Mobile Archives — Page 12 of 28


I did not realize this was a big deal until I heard several people including references to writing entries for the International Encyclopedia in the short 2-3 minutes they were allowed for self-introductions at the recent IDRC Information and Networks Partners’ meeting in Cape Town. It’s been some time since I had opened an encyclopedia. I thought that Diderot’s and d’Alembert’s insane (but typically French) idea of codifying settled knowledge had for sure been permanently buried by the Internet and Google. But no, apparently the scholarly industry and the inherent conservatism of the university will keep it going, at least for a few more years. Anyway, it was not difficult or painful.
We all know the importance of investment in dynamic ICT markets. No investment: no new services, poor quality of service . . . As LTE is being rolled out and the conversation on 5G is gathering momentum,one would think the relationship between investment and taxes would be different from what is being reported as being paid by Vodafone: During the 2013 financial year, in which the group reported pre-tax profits of £3.
When US competition regulators turned down the AT&T-T-Mobile merger, many thought that would be the end of T-Mobile. Instead, it was the end of business as usual. T-Mobile branded and marketed all this as the “Un-carrier,” rolling out new versions of its plans — already five and counting — even as competitors have struggled to match the previous one. “Surprise is an effective competitive tactic,” Mr. Legere said.
Under Sri Lanka’s law, if an operator goes out of business, the Director General of Telecom has to run it. This used to be one of my nightmares. I knew how to regulate, but did I know how to run a company? The Daily Star paints a grim picture of Citycell, a Bangladesh CDMA licensee. So grim that I should feel sorry about reiterating criticism of the discounting of their payments by the government when the licenses were up for renewal.
LIRNEasia has been engaged with the telecom reform process in Myanmar for some time now. Back in 2012, I published an op ed inside Mynamar entitled, “Myanmar is last in world for telecoms: What can be done?” Last month, another article was published, this time in Bamar. The tone was a lot more optimistic. At this moment we are working on comments on the draft regulations drafted under the new law.
The timeline below depends on the regulations (by-laws) being approved. The news story suggest they have been. We know that they are open for comments. We plan to give comments by the Dec 2 deadline. So unless the licenses are being developed in parallel, the chances of issuance by year end are not that good.
This is not to dismiss the idea of connecting via mobile phones. I have spent the last few years researching the challenges of pulling together real connectivity and access for the poorest, and it’s no picnic. Infrastructure constraints, high taxes on imported computers, low income levels and connectivity problems all make the internet extremely challenging for the poorest to access. But is this a reason to give up entirely and focus on mobile instead as policymakers and researchers seem to be doing? At the Internet Governance Forum in Indonesia last week, the prevailing view was that the developing world would use mobile, end of story.
I was reminded of that old chestnut about a flagman having to walk in front of early automobiles when I heard some participants talk at the workshop on big data, social good and privacy. Imagine imposing inform and consent rules on transaction-generated data (big data) belonging to large corporate entities such as mobile operators. They need the data on user mobility patterns to manage their networks; they need financial transaction data to manage their finances. All these things can be covered under broad inform and consent procedures that will be presented to customers as they sign up. What will not be possible would be to permit use by third parties for traffic management, energy management, urban planning etc, since these uses could not be conceptualized at the time of signing up customers.

Another piece on Myanmar, in Myanmar

Posted on October 22, 2013  /  0 Comments

When I was interviewed by a journalist from the Internet Journal, said to have one of the highest circulations in Myanmar, I offered him a short piece I had written about Myanmar. It’s now been translated into Bamar (except for the table and my name). The last few paras of the piece: The government intends to establish a regulatory agency within two years. In the interim, the Ministry of Post and Telecom will function as the regulator. There are concerns both about capacity to regulate in terms of technical skills and also in terms of ability to exercise authority over the incumbent allied with a military-backed entity.
From India to Myanmar, debate has been engaged on what regulators should/should not do regarding mobile apps. Are telecom regulators the right people to promote innovation? Should mobile apps have to be licensed? Should mobile operators be prohibited from providing apps and value-added services, as was proposed in Bangladesh? These questions were discussed in the session that I presented at today at the 13th Asia Pacific Telecommunity Policy and Regulatory Forum.
These comparisons are, of course, problematic. But still engaging especially in the context of the launch of the Alliance for an Affordable Internet. Thailand yields no data. And I assume they work off advertised speeds rather than real . The Economist provides a nice interactive map.

Anti universal service in Pakistan?

Posted on October 4, 2013  /  0 Comments

We have been working with the Pakistan Telecom Authority, the Pakistan Universal Service Fund and operators to achieve universal service in that country. Universal service means a phone for everyone. But according to this report there are people in Pakistan who will kill barbarically to prevent this goal from being achieved. A young mother of two has been put to death in Pakistan for possessing a cell phone, Opposing Views reported on Thursday. Arifa Bibi was executed three months ago, on July 11, after a Pakistani tribal court sentenced her to death by stoning.
Ranjula Senaratna Perera CRPsouth2013 Mysore, India
The Economist has a piece on mobiles and banking in Myanmar. This is the world’s leading popular publication on economics, but in this case, it appears the hype has overtaken logic. What is banking? It is the business activity of accepting and safeguarding money owned by other individuals and entities, and then lending out this money in order to earn a profit. Mobile can play a role in this, but does the Economist really believe that phone companies will actually do well as deposit-taking and credit-extending entities?
We’ve kept saying this, because that is what we see from our demand-side research. But Manu Joseph, a novelist, says it better in a New York Times op-ed. Too many people presume that what the poor want from the Internet are the crucial necessities of life. In reality, the enchantment of the Internet is that it’s a lot of fun. And fun, even in poor countries, is a profound human need.

Nokia exits handset market

Posted on September 3, 2013  /  2 Comments

I never thought I would write those words, but there it is. Just a few years ago, Nokia was lapping its competitors. Now it’s exiting. How evanescent is market leadership in ICTs? Beleaguered Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia will sell its mobile phone unit to US group Microsoft for 5.