close attention to trends and practices in the market, firms are coming up with products and services that can be sold in other parts of the world too.
Net user base shrinks as Indians go mobile- Internet -Infotech-The Economic Times Even as net connections are falling, the number of people accessing the web on their cellphones increased by a whopping 7 million to cross the 38 million mark. This emphasises how the cellphone is fast becoming the primary medium for Indians to connect to the net as the number of people using their mobile handsets to access the web is now over four times those using a PC. That means over a fifth of India’s 200 million-plus mobile subscribers use their cellphones to log in to their favourite websites. Powered by ScribeFire.