Maldives Archives — Page 2 of 4


CB [cell broadcasting] is an intrinsic feature of GSM, UMTS and IS 95 CDMA networks, and is thus available in the two Maldivian networks. But it must be activated. Most handsets are capable of receiving CB messages but the feature must be turned on. However, in the early stages, getting customers to turn on the feature could be an effective way of educating them of mobile-based public warning. Following stakeholder meetings that included sharing of information on the ongoing CB channel-standardization work of Study Group 2 of the Telecommunication Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-T) and experience in attempting to use CB for public warning in Sri Lanka, the recommendations to TAM are being finalized.

New communications act in Maldives

Posted on January 26, 2009  /  3 Comments

The Telecom Authority of the Maldives was functioning under a presidential decree all this time. The Law which had been drafted, is now moving under the new administration: The Civil Aviation Minister Jameel who announced that the bill was being sent for legal review at a press conference said that the country is now at a stage where such legislation is urgently required. The bill covers all aspects of postal services, telecommunications and info communications including licensing, establishing standards and implementation. The Minister also stated that the government will establish a Communications Authority of Maldives for the purposes of regulating and implementing the Communications Act.
Dhiraagu, the incumbent telecom operator of the Maldives had its license renewed for a term of 15 years. Since its establishment in 1988, Dhiraagu enjoyed an exclusivity on the provision of fixed line services. It was also the only company allowed to carry international traffic into the island nation and terminate on any network. We are happy to note that the Telecom Authority of Maldives (TAM) has not extended these exclusivities in the new license that will be effective from January 2009. The move should, at a minimum, have an impact on international incoming call prices to the Maldives, since Dhiraagu’s competitor Wataniya will now be able to carry inward bound traffic and terminate on any network.
Four years to history, ‘Your tears are mine’ (see below) was my reaction to Asian tsunami. Reproduced in multiple sites, it was recited once in a remembrance event. Though written more in a Sri Lankan context, let me pick it again today, to remember all 225,000 lives lost, in the worst tsunami in recent history – that caused vast damage to four countries LIRNEasia closely works in, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and India. Not my every wish was granted. The aftermath of tsunami, instead of creating a division-free society demonstrated how pathetically the disparities were amplified.
Undersea cable operators have a nasty habit of laying cables close to each other. When they get cut, they tend to go in sets. The first question I have is why Maldives would lose 100% of traffic when it is connected by two undersea cables, one to Colombo and the other to India. That’s serious redundancy, especially for a tiny country of 300,000+ people. I can understand the traffic on Reliance’s Flag system going down because it was Atlantic focused.
Mark Wood, who among other things coordinates the group that is working harmonizing the address space for cell broadcasts on mobiles at ITU-T, had an intensive discussion with representatives of Sri Lanka mobile operators at a meeting organized at very short notice by LIRNEasia on 2nd of October 2008. He was on his way back from a successful visit to Male to speak at a cell broadcasting workshop co-organized by LIRNEasia and the Telecom Authority of Maldives. Why is harmonization important? Coastal areas are vulnerable to rapid-onset, broad-spectrum hazards such as tsunamis and cyclones. Coastal areas also attract large numbers of tourists.
Maldives is a country with an estimated population of 309,575 (August 2008), 312,527 active mobile SIMs, two mobile operators, and complete cellular coverage of all inhabited atolls, including most of the internal ferry and shipping routes (only a little bit in the one and a half degree channel in not covered, and plans are afoot to give coverage there too). It was also the worst affected in terms of property loss in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on a per capita basis. It is also one of the countries most dependent on tourism revenues. Of all the South Asian countries, it is best positioned to exploit the potential of cell broadcasting both for early warning and for commercial applications. In this light, LIRNEasia was pleased to be invited to conduct a scoping study on cell broadcasting for both public-service and commercial purposes by the Telecom Authority of the Maldives.
Results for Indonesia in LIRNEasia’s Telecom Regulatory Environment survey show an interesting trend. Unlike their counterparts in other countries (Bangladesh, India, Maldives Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand) Indonesia telecom experts have given marks so low for different aspects of their regulatory environment that none of the categories, in any three sectors, meet the average of 3. (The options were from 1 to 5, 1=extremely unsatisfied, 5=excellent service) The one comes nearest is the score for Market Entry in the mobile sector (there are nine players in the market – eight national, one regional) but that too miss the average by 0.05 points. The results do not show a change from the previous (2006) scores.
While some Asia-Pacific economies are world leaders in information and communication technologies (ICT) where broadband access is ultra-high speed, affordable and close to ubiquitous, in most of the region’s poorer countries Internet access remains limited and predominantly low-speed. This is what ITU’s Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Report for the Asia-Pacific region 2008 says. It was released at ITU TELECOM ASIA 2008, Bangkok, Thailand yesterday (Sept 2, 2008). The Report finds evidence that ICTs and broadband uptake foster growth and development, but the question remains as to the optimal speed that should be targeted in view of limited resources. The area in which the region really stands out is the uptake of advanced Internet technologies, especially broadband Internet access.

Will you be virtual too?

Posted on May 14, 2008  /  1 Comments

LIRNEasia might not be as high tech as some of the big IT players but in our own way we have made a successful effort to make ourselves a virtual team. Not a choice – that was the only way we could operate in multiple countries (For example, in this cycle, TRE surveys will be in nine countries –  Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand; not to mention CPRSouth 3 in Beijing)without budgets comparable to what INGOs use to run regional networks. We also thought our own experiences will be useful for others. Hence the Virtual Organisation (VO)  project. It had two aspects; developing the VO and using it to conduct LIRNEasia’s other research projects.
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.
Miadhu Online Managing Director of Focus Infocom Sobah Rasheed speaking to Miadhu Daily said in order to prevent future interruptions to the internet service in Maldives work to establish a third route is underway. “Due to the incident we are now providing the service via two routes, our current preparations are such that we can switch services being provided from one route to another, preparations are currently underway to establish a third route, how ever we have not decided as yet how that route will be, from which country or how we much we have to pay for establishing such a route, but even these details are not finalized, work to establish the route is going on” Sobah said. Powered by ScribeFire.
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.
The 2006-08 focus of LIRNEasia’s research was indicators of sector and regulatory performance. Indicators should not be collected for the sake of collecting them. They should be collected based on a common standards and reported at standard intervals in a timely manner, so that regulation and policy can be improved. For example, we believe that good price information can allow a simplification of the tariff regulation process in a way that will make all stakeholders, including incumbents, happy. We were thus gratified when the Chief Executive of the Telecom Authority of Maldives invited us to conduct a workhop on indicators and benchmarking.
I was asked to write something for world environment day in Montage, a local news magazine, and I wrote about how mobile could reduce the need for travel (in the long run) and thus postpone the inundation of the Maldives.   It appears I did not cover all aspects of the problem . . . Is your mobile network green?
Second Tsunami-Detection Station To Bolster Indian Ocean System As part of the U.S. effort, in December 2006, NOAA experts and Thai government officials put a deep-ocean assessment and reporting of tsunamis (DART) station in the Indian Ocean, halfway between Thailand and Sri Lanka. (See related article.)DART systems provide real-time tsunami detection as waves travel across open waters, and each station is linked to a satellite for real-time data transmission on global networks.