Nepal Archives — Page 5 of 6


TeliaSonera entering Nepal and Cambodia

Posted on September 26, 2008  /  0 Comments

According to TelecomTV, TeliaSonera is acquiring controlling interests in Spice Telecom, the second mobile operator in Nepal and Applifone, the fourth largest operator in Cambodia. This is an intriguing development from a company many thought was withdrawing from the South Asian region.  A few years ago there were well publicized negotiations to sell its stake in Sri Lanka’s Suntel, which is believed to have failed for the lack of a high-enough bid. TeliaSonera and its predecessor entities have not shown the nimbleness of its Nordic competitor, Telenor which has strong positions in South and South East Asian countries.  One hopes it will.
A recent LIRNEasia media outreach effort timed to coincide with the upcoming SAARC Summit in Colombo has been picked up by AFP. Leaving aside the question of the operators in the SAARC countries collectively lowering their termination rates to make possible more reasonable intra-SAARC call charges, the data also show that Pakistan has the overall lowest international telecom prices and Nepal has the highest. Hopefully, some of these prices will come down, now that the comparisons have been made! South Asian leaders urged to slash telco tariffs – LANKA BUSINESS ONLINE Calls were cheapest in Pakistan, where fixed and mobile phone users pay three US cents a minute to call many non-SAARC destinations, including the United States and Hong Kong. But users pay 12 US cents to call Bangladesh and India.
The 2008 Global Information Technology Report prepared for the World Economic Forum shows the five big countries of the SAARC backsliding in the rankings with  small exceptions in the case of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which advanced from 86th place to 76th (using only 2006 countries; otherwise to 79th place) and from 118th place to 116th (again using only 2006 countries; if not, it would be in 124th place), respective.ly. India went from 44th place to 48th (2006 countries only; if not 50th).  Pakistan from 84 to 85 (actual rank 89) and Nepal from 108th place to 111th (actual rank 119). The full report is here
Looks like international law is being made as we speak. According to the UN, basic human rights are violated when countries cut off Internet access. Burma is not the first. King Gyanendra of Nepal cut off everything in his palace coup. If cutting off Internet is a violation of human rights, what is cutting off phone service to entire regions like Jaffna?
Harsha de Silva, who studied the first least-cost-subsidy auction in Asia in Nepal as part of the 3rd cycle of WDR research, draws out the lessons for Sri Lanka in an op-ed piece published in Sri Lanka’s leading English language daily.   Now that Nepal is considering another least-cost-subsidy auction, the subject has become topical in Nepal too.   The detailed study is available  on the web. The article can be downloaded here. :: Daily Mirror – FINANCIAL TIMES :: An effective access regime that will allow optimal use of the existing backbone, better interconnection enforcement throughout the country, transparent licensing that would remove the pall of corruption or allegations of corruption hanging over the Telecom Regulatory Commission and the licensing authorities, more transparent and efficient spectrum management including the complete unlicensing of WiFi frequencies; deregulation of tariffs to the extent possible like in India are the low-cost option that will enable more people to use telecom and Internet services, not high-cost and low-thought subsidy schemes.
The final report from the World Dialogue on Regulation (WDR) 3rd research cycle has been released and can now be downloaded or ordered in hardcopy. Edited by Amy Mahan and William H. Melody, this most recent collection of the network’s research and case studies elaborates on inclusive and propoor strategies for extending network development. Title: Diversifying Participation in Network Development: Case studies and research from WDR Research Cycle 3 Editors: Amy Mahan and William H. Melody
CITATION for Mahabir Pun Ramon Magsaysay Award Presentation Ceremonies Nangi Village, where Mahabir Pun was born, rests high in the Himalayan foothills of western Nepal. Here and in surrounding Myagdi District live the Pun Magar, whose men have soldiered for generations across the globe as Gurkhas. Yet, their worldly careers have done little to change their sleepy homeland, so far from the traffic patterns that knit together the rest of the world. Indeed, Nangi is seven hours’ hard climb from the nearest road. No telephone lines have ever reached it.
The government of Pakistan seems set to issue three 3G licences by the end of this year, according to recent Reuters reports. Pakistan is one of a number of populous Asian nations whose hunger for more widely available communications services are proving to be a major growth engine for telecoms groups with global ambitions. However, it does remain to be seen if there exists a solid business case for investment in third generation networks in a region where the most basic prepaid voice and SMS services are stimulating economic activity by providing consumers and businesses with connectivity. This has not deterred the state-owned GSM operator in Nepal, one of the world’s poorest countries, from launching 3G services. The 3G SIM card reportedly costs about US$64.
