Pakistan Archives — Page 5 of 12


Payal Malik, LIRNEasia’s Senior Research Fellow resident in India, has written an op-ed analyzing the spectrum mess in India and proposing that it be cleaned up in tandem with license renewals that are coming up. Pakistan used the opportunities afforded by license renewals to clean up some policy mistakes made prior to 2004. We hope to feature a piece by a person involved in that process shortly, in an Indian newspaper and/or here. However, there is one window of possibility of cleaning this pricing conundrum. Very soon, many licences will be coming up for renewal.
The Bangkok Post has carried a report on the exchanges about universal service funds at the Islamabad Mobile 2.0 Expert Forum. The reporter initiated the exchange between the CEOs of the Pakistan universal service fund and LIRNEasia. Here is his account. Rohan Samarajiva, CEO of Lirne-Asia, has been a long opponent of USO funds and has often stated that they are a waste of money which distort the market, and that USO-type projects should be funded from central budgeting process instead.
The Grand Trunk Road, which covers a distance of 2,500 km today, says Wