Mobile Archives — Page 16 of 28


Today was the day Myanmar lowered the price of SIMs. Here are the conditions imposed. 350,000 SIM cards will be divided among states and divisions on a monthly basis. In order to prevent the common practice of transferring SIM card ownership, the cards will be disabled if they are not used in the first 15 days after purchase. Certain rules apply to the new SIM cards, which come with 300 kyats (about US$0.
We’ve had quite a bit of discussion about the failure to supply toilets on our site and elsewhere. Now there’s movement on using mobiles to help get working toilets in schools and elsewhere. “It’s something that can have a little more impact than helping someone find the nearest bar or restaurant,” said Gary Gale, director of global community programs in the location and commerce division of Nokia, which works with the company’s mapping technology. After the event in Washington, the winners of the hackathon are set to travel to Silicon Valley for meetings with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs who are interested in the issue. The World Bank does not plan to invest in the projects, but hopes that others might.
Twelve is still a big number, especially when one includes the consortia members. Of the usual suspects, only NTT, Hutch, Etisalat, and Orascom are missing. Of all the cash-rich Gulf and Middle East players, only Qatar is still in the fray. Philippines’ PLDT is out, but that is really not news. Millicom is a bit of a surprise, as is Digicel, a specialist in small markets (which Myanmar is not).

Fraudband in Germany too?

Posted on April 13, 2013  /  0 Comments

Germans have a reputation for technical prowess. You’d expect the operators there to be technically superior in delivering what they promised when they sold broadband service. But it appears that they have not been so, according to a New York Times report. A government study released Thursday supports what many German consumers have long suspected: Internet broadband service is much slower than advertised. The study by the German telecommunications regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur, measured the Internet connection speeds of 250,000 consumers from June through December last year, making it one of the largest reviews of broadband service anywhere.
In my opening remarks at the Ministerial Program of GSMA’s Mobile World Congress in February, I referred to predictions that tablet sales would overtake laptop sales in 2014. This Economist report supports the general argument, but does not break out the numbers by desktops and laptops. Apple, which makes desktop and laptop computers as well as tablets, suffered a smaller hit than other PC-makers. It also still commands a premium over other manufacturers for its sleek designs. And unlike other PC-makers, it makes up for lost PC sales with new tablet sales.
Many talk about corruption in telecom procurement by government owned telecos. Here are details: According to a police source familiar with the probe, a suitcase containing US$2 million in cash was allegedly found in Thein Tun’s residence. Investigators are trying to establish whether the alleged funds may have originated from foreign firms, including major Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE known to be angling for potentially lucrative telecom contracts in Myanmar, according to the same source. Authorities are also trying to gain access to bank accounts in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore where kickbacks to senior ministry officials may have been deposited, according to the same source. Both Chinese companies have voluntarily given investigating authorities documents related to their previous deals with the MPT ministry, including during Thein Zaw’s tenure as minister, according to the police source.

A Facebook phone?

Posted on March 31, 2013  /  2 Comments

We found people at the BOP in Indonesia claiming they did not use the Internet, yet going into great detail about their use of Facebook. Our colleagues in Africa, RIA, also noted this phenomenon. Western observers are skeptical about the value of a Facebook phone, but perhaps it may make sense in our parts? A smartphone that gives priority to Facebook services is good for Facebook, but it is unclear whether that is something consumers want. Jan Dawson, a telecommunications analyst at Ovum, said the concept was “a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
There were no training programs on how to use mobile phones, even for the villagephone ladies in Bangladesh. But they think training programs are needed in the US. What does this mean for our part of the world? According to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, one in five American adults — about 62 million people — do not use the Internet. The 2012 Pew Internet and American Life Project said the main reason these people “don’t go online is because they don’t think the Internet is relevant to them.

Pentland on mobile big data

Posted on March 16, 2013  /  0 Comments

Alex Pentland of MIT has been working on mobile big data (as are we at LIRNEasia). Here is a snippet of an interview in the NYT: The phone tracks our movements, as well as our calls and texts, so it can reveal a lot about our daily lives. What did you learn about yourself by studying your own cellphone data? That I’m very predictable. We tend to pay attention only to the new things in our lives.
Total Telecom gives details of the licenses that will be issued in Myanmar upon the completion of a three-stage process. Technology neutral is good. How much spectrum per license is not stated. If it is 5 MHz, as the rumor mill says, it is unlikely that the government’s objective of 80 SIMS per 100 people can be achieved. After the 4 April deadline, the Committee said it will reveal the applicants that have qualified for the next phase of the licensing process, stage three, which will decide which two companies will be awarded the licences.
The liberalization process in Myanmar is chugging along, with an arrest or two, bad advice from the ITU Regional Office and so on. Hope things will get better. In a poor country like Myanmar, it is hard for grassroots people to get a cell phone. The price has dropped to 150,000 kyat but there are just 1.24 million mobile phones in a country with a population of over 60 million.
Another big news story from Barcelona was about Mozilla entering the OS wars. Mozilla is not alone in believing that other systems can thrive. In October Microsoft, which has never had more than a minuscule share of the phone business, brought forth Windows Phone 8. Most Windows smartphones are made by Finland’s Nokia, which dropped its own plans for a new system when it threw in its lot with the American software giant. BlackBerry, a Canadian company formerly called Research In Motion, hopes to recover lost glories with BlackBerry 10, which appeared in January after much delay.
I should not have been surprised, but I was. In the course of the Asia Pacific Summit session that I was moderating the Chief Strategy Officer of Indosat, Prashant Gokarn, said that they are no longer keeping 30% of earnings from apps, but giving pretty much everything to the developers. We can make our money on data, he said. I asked, is this just you? Supun Weerasinghe, Chief Stategy Officer at Axiata, said, no.
The government of Myanmar has received 91 expressions of interest for telecom licenses. We were not surprised when the number hit 18, but 91? Now the question, according to Bloomberg, is how to narrow down the field in the next two stages, down to two: Rules for the second stage, where bidders eligible for the third and final stage will be determined, will be provided “in coming weeks,” according to last week’s statement. “Having prior emerging market experience should be beneficial, along with the ability to deploy capital, relationships with the equipment vendors or handset procurement,” Gupta said. “Reforms in the telephony sector are critical for overall development and progress, so they will need to be mindful of security and social issues too.
On 27th of February, I will be moderating a panel discussion following key notes by Chairman BTRC Sunil Kanti Bose and Minister of ICT Indonesia Titaful Sembiring. Should prove intersting. Asia Pacific Regional Summit 2013 Leveraging the New Mobile Horizon – Connecting Asia through Mobile 09:00 – 12:30, Wednesday 27 February 2013, Auditorium 1, Hall 8.0, Fira Gran Via, Barcelona 09:00 – 09:05 WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION Irene Ng, Head of Asia, GSMA SESSION 1: DEVELOPING ASIA PACIFIC 09:05 – 09:45 KEYNOTES Preparing for a new age of connectivity in Bangladesh Sunil Kanti Bose, Chairman, BTRC Driving innovation in ICT throughout Indonesia to support the country’s economic growth H.E.
GSMA Mobile World Congress has become the preeminent international event in telecom. A Government Mobile Forum is held as part of it. I have been asked to moderate two sessions, the first being described below. It will be held on the morning of 26th February in Barcelona. I look forward to it.