The results of our 2016 nationally representative survey were quoted extensively in Myanmar’s Universal Service Strategy document released in January 2018. This work has fed into the Government’s proposals in multiple areas including affordability, ownership of devices and digital skills. The manner in which our work on digital skills contributed towards the Government’s recommendations is depicted in the table below. A more comprehensive document which includes the linkages between our work in affordability and ownership of devices can be found here.
Libertarians believe private property is sacrosanct. But ownership has never been absolute. In some countries ownership of land includes what lies beneath; in others it does not. Servitudes may detract from absolute ownership and so on. The situation is becoming similar with consumer goods it seems.
Ownership matters. That is why we take special precautions when the incumbent telecom operator is owned by the government. There is a tendency for the government to want to look after its creature, even if it means that the “playing field” is tilted against private competitors by the regulator. It’s been a long time since the government of Fiji “privatized” the government department that provided fixed telephony services. But the new owner was not a truly private entity, but the Pension Fund.
Ericsson has released results of a representative sample survey (3,000 sample) of teleuse in Bangladesh. This is a rare quantitative study for the region. We hope to make a few more posts on it, hopefully after getting a hold of the full report. The Daily Star provides a summary worth reading. The trend towards internet use for social networking in urban areas of the country is growing remarkably, keeping pace with the global trend, he said.
If you wish to believe that Syriatel will henceforth be owned by the poor of Syria, you can. Mr. Makhlouf said that he would offer shares of Syriatel, Syria’s largest phone company, to the poor and that profits would go, in part, to families of people killed in the uprising. He said profits from his other endeavors would go to charitable and humanitarian work. He vowed not to enter into any new business that would bring him personal gain.
Something we rarely talk about in discussions of the great public policy success of our time, the mobile explosion, is how various kleptocrats rode the mobile boom. Libya’s Qaddafi’s present problems serve to bring this skeleton out of the closet: But never underestimate the human capacity for delusion. Here’s a despot who’s managed at various times to pocket America and Europe with après-moi-le-déluge talk of the need for his rule, bought off several smaller African states, cocooned himself for more than four decades with fawning acolytes, murdered with impunity, sired with abandon, enriched himself beyond measure and — like any self-respecting modern tyrant — doled out the cell phone companies to his kids. Through all this he’s survived. Our politicians just tax mobile operators in multiple ways.
Bangladesh is considering the issuance of 3G frequencies (they should get the license renewal mess sorted; but that is another story). The question of establishing a single 3G network that multiple operators would jointly own and use has been floated by an important stakeholder, the CEO of Banglalink. This is a theoretically good, but practically bad, idea. So LIRNEasia explained why in Bangladesh’s premier English language daily, the Daily Star: The operation of multiple 3G networks, owned and operated by different limited-liability companies, may be sub-optimal if seen solely from resource optimisation or planning perspective. But it is actually the most efficacious for the ground conditions in Bangladesh.
The profitability and surveillance potential of the state telecom monopoly has not been missed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, described by many as the pseudogovernment of Iran: The nearly $8 billion acquisition by a company affiliated with the elite force has amplified concerns in Iran over what some call the rise of a pseudogovernment, prompting members of Parliament to begin an investigation into the deal. Full story. In other countries, similar arrangements are emerging. In Sri Lanka, it is alleged that no-name companies with interesting connections have entered into joint ventures with the incumbent teleco on highly favorable terms.
LIRNEasia’s T@BOP3 research findings on ownership levels of mobile phones versus radios at the BOP have been cited in both MobileActive.org and MediaShift Idea Lab. Seemingly surprising findings reveal that in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India, more people own mobile phones than radios. Read the two articles here and here. MediaShift Idea Lab, 19 Aug 2009: In the United States, high-end smartphones like the iPhone and BlackBerry don’t have built-in radios.
Interesting how research gets used. We draw the conclusion that mobile is the path to the information society or digital Bangladesh or whatever it’s called. In the Dhaka Mirror article, the Bangladeshi experts draw the conclusion that what is needed are more telecenters. M Faizullah Khan, president of the Bangladesh Computer Samity, disagrees with the notion that the Bangladeshi poor can in no way afford computers while the Indians and Pakistanis can. Contradicting the country’s much trumpeted success in mass education, Khan said, ‘Effective literacy had not been ensured for the poor people.