mobile phones Archives — Page 5 of 11


Mobile internet usage on the rise

Posted on December 1, 2008  /  1 Comments

Mobile internet use is growing while the number of people going online via a PC is slowing, analyst firm Nielsen Online has found. Some 7.3m people accessed the net via their mobile phones, during the second and third quarters of 2008. This is an increase of 25% compared to a growth of just 3% for the PC-based net audience – now more than 35m. It also found that the mobile net audience was younger and searched for different things.

Policy enlightenment

Posted on November 11, 2008  /  0 Comments

Carol Weiss says one of the most useful things researchers can do is to give policy makers the tools to think about problems. She calls this policy enlightenment, as opposed to direct policy influence. In Sri Lanka we now make policy in the Supreme Court. This is not optimal, but it’s the way it is. Therefore, I was pleased to see that Justice Tilakawardene had used one of the analogies I had pushed hard in relation to the recent punitive measures taken against mobile phones.
The number of subscribers to High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) services – a technology that enables broadband access on mobile phones and other computing devices – will more than double next year in Asia, according to a forecast by telco industry group GSM Association (GSMA). In an interview with BizIT, Jaikishan Rajaraman, GSMA director of product and service development, said the number of users in Asia subscribing to HSPA will swell from 26.5 million to 53.5 million over the next 12 months. Fuelling this trend are soaring demand from both businesses and consumers, coupled with falling prices of mobile broadband services, he said.
One seemingly less important budget proposal made yesterday by President Mahinda Rajapakse – many might have missed it – is the eligibility extension of the popular ‘low cost’ UPAHARA package by Mobitel to clergy and employees of co-op societies. Only public sector employees plus retirees had the privilege before. No doubt, a private company, even a one with govt hand in it, can offer special rates for a niche market, which it finds lucrative. However, when that is recognized more as govt policy, and spelled in a budget speech, inevitably eyebrows go up and questions arise. The most deserving beneficiaries of low cost teleuse are the poor – or the so called ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’ (BoP).
The Sarvodaya Suwadana Center Volunteers (Community Healthcare Workers) assembled at the Medical Officer of Health office in Kuliyapitya (Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka). This was a workshop organized by Sarvodaya and LIRNEasia as part of the Real-Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP), launched in July this year – evidence based healthcare research aiming to evaluate the use of mobile phones for collecting health data and applying statistical data mining software programs for detecting emerging diseases outbreaks. This initiative is to complement the existing national disease surveillance and notification system.

European Union to slash mobile charges

Posted on September 23, 2008  /  0 Comments

Proposals to slash the cost of using mobile phones abroad, for text, data and voice calls, could become law next July following a vote in Brussels. The European Parliament is to vote on whether roaming costs for text messages should be capped. The cost of sending a message is expected to eventually fall by 60% from an average of 23 pence to 9 pence. Voice calls would fall from 36 to 27 pence a minute and customers would be able to set limits on data downloads. A reluctant mobile phone industry first had limits on its roaming charges imposed by the EU in September 2007.

Digital cigarettes

Posted on September 21, 2008  /  7 Comments

One local telco CEO recently whined about being viewed as a cigarette manufacturer. “Everybody wants to tax us, as if mobiles are a product more hazardous than cigarettes. Tobacco kills, mobiles don’t; communication facilitates better living conditions and saves environment because it reduces transport. It is gross unfair both are seen in the same light.” As Wikipedia tells us, cigarettes are a significant source of tax revenue in many localities.

A world free from 9/11s and tsunamis?

Posted on September 12, 2008  /  1 Comments

Exactly seven years from yesterday (still today to some), early in the morning on September 11, 2001, nineteen hijackers took control of four commercial airliners en route to San Francisco and Los Angeles from Boston, Newark, and Washington, D.C. The hijackers flew two of the airliners, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center. Another group of hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon. A fourth flight, United Airlines Flight 93, whose ultimate target was either the United States Capitol or White House, crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Sep 4th 2008 | From The Economist print edition Computing: In future, most new internet users will be in developing countries and will use mobile phones. Expect a wave of innovation THE World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the body that leads the development of technical standards for the web, usually concerns itself with nerdy matters such as extensible mark-up languages and cascading style sheets. So the new interest group it launched in May is rather unusual. It will focus on the use of the mobile web for social development—the sort of vague concept that techie types tend to avoid, because it is more than simply a technical matter of codes and protocols. Why is the W3C interested in it?
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.
The war against porn continues – at full throttle. We are just twelve kilo meters away from porn-free net. Stay tuned. You may hear the good news anytime. Meanwhile ‘National Child Protection Authority of Sri Lanka’, which claims keeping an eye on your child even when you are sleeping, wants to keep an eye on your mobile too.
Responding to Rohan Samarajiva’s views on newly implemented Environmental levy in Lankadeepa last week, Central Environmental Authority Chairman Udaya Gammanpila calls it essential and the ‘first progressive tax’ in Sri Lanka. Assuring it does not burden public, he says any tax can be initially unpopular but the impact should be seen in long term. (Lankadeepa, August 19, 2008) These are his points in brief: 1. If not for the Environmental levy, the government has to find money to address environmental issues by increasing either VAT or customs charges. That will raise prices in general.
Central Environmental Authority Chairman Udaya Gammanpila calls the new ‘Environmental tax’ essential, pro-poor and progressive. Releasing used mobile phones and CFL bulbs to environment is dangerous, he warns, with a long list of hazardous chemicals that would perhaps put a chemistry professor to shame. He wants to collect them for recycling.  The tax money will be used to build recycling plants. Not everybody agrees.
Two thousand and five hundred years ago, Gautama Buddha correlated tax collectors to bees. A righteous ruler, said he, taking the Liccavis as an example, collects tax without making it a burden on people, in the same was a bee collects honey from a flower (without damaging it). Such wise words were not always heeded. Four new levies, reported Financial Times today, will come into force this month under the Environmental Conservation Levy Act No. 8 of 2008.
Couldn’t Financial Times be more careful?  This 10.7 million is neither the number of telephones nor the number of subscribers. It is the ‘access paths’: Number of connections in case of ‘fixed’ lines (including the dissent CDMA) plus SIMs in case of mobile (including ones not used, issued to tourists for short term use and perhas as sales promotions too) Many subscribers have used more than one SIM. So certainly it cannot be the number of telephone subscribers (or owners) which has to be less.
An inevitable outcome of mobile phone penetration among BOP is longer average life time of a unit. At that level replacing cost is significant. The only alternative is to repair and use the same for a longer period. This explains the mushrooming of mobile repair centers in many developing countries.    Internet has loads of technical information about repairing, but in English.