Pakistan Archives — Page 4 of 12


Interesting post on the procurement practices of the Pakistan USF Company by its CEO: ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES I face is to convince some of those who matter that it is possible to deal in Billions WITHOUT ANY CORRUPTION. I don’t blame them. Corruption has become so pervasive that if and when it is absent, one tends to disbelieve! So what does one do? It is said that transparency helps.
The ICT Development Index (IDI) rankings by the ITU are out. Vietnam, a high performer on all composite ICT rankings, has leaped forward from 91st place to 81st place, in a rare 10-place advance. In South Asia, Bhutan advanced four places to 119th; Nepal by three places to 134th; and India and Sri Lanka advance by one place to 116th and 105th respectively. Pakistan and Bangladesh drop two places each to 123rd and 137th, respectively. Maldives, the leader among the South Asian countries, drops one place to settle at 67th place.
Building on the previous blog post, I wrote up an op-ed on the latest developments of the Bangladesh license renewal drama that has been published in the Sunday Daily Star. What mistakes are made when incentives are not properly analyzed. More proof that the Bangladesh Ministry of Post and Telecom has a serious problem of capacity. The “market competition factor,” as presented, penalises operators with more customers. It creates a disincentive to add low-revenue customers and, indeed, an incentive to shed marginal customers.

One man, 80,000 SIMs

Posted on July 24, 2011  /  3 Comments

I thought the Pakistani man who thought he had 2 SIMs but found 57 had been issued in his name was a story. But India does better, according to NDTV. A man in Mumbai’s suburb Thane region was found with 80,000 Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards. The SIM cards were found at the residence of Anwar Ansari, in Bhiwandi area of Thane. According to reports, Mr Ansari used to run a racket that facilitated international calls.
Since 2004, India has been behind Pakistan on a key indicator: mobile SIMs/100. Few in India wanted to talk about this. But we did. Now finally, India has pulled ahead, as it should. I discuss the reasons in a recent piece done for Pioneer.
The Telecom Policy and Regulatory Environment survey results have been carried in the Economic Times in India. India’s regulatory regime has been found to be the best for mobile phone tariffs but the 2G spectrum allocation controversy has pulled it down in a recent perception survey of seven nations conducted by telecom regulation and policy study firm Lirneasia. “In India, the regulator does not regulate most of the prices where as in other countries, we surveyed, there are regulatory interventions,” Payal Malik, senior research fellow of Lirneasia told PTI. India scored 3.9 for mobile phone tariffs on scale of 1 to 5.
The World Economic Forum has issued its Global Information Technology Report which includes the NRI rankings. I find the sub indices always more instructive but for now, only the top line aggregate rankings are discussed. The big winner, among the countries LIRNEasia works in and the WEF covers, is Indonesia, advancing from 67th place in 2009-10 to 53rd place in 2010-11, a massive jump of 14 places. Sri Lanka has advanced six places from 72nd to 66th. Bangladesh advances three places to 115th, from 118th.
Chanuka Wattegama has made a strong case for MNP to be examined at a public hearing. LIRNEasia has some relevant research, but the material below is all Chanuka’s. I was traveling and did not see this piece until today. While not unfamiliar to North America and Europe, Pakistan and India were the only South Asian countries to implement MNP. Pakistan maintains a central database with all its mobile user data.

Multiple SIM story in Pakistan

Posted on June 1, 2011  /  0 Comments

One problem with our Teleuse@BOP research is that people who use the findings tend to shed the nuances. We do not know the percentage of Pakistanis with multiple SIMs, only the percentage of those at the BOP. But I am confident the general claim being made is not erroneous. Pakistan has been ranked top among the regional countries in 2010 with the highest number of cellular phone subscribers having more than one connection of different operators, Lirneasia study reported recently. As per the estimates, the subscribers possessing multiple SIMs are estimated to mark 23 percent share in the overall stated base of the country.
We are not the greatest fans of the Network Readiness Index, but we do believe it matters. Many of these composite indices are built upon questionable data such as the problematic “Internet users/100” indicator. No time at this moment to probe the details, but here are some key takeaways: The study showed the rapid progress of the so-called Asian Tigers, whose governments have invested heavily in technology. Besides Singapore, Taiwan was ranked 6th, South Korea 10th and Hong Kong 12th. Japan was 19th.
Crimes are committed. They should be prevented. If not, criminals should be punished. Someone must be held to account if the government cannot catch the criminal. Why not the telecom operator whose phone the criminal used?
Not just eHealth but in any national innovation, finding a champion to own, operate, and promote the new intervention is crucial. We found ours in Sri Lanka to take the Real-Time Biosurveillance Program (RTBP) to the next level; our champion is Dr. R.M.S.
Findings from LIRNEasia‘s m-health pilot research on the use of mobiles for detection and dissemination of disease outbreaks, led by Mr. Nuwan Waidyanatha, was presented to key stakeholders at a workshop on 29 – 30 September 2010 in Islamabad, Pakistan. Participants consisted of key officials of the ministries of health and IT, public and private healthcare institutions, NGOs and academic institutions. The conference was co-funded by eHealth Association of Pakistan and International Development Research Centre, Canada. Findings have also made to the Pakistani  media.

No-battery electronic devices

Posted on July 18, 2010  /  4 Comments

Now that telecom networks have a bigger footprint than electric power networks, the question of power sources is assuming increasing importance. Quite a lot of work is being done in our region on reducing the power requirements of base stations and of substituting for expensive diesel generators. In Pakistan, using renewable sources at base stations are mandatory for those obtaining subsidies. The power is also made available for the recharging of handsets. But would it not be wonderful if handsets require no external power and no batteries?
Spectrum allocation and pricing in Pakistan and India have differed considerably, one following market-based price discovery mechanisms through auctions, and the other, arbitrary pricing. Two articles, one by Mr. Muhammad Aslam Hayat, a regulatory consultant at Grameenphone, Bangladesh, and the other, by Payal Malik, LIRNEasia Senior Research Fellow, examines the past and present spectrum policy in Pakistan and India, respectively. Hayat writes: Pakistan introduced mobile cellular telephony early, in 1990. Although there was no clear spectrum management policy or roadmap available prior to 2004, the issuance of four mobile cellular licenses and the assignment of spectrum to those licensees were remarkably well thought out.
Just a few weeks ago, we highlighted that the Pakistan Universal Service Fund was an exception to the rule of poorly performing USFs that were good at collecting money, but were terrible at spending intelligently. Looking back, there were two reports, not one. The above was written by an Indian journalist. The one written by a Thai journalist went into greater depth, partly because he created a debate between me and the CEO of the Pakistan Fund. Not withstanding, it appears that the Minister wants to drag down the Pakistan Fund to the level of its dysfunctional peers.