mobile phones Archives — Page 3 of 11


SciDev, a prestigious science communication channel, has featured our cell broadcast report, the first of the Mobile 2.0 reports to be released. Texting short messages through mobile phones could help in early warning of natural disasters in the Maldives, says a new report. The technology, called cell broadcasting, helps to deliver messages simultaneously to multiple users in a specified area. “In the case of the Maldives, if an early warning is introduced, it must be able to reach all of the outlying islands including tourists on resorts.
Sri Lanka hurriedly banned mobile phones at schools, not just for students but teachers as well, following a suicide of a Museaus girl, allegedly after an incident involving a mobile phone. Pity that they never reflected on the other side of the story. Mobile phone is a security device that enables critical communication between parents and children. Take it away and the results can be disastrous because that makes a child vulnerable. Take the story of Lasantha Gimhana Kanewela (10), for example.
This was not a representative sample survey like Teleuse @ BOP, but still it was conducted in a remote village in the Polonnaruwa district in Sri Lanka as part of a community communication effort. The numbers they came up with were much higher than ours. We also spoke about the advantages of using mobile phones to complement the radio productions. 3G was not present in all areas, and in any case, few of the handsets supported audio streaming. That said, the production team said that upwards of 95% of all households owned at least one mobile.
“I am the teacher; you are the student; but still we are in the same class” (guruthumee mama, sisuviyayi numba; eath api eka panthiye) This line from the popular Sinhala song ‘Saroja’ (sung by the wife of a powerful minister of the current regime) tells it all. First it was for students, but now the government wants to extend the mobile phone ban for teachers too. Not a surprising move by a government that wants to block  ‘Adults Only’ films watched by…er, adults. Reported Daily Mirror: “I have heard that the Nuwara Eliya incident had taken place involving a teacher and the other incident was connected to a female student. Education Minister Susil Premajayantha has taken measures to prohibit the use of mobile phones at public schools.
Priyantha Kariyapperuma, Director General of Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka, is in ‘banning’ mode these days. Having ‘banned’ twelve sex sites on the initiation of IGP, now he plans to ban the mobile phones at private schools. For government schools, Susil Premajayantha, Education Minister has taken a similar move. Minister Premajayantha said that he has taken this decision to avoid the harmful situations that had led to a ‘number of unfortunate incidents’ in schools recently. The incident that triggered this move was the suicide of a fourteen year old girl of a leading school in Colombo, whose mobile phone, with personal information, has been confiscated by the prefects.
Google’s entry into the browser space raised the question of the future of Mozilla. Mozilla is so far doing very well. But the question is really who will occupy the mobile set-top. That will decide the winner, at least in the short term. The rise of Firefox unleashed a new wave of innovation and competition among browser makers.

AM radio on mobile phones

Posted on July 20, 2009  /  0 Comments

The teleuse@BOP finding that mobiles have overtaken radios at the bottom of the pyramid in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh continues to resonate. In coverage of this story the leading Indian magazine in the IT space Voice and Data reveals that even AM reception is being offered in some Indian phones, in addition to the standard FM capability. Industry experts say it is an obvious phenomenon, with handsets turning in to a swiss-knife kind of solutions. Rural mobile penetration is now the focus of the service providers in these countries where the mobile markets are heading towards maturity. In India circles like Chennai are touching near 100% mobile penetration in that case the operator has to go to new markets.
Pakistan did it, with supposed good results. The Maldives studied it and decided it was not worth it. Sri Lanka is supposed to be thinking about it. It is mobile number portability (MNP). None of them had the benefit of the teleuse@BOP results.

Phones for more than voice

Posted on July 7, 2009  /  0 Comments

An interesting article on MIT’s website discusses how several business ventured started by its students spawned by class projects or independent work are exploring news ways of using the mobile phones for improving the day-to-day lives of people, particularly in the developing world. Applications range from mobile health-care services to agricultural and mobile payment services as well. Many were developed as entries for business competitions, or as part of the MIT Media Lab’s NextLab program to develop mobile phone applications geared toward the developing world. Read the full article here. *** LIRNEasia’s Mobile 2.
In other countries, government are focusing on removing electronic equipment from the waste stream, basically requiring the equipment vendors to take the unwanted equipment back. Since January, Washington State residents and small businesses have been allowed to drop off their televisions, computers and computer monitors free of charge to one of 200 collection points around the state. They have responded by dumping more than 15 million pounds of electronic waste, according to state collection data. If disposal continues at this rate, it will amount to more than five pounds for every man, woman and child per year. In Sri Lanka, the Environment Ministry is collecting massive amounts of money from mobile usage, in the name of recycling mobile phones.
Colloquium conducted by Dr. Erwin Alampay of NCPAG, Philippines. Presentation began by looking at the potential for M-money. Why should we use m-money? Improving efficiency: Improve services, financial services.
Good news for the many outside and inside government who struggled to get this done, including our colleagues from Research ICT Africa. The necessary condition for cheap connectivity is about to the fulfilled. Last week, in the Kenyan port of Mombasa, a regional communications revolution belatedly got under way when Kenya’s president, Mwai Kibaki, plugged in the first of three fibre-optic submarine cables due to make landfall in Kenya in the next few months. They should speed up the connection of Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as bits of Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan, to the online world. Of course, as the West African cable showed abundantly, and then the landing of SEA-ME-WE 4 in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh did, the cable by itself does not make things better.
It’s not only in Finland and India that they are returning fixed line connections . . . . At the University of Washington, the communications department faculty did away with their landlines.
The Pakistan Telecom Authority in their December 2008 quarterly review gives the reasoning behind the government’s decision to impose high taxes on mobile phone use. To reduce the high fiscal deficits, the government had increased taxes. The increase for the telecom sector was over 40 percent; for other sectors it was only seven percent. However, the end result was unexpected, though it could have been predicted from economic theory. In the two quarters after the tax increase, the tax revenue from mobile declined.
Since Rheingold wrote of Smart Mobs, activists have been atwitter about the potential of mobile phones and texting to effect democratic change. The ongoing struggle against the theocratic dictatorship in Iran has given many examples. But it also shows the limits. When the government shuts down the SMS system, or indeed the whole network, what happens to mobile based organizing? What are the conditions for the government not shutting down networks?
Village Health Nurses (VHN) are the last-mile health workers attending to the primary health care needs of the rural villagers in the state of Tamil Nadu; where the real-time biosruveillance program (RTBP) is being pilot tested in India. They work under harsh conditions. For instance transportation schedule is limited to a bus that leaves in the morning and returns in the afternoon. Baking and sweating in the hot sun in Sivaganga District of Tamil Nadu, they walk for several kilometers, carrying a heavy load of Registers, making house calls to give the much needed health care to the rural poor. During a recent workshop, in Tamil Nadu, a discussion around the accountability of submitting data revealed that the VHN sometimes cheat on the statistics they tediously record on large volumes of paper forms.