India


At the end of 2006, Asia-Pacific mobile connections passed the 1 billion mark.  The Asia-Pacific reached a 30% penetration rate and is expected to grow by 19% between 2006 and 2007, according to the respected newsletter Wireless Intelligence. India overtook China in terms of growth rate in Q1 2007.  Bangladesh, Pakistan and Indonesia have gained strong momentum over the past few quarters with almost 50 million net additions between 2005 and 2006. Among these top markets, LIRNEasia is active in all but China, a gap we intend to fill shortly.

GSMA honours Indian government

Posted on February 14, 2007  /  1 Comments

Barcelona, Feb 13 (bdnews24.com) – The GSM Association (GSMA) has presented its Government Leadership Award 2007 to India for exceptional achievement in mobile communications policy. India has been selected because of its success in establishing a framework of policies and regulations, which have stimulated the growth of mobile telecommunications over the past three years. The latest data from the Indian government shows that India’s mobile operators are now collectively adding six to seven million new subscribers each month. GSMA’s CEO Rob Conway presented the award to Thiru Dayanidhi Maran, India’s minister for communications and information technology.
Hutchison exits India and Vodafone enters.   Will this accelerate Indian mobile growth to Indonesia and Pakistan levels?  No clear evidence of increased investment; new pricing strategies, etc. yet. BBC NEWS | Business | Vodafone buys Indian mobile firm Vodafone has bought a controlling stake in Indian mobile phone firm Hutchison Essar for $11.
LIRNEasia intended the Telecom Regulatory Environment scores to serve as a diagnostic instrument for regulators, policy makers and stakeholders, not exactly a “league table.” However, the news value seems to be in the inter-country comparisons. We are grateful for whatever coverage we get. Businessworld: Pak Betters India The sharp growth in the Indian telecom industry has been talked about for quite sometime. That growth happened after many contentious issues got straightened out over the years at the regulatory level.

India: Broadband Target Will Be Met

Posted on February 9, 2007  /  6 Comments

With the current growth rate of mobile subscriptions, India is the clear global leader in mobile net additions, but its broadband sector still has not met market expectations. Due to poor fixed line coverage, low PC adoption, and service pricing, broadband service has not been embraced by Indians in the way mobile phones were. However, the ministry of communications and operators intend to change that by labeling 2007 the “Broadband Year,” hoping to reach a 20m broadband subscribers by 2010. With the help of telecom and PC manufacturers and operators’ deep pockets, the government believes their goal can be achieved. Pyramid Research argues that the country’s broadband aspirations will not be achieved for 2007, however it will exceed its 2011 target.

Missed calls in the news

Posted on February 3, 2007  /  1 Comments

LIRNEasia has been moved to Denmark, but hey, we take whatever coverage we can get! Missed call virus bugs telecom firms A study by Learning Initiatives on Reforms for Network Economies (Lirne), a Denmark-based NGO that focusses on telecom issues, shows that over half of India’s 140 million mobile subscribers make missed calls to convey a pre-agreed message. As many as 95 per cent of the pre-paid customers used missed calls for this purpose, the study added. For operators, missed calls clog networks without earning them revenue, also frustrating genuine callers with “network busy” messages. “Missed calls use microwave links, the backhaul and the exchange and yet we make no money,” said a senior executive of Hutchison-Essar.
Nokia, which had a few bad years, appears to be making a comeback on the shoulders of exploding markets in the Asia Pacific.   LIRNEasia research shows that there is plenty of room for market expansion in the Asia Pacific, especially at the bottom of the pyramid.  If Nokia and other equipment suppliers address this market proactively, they can have many more good years.   Nokia Net Up 19%, Topping Estimates – New York Times Nokia, which is based in Espoo, Finland, shipped a record 106 million units in the quarter, up 26 percent from a year earlier and 19 percent from the third quarter. Nokia said its fourth-quarter market share was unchanged from 36 percent in the third quarter and up from 34 percent a year earlier, led by gains in all regions except North America.
LIRNEasia’s Executive Director and Lead Economist participated at the 10th annual telecom conference and exhibition organized by Informa Telecoms and Media,  GSM>3G, held in Mumbai, India on 22-23 January. LIRNEasia’s Lead Economist, Harsha de Silva presented the Indian findings of LIRNEasia’s five-country teleuse study, ‘Teleuse on a Shoestring:2,’ during the session entitled ‘Connecting the Next Billion.’ | View presentation slides Executive Director, Rohan Samarajiva was also invited as a panel discussant on ‘Widening Access for Rural Communities,’ along side top administrator of India’s universal service obligation fund as well as President of New Projects of Indian operator, Spice Telecom. The conference brought together key players in the GSM community from around the world as well as India to discuss key issues affecting the mobile industry, including 3G, regulation, international investment, Next Generation Networks, coverage, penetration, IMS and MMS. It was organized by Informa Telecoms and Media, as a part of a world series of annual conferences, located in regional hubs within fast growing markets.
As part of a special review of ICT policy in Indonesia, e-Indonesia, the Indonesian ICT monthly magazine, interviewed a number of key stakeholders including the Minister Sofyan Djalil, Commissioners from BRTI, the regulatory body, civil society group, industry reps and ICT experts. LIRNEasia researcher, Divakar Goswami, was also interviewed. The interview is featured in the online edition here. The interview is in bahasa. The English text of the interview is below: 1.
This is not rocket science and Bangladesh can easily achieve similar growth. All it needs is a “literate” leadership and “sane” regulator. Details of Indian and Pakistani markets is in http://www.telecomtv.com/news.

Reach out and see somebody

Posted on January 6, 2007  /  0 Comments

Seems like a good business idea for entrepreneurs in countries like Bngladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, with large migrant populations. Even at double the US set up costs, it won’t take long to start earning returns. Of course, good broadband is a necessary condition. Abroad at Home – New York Times Because of stricter border enforcement since 9/11, increased broadband access and reduced cost of video equipment, more businesses are offering videoconferencing services to reunite immigrants with their families back home. Typically found in or near places immigrants frequent like money-transfer operations or consular offices, these kinds of services are often reserved for weeks in advance.
FLAG Telecom plans to deploy the largest IP-based submarine cable network that will connect 60 countries, including many that currently have poor connectivity by 2009. India, Indonesia, and Philippines are among the countries that FLAG’s NGN network will have a presence in. Reliance to carry FLAG far and wide: “We live in a world where there is too much of bandwidth for some, little for others and none for many – there is unequal access to bandwidth in and across countries, continents and communities,” said Anil Dhirubhai Ambani, chairman, Reliance Communications. “FLAG NGN will democratise digital access,” he added. FLAG NGN will comprise of our systems.
The strong quake off Taiwan’s coast on December 26 damaged six separate submarine cables and severely disrupted telecom links in the East, Southeast and South Asia. Internet connectivity in a number of countries are either down or are slowed down thanks to taffic that is being rerouted over networks that have escaped damage. Most of Jakarta (Indonesia) and Pondicherry (Southern India) have been without Internet until this afternoon (Dec 27) at least. In our office in Sri Lanka, SLT’s ADSL connection (though congested) is working. However, Lankacom’s leased line is down since it probably connects to the Internet backbone via Singapore.
The TRE 2006 results [PDF Download] of the first Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) survey applied across six Asian countries were released in New Delhi yesterday. The TRE Assessment, developed by LIRNEasia and already implemented in a number of countries, is a perceptual index which gauges regulatory performance across six dimensions. The TRE survey carried out in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand as part of a multi-component study, closely reflected regulatory reform actions undertaken in the respective countries along with sector performance. The Hindustan Times, a leading newspaper in India, covered the findings from the TRE surveys [PDF Download] focusing on the comparison between India and Pakistan’s scores. Pakistan Bests India in Telecoms Regulation by M.
LIRNEasia Lead Economist, Dr. Harsha de Silva presented findings of a new study on telecom use at the bottom of the pyramid in five emerging Asian countries at the well attended ESOMAR global market research conference, Telecom 2006: Convergence Revolution held in Barcelona from 29 November – 1 December 2006. The study covers India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Thailand. de Silva presented some findings contained in a paper written with LIRNEasia researcher Ayesha Zainudeen on the costs and benefits of access to telecoms and the expected next billion subscribers. A particular finding of interest to local policy makers was that almost a quarter of Sri Lankans at the bottom of the pyramid believe that direct access to a phone (i.

More on Maldives

Posted on December 13, 2006  /  53 Comments

Several weeks ago we speculated on why the Maldives, with its tiny population, needed two undersea cables. The answer is that the first cable is a collaboration between the new entrant Wataniya and India’s disruptive competitor, Reliance (through its FLAG unit). This created enormous pressure on the complacent incumbent Dhiraagu, the result being the cable to Colombo. LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE – LBO A new fibre optic undersea cable that connects Maldives to Sri Lanka will bring down international call charges from the Indian Ocean coral atoll, officials said Tuesday.Until the cable was commissioned this month, bilateral traffic of 600,000 minutes per month was routed via more expensive satellite links.