India


Hello… how do the poor use their phones?  By Frederick Noronha, Indo-Asian News Service  Dhaka, April 30 (IANS) It’s a billion dollar question: how do the poor of the planet use their mobile phones? A South Asian study conducted in India and Sri Lanka that looks at telecom users with monthly incomes of less than $100 says that over half the respondents do not even own the phone they use. Read more at DailyIndia.com Click here to access the main Shoestrings study
Avanti Moonesinghe, Harsha de Silva, Neluka Silva & Ayoma Abeysuriya April 2006, Version 2.2 Version 3.0 The latest in the series of Teleuse on a Shoestring papers is now available for comment.  It is often claimed that access to telecommunication facilities is a propeller of economic prosperity in developing countries.  Mobile phones in particular are considered pivotal in encouraging growth.
Mangroves failed to protect coastal villages in ‘04 tsunami – INQ7.net “The World Conservation Union, also known as IUCN, and other nongovernmental organizations earlier reported that mangroves saved lives in Sri Lanka and India — a finding they said could motivate hard-hit communities across Asia to consider replanting mangroves. A quarter of mangroves have been destroyed in tsunami-impacted countries since the 1980s due to development and the rapid growth of shrimp and fish farms. But Baird, of James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, and his co-authors argued that governments would be better off putting their resources into an early warning system and evacuation plans. They also called for many coastal communities to be moved to higher ground.

Lifetime free prepaid

Posted by Rohan Samarajiva on March 19, 2006  /  6 Comments

At the Delhi Indicators Meeting earlier this month, there was discussion about how one would count the lifetime free subscriptions being offered in India.  The following excerpt from Business Today, may shed some light on this new product: “However, there’s more to lifetime offers than meets the eye. First, call charges at Rs 1.99 per minute for local and Rs 2.99 per minute for STD are not necessarily low.
LIRNEasia and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), with the assitance of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada, co-sponsored the “Workshop on ICT Indicators for Benchmarking Performance in Network and Services Development” in New Delhi from 1-3 March 2006. The workshop highlighted the need for accurate, standardized and comparable indicators for the region and was intended to initate action to develop such indicators. The workshop brought together representatives of National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs), National Statistical Organizations (NSOs) and operators from Afghanistan, Bangaldesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka along with the foremost authorities on the subject from the ITU, OECD, and the US National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI). With nearly 60 participants from 16 countries, the Workshop was also attended by telecom researchers from the Asian region. The three day workshop was intended to elicit the cooperation of representatives from NRAs, NSOs and industry associations from the regional countries in establishing a sustainable system for measuring and benchmarking ICT sector input and output indicators for South Asia that can be extended to developing Asia.

Mapping disaster research

Posted by Rohan Samarajiva on February 14, 2006  /  5 Comments

NSF EXPLORATORY WORKSHOP ON SENSOR BASED INFRASTRUCTURE FOR EARLY TSUNAMI DETECTION, Maui, Feb 9-10, 2006 What I learned during my visits to the Civil Defense Center and the Tsunami Museum in Hilo and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach in Hawai’i last January greatly contributed to the disaster communication research program undertaken by LIRNEasia in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Therefore, I welcomed the opportunity to step back and reflect on the research program a year later, also in Hawai’i. The occasion was a workshop funded by the National Science Foundation of the US. It was organized by Louise Comfort, Daniel Mosse and Taieb Znati, all at the U of Pittsburgh. Louise is from Public Policy and has been working on disasters for a long time.
As a part of LIRNEasia’s Telecom Use on a Shoestring project, the use of ‘strategic’ behaviour to curb communication costs amongst the financially constrained in Sri Lanka and India was explored. The findings relating to such ‘strategic’ behavior are available for comment in the following paper: Telecom use on a shoestring: Strategic use of telecom services by the financially constrained in South Asia (V2.0 for comment) (February 2006) Telecom use on a shoestring: Strategic use of telecom services by the financially constrained in South Asia (V2.1 for comment, March 2006) The Authors invite comments and discussion. Abstract: When one talks of a ‘shoestring’ budget, it is understood that reference is being made to constrained finances, where individuals make attempts to cut costs through various methods without harming utility.
Colombo, Sri Lanka, 19 December 2005: Men and women in Sri Lanka and India engage in similar levels of telephone use in low-income settings, according to a recent study carried out by LIRNEasia. A study conducted by LIRNEasia, an Asian research organization based in Colombo, explores the use of telecom services amongst people whose incomes are less than approximately USD 100 per month in Sri Lanka and India. The study provides evidence that there are few significant differences between men and women in the use of fixed, mobile or public phones at these income levels. These results challenge the findings of several prior and well-established studies……..
As a part of LIRNEasia’s Telecom Use on a Shoestring project, a third country, Bangladesh is studied. While surveys were conducted in India and Sri Lanka, a substantial amount of similar research has already been carried out on Bangladesh, in the context of Grameen’s Village Phone program. Therefore, this part of the study is in the form of a meta-analysis of some of these key studies. A draft is available for comment here: Teleuse on a shoestring: Bangladesh meta analysis v.2.
Colombo, Sri Lanka, 19 December 2005: A recent study has shown that fifty-eight per cent of low-income telephone users are absent from conventional telecom indicators. The study also shows that they are spending more of their monthly incomes than expected on telecom services. The study supports C.K. Prahalad’s claim that there is a fortune to be made at the ‘bottom of the pyramid,’ not only at the top.
19 December 2005, Colombo: The telecom subsidy mechanism operationalized through India’s Universal Service Fund (USF) has unduly served the interests of the government owned incumbent telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). For the disbursement of the USF collections operators were asked to bid for the least amount of subsidy they required to roll out in the rural areas. However, the least-cost subsidy auction favored the incumbent and resulted in the attenuation of competition. Prima Facie the mechanism was transparent, but the auction design restricted participation only to operators already present in the defined service areas…… English Press Release: Indian Universal Service Fund experience shows that open access to backbone is precondition for effective use of subsidies that minimize market distortion Research report: Indian Universal Service Fund experience shows that open access to backbone is precondition for effective use of subsidies that minimize market distortion
Mahesh Uppal, Director, Com First (India) and a frequent participant in LIRNEasia events contends that the Indian telecom regulator’s authority and independence have been undermined by recent actions of the Minister of Telecom. T V Ramachandran, Director General, COAI [cellular operators association] argues otherwise and states that the Minister’s actions promote Indian consumers’ interest. We would like to get your view on this subject, please comment below. The full debate is available at the Business Standard. No one’s doubting Maran’s recent initiatives, but the TRAI remains emasculated on critical issues like interconnection and BSNL’s monopoly Mahesh Uppal, Director, Com First (India) “A regulator without robust control of the interconnection regime can hardly ever be effective” Given the tasks before them, of ensuring a competitive and efficient market, telecom regulators can be effective only if they have sufficient say in entry and exit of players and if they can ensure that new entrants can interconnect their networks to the existing network.
Sri Lanka aims to be paradise for high-end outsourcing By Poornima Weerasekara The need to position Sri Lanka as a provider of top-end, high value adding outsourcing destination was highlighted yesterday at a CEO’s conference, titled “Offshore to Sri Lanka.” The conference organised by the ICT sub-committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the World Bank in partnership with the Board of Investment (BOI) and the Information and Telecommunications Agency (ICTA) comprised of industry experts, venture capitalists and over 150 public and private sector CEOs. It aimed to create awareness about Sri Lanka’s potential as an off-shoring destination and to galvanize CEO’s into collectively realizing this potential. “Sri Lanka has the largest number of UK qualified accountants outside of UK. This itself is a unique differentiator to position Sri Lanka as a provider of high quality financial services,” World Bank Senior Economist Ismail Radwan said.
A draft version of the research report submitted by Payal Malik and Harsha de Silva titled “Diversifying Network Participation: Study of India’s Universal Service Instruments” is now available for download as a PDF document. Please provide your feedback in the comments section to improve the research report Study of Indian Universal Service Instruments – Draft Report
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Development, December 03-04, 2005 This workshop at IIM Calcutta will equip managers with the perceived benefits of ICT in the development sector in India, along with the roles that the government, corporate sector, non-governmental organizations, and people themselves can play. Bringing together faculty members from various functional groups of IIM Calcutta including Management Information Systems, Regional Development, and Business Environment, the lectures and discussions will focus on the managerial reforms and institutional aspects to make ICTs an integral component of development. Topics to be covered will include the information infrastructure, the policy issues related to ICTs, with special attention to the legal and regulatory frameworks, ICT and effective public management, public-private partnership in service delivery, especially in e-governance, pro-poor market development through ICTs, ICT and healthcare, ICT and disaster management, and the way ICT could be used for better governance through coordination between various stakeholders. More details available here.
Findings from Indonesian study WiFi Access Innovations by LIRNEasia researchers, Divakar Goswami & Onno Purbo were presented at a press conference at the Jakarta Hilton, Indonesia on October 1. The results from the study have been covered by Indonesian newspapers. The news story by Rakyatmerdeka is online and can be found here. The study findings can be found here. Divakar and Onno identified high leased prices as the main factor forcing ISPs to deploy their own WiFi-based networks to connect customers to the last mile.