Three articles on LIRNEasia and its research have appeared in Business Line, one of the leading business newspapers in India belonging to the Hindu group. The most recent one appeared today, focussing on LIRNEasia‘s research activities in the Asian region. The way to go The Hindu Businessline, October 23, 2006 By Ambar Singh Roy […]Founded in September 2004, LIRNEasia (Learning Initiatives on Reforms for Network Economies) was initially focused on India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Indonesia. This year, LIRNEasia’s research footprint has been extended to the Philippines, Thailand and Pakistan. Says Prof Rohan Samarajiva, Executive Director of LIRNEasia: “The Asia-Pacific is a leading region in ICT, both in manufacture and use.
Former Chair of the FCC, Bill Kennard, calls for a broad national debate on how get more broadband connections, especially in rural America. One of his two recommendations is for the adoption of “reverse auctions” or least-cost subsidy auctions for the disbursement of US universal service funds. Another case of policy innovations in the developing world seeping back into the developed. See LIRNEasia’s extensive work on this subject, based on the Indian universal service fund and the least-cost subsidy auction in Nepal. Spreading the Broadband Revolution – New York Times “Any serious discussion of the future of the Internet should start with a basic fact: broadband is transforming every facet of communications, from entertainment and telephone services to delivery of vital services like health care.
(unofficial translation) Insignia of Nepal Government Nepal Gazette Published by Nepal Government Part 56) Kathmandu, Bhadra 26 2063 (Number 20 Part 3 Nepal Government Notice of Ministry of Information and Communication This notice has been published to notify that the Nepal Government using the authority given by Radio Communication (license) regulation, 2049, part 18 sub-part (c) has declared that use and storage of radio equipment in the ISM Band of 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz with the Maximum Effective Isotropic Radiated Power of 4 Watts will not require any license. As Directed, Shankar Prasad Koirala Acting Chief Secretary of Nepal Government Previous discussion on this issue available here.
Inadequate backbone infrastructure in Indonesia has been widely regarded as crippling its telecom sector. Uneven development of the backbone has meant that much of the East of the country has no fiber-optic based backbone network and those islands have to rely on more expensive satellite links. Poor long-haul domestic infrastructure has meant that many parts of the country do not have access to basic communication and those that are connected have some of the world’s highest leased line and Internet prices as my earlier study shows. The Indonesian government’s ambitious Palapa Ring project to create a fiber ring connecting the major islands had been shelved post the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Recently, however, efforts have been made to revive a modified version of the earlier vision.
There has been considerable discussion in Sri Lanka about the need to unlicense the 2.4 GHz band used for WiFi. The Director General has assured that a Gazette reducing the license fees to LKR 100 is on the way (it would good if this can be posted on the TRC website). While this constitutes significant progress and is indicative of the progressive approach of the current leadership at the TRC, the fact remains that a license fee of LKR 0 with a postcard notification, or complete unlicensing is the right solution. A user will have to spend hours if not days especially if he/she lives outside Colombo) fullfilling the requirements of a s.
Developing countries have tended to focus on disaster relief and rehabilitation at the expense of strategies to prevent or mitigate effects of disasters in the first place. To a politician, the political payout from handing out relief materials to the disaster affected appears greater than investing in a national early warning system that may not yield any political reward during his/her tenure. Political expediency coupled with a mix of fatalism, laziness to undertake the hardwork required to implement mitigation/prevention strategies, low valued assigned to human life in developing countries have all contributed to the callous acceptance of natural disasters as a “fact of life.” Hence, the allusion to a “paradigm shift” referred to by the Indian minister, hopefully marks a policy shift rather than just a rhetorical one. ———— India, others work on region’s first disaster management policy The Hindu, August 22, 2006 New Delhi, Aug 22.
Bridging the digital divide is important. It may not be as important as ensuring safe water for all, or adequate healthcare, in terms of meriting investment of scarce public resources, but it is definitely important enough to merit concerted action to remove the artificial barriers to private supply. One of the best ways this can be done is by improving the knowledge that is brought to bear on the process.   The optimal way to achieve this is to create an environment within which international best practices are adapted to local circumstances by in-situ policy intellectuals. Some of these local experts could be in regulatory agencies and in government; but the optimal results will be achieved through participatory processes where all stakeholders, including the consumers are represented by knowledgeable experts.
A report on the Indicators Workshop held in New Delhi by LIRNEasia in collaboration with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is available here [PDF]. The report provides a review of international initiatives and best practices, examines some of the difficulties regarding standardising indicators across the region, the challenges of measurement and collection of indicator data and the process of developing an indicators manual for the South Asian region.