Mobile Archives — Page 4 of 28 — LIRNEasia


It’s been a long time coming. The paper that Sangamitra Ramachander presented at CPRsouth 2011 based on Teleuse@BOP research has finally been published. We are happy, both for a young researcher getting published in a prestigious journal and for the fact that it gets our research out to academic readers. The private sector in developing countries is increasingly interested in extending mobile telephony services to low income and rural markets that were previously considered unprofitable. Determining the right price is a central challenge in this context.

Does mobile use make us sick?

Posted on June 25, 2016  /  0 Comments

It was a challenge to teach about the health issues associated with mobile networks to over 80 members of the Yangon Regional Hluttaw (regional Parliament), including the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. I am not qualified in medicine, but I keep getting asked whether a new mobile BTS being erected in a neighborhood or a son’s or daughter’s “excessive” mobile use is likely to cause health problems. I realize the questioner, generally a member of the public who has made the effort to find my number and call me me cold, is highly worried and is also placing a great deal of trust in me. Therefore, I have made the effort to keep up with the research and respond based on the best possible evidence and with sensitivity to their fears. The slides that I used in my talk are based primarily on the writings of the brilliant Siddhartha Mukherjee, supplemented by a recent Australian study.
Below are excerpts from the abstract of a paper entitled “Has the incidence of brain cancer risen in Australia since the introduction of mobile phones 29 years ago?,” published in Cancer Epidemiology. Significant increases in brain cancer incidence were observed (in keeping with modelled rates) only in those aged 70 years (both sexes), but the increase in incidence in this age group began from 1982, before the introduction of mobile phones. Modelled expected incidence rates were higher in all age groups in comparison to what was observed. Assuming a causal RR of 2.
That is a real achievement. If you add the numbers you will see that the 80/100 people that was to be achieved in 2018 has been surpassed. Congratulations Myanmar. Myanmar’s leading mobile operator Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) added more than 8.5 million mobile connections over the past year, taking its user base to 20 million.
Reading a story about how profitable DTAC in Thailand found the up to 5 million Myanmarese living in Thailand to be, I was reminded of what LIRNEasia-MIDO had submitted in response to the draft International Gateway regulations in January 2016. Imposing non-cost reflective termination rates for international incoming calls is counterproductive especially in the market conditions found in Myanmar where over 50 percent of the subscribers of major mobile network operators are daily data users. Most international communication will shift to “over-the-top” (so called OTT) services, accelerating the decline of the international communication services offered by fixed and mobile network operators. Toward the end of the story they do get to our point: DTAC’s main competition is arguably not other telecom operators but rather new technologies, which are making old-fashioned IDD calls an unnecessary expense. “Nowadays Burmese people in Thailand, whether they are migrant workers, activists or academics, are using less costly methods such as Facebook Messenger, Viber or LINE to communicate with friends and relatives in Burma,” said U Soe Aung, a long time Thailand resident and spokesman for the Forum for Democracy in Burma.
This past week, a three-day tech camp for persons with disabilities was held in Yangon. Around 50 participated in this tech camp representing different disability organisations. Half of the participants were from Yangon, while the rest of the participants were from other areas of Myanmar.   Htaike Htaike Aung of MIDO, with help from our invaluable disabilities  consultant Nirmita Narasimhan, made a well received presentation on how ICT applications in the local languages can be used to make persons with disabilities (any disability) more independent. This was a continuation, and one of the most gratifying outcomes, of Nirmita’s work in Yangon a few months back during which both Htaike Htaike and I received a superb training in how ICTs can be used to make information societies more inclusive.
I was asked to comment to the state-owned Sunday Observer on the Sri Lanka government’s decision to extend value-added taxes to the telecom industry. Below is my response. I have always taken the position that telecom services should be treated no differently from other goods and services. Therefore, I do not object to making telecom services subject to VAT. The problem is with the approximately 25 percent mobile levy.
2016 Q1 financial results revealed by Telenor Myanmar paints a rosy picture: “I think I’ve said for many quarters now that this cannot continue, but it does,” said Group CEO Sigve Brekke during the company’s financial results presentation. “One-and-a-half years into operation … [Telenor Myanmar] is now cash-flow-positive for the first time.” Telenor Myanmar’s operating cash flow margin came to 10pc, according to the results. “And despite the aggressive rollout I expect them to be able to stay in the positive territory,” Mr Brekke said. Meanwhile, the company’s margin on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation – or operating profitability – reached 42pc.

Inclusion through platforms

Posted on April 11, 2016  /  0 Comments

The only platforms LIRNEasia is currently studying are those used for micro work in the IT and ITES sector. There our focus is on inclusion. But, this article shows we should consider looking at more platforms. Deepthi, the single mother of a teenager, says she has tried other types of self-employment. She worked as a goldsmith, nursing home careperson and, sometimes still makes shoes and bags at home.
Helani Galpaya presented the findings of the joint research by GSMA Connected Women & LIRNEasia on “Mobile phones, internet & gender in Myanmar” at the Chatrium Hotel, Yangon on 8 April 2016. The event organized by LIRNEasia and MIDO was used as a forum to discuss issues pertaining to gender and ICTs in Myanmar at large. Khin Sandar Win & Htla San Htwe presented the rationale behind and the workings of the UNDP iWomen application while Htaike Htaike Aung of MIDO spoke of the role of women as app developers, hackers and coders. The event was well attended despite it being held on the last working day prior to the New Year Water Festival holidays. Noteworthy was the large media presence, with the event being covered by multiple print, television and online media outlets.
It is not only in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka that there are moves to consolidate mobile markets. Afghanistan has joined the conversation. But the reasons are different and saddening. It seems that high-value customers are leaving the country. And the part about people not being able to charge their smartphones because the Taliban blew up a pylon .

Network shutdowns in the news again

Posted on March 22, 2016  /  0 Comments

This time it’s on account of elections in Congo. For an overview of the phenomenon, see CDT’s map and timeline. We first wrote about this problem in 2006. Then it was worked up into Gyanendra’s Law and its various exceptions. Image source

Wireless, 100x present-day speeds

Posted on February 23, 2016  /  0 Comments

In honor of Mobile World Congress, which may hit 100,000 this year if the transport strike does not crash the whole thing, everyone is running stories on 5G. Why not us? The work is being done at the University of Surrey, where a leafy campus is dotted with rundown Brutalist-style buildings. Here, researchers and some of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Samsung and Fujitsu, are collaborating to offer mobile Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than anything now available. Their work on so-called fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless technology is set to be completed in early 2018 and would, for example, let students download entire movies to smartphones or tablets in less than five seconds, compared with as much as eight minutes with current fourth-generation, or 4G, technology.
For bill payments over electronic means to work, it is necessary for the payee to have an electronic system. Some parachute advisers identified mobile payments as a low hanging fruit in the early days, even before the telecom reforms had started. But it took years to pluck this fruit because work had to be done on the pre-conditions. Not only was it necessary to get phones into the hands of the consumers, it was necessary to modernize the billing systems of the payee organizations. ConnectNPay, a joint venture between Myanmar’s MCC Group and Singapore’s Leo Tech, has since May provided an e-link between service providers, such as utility companies, and payment partners, such as banks.
Our survey caught these trends last year. But the stories are good too. “The Myanmar market has K30,000 smartphones on offer, but people want using phones to be easy,” he said. “The cheaper phones don’t have good touch-screens and can’t store a lot of data compared with K200,000 handsets.” “Now mobile phone users are going online, using apps,” he said.
The International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the United Nations in 2006 according to the universal declaration of Human Rights and international conventions on human rights. Sri Lanka has signed the convention in 2007 and the proposal made by S.B. Dissanayake, Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare, to ratify the convention for the benefit of Sri Lankan disabled persons, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. Link to Cabinet decision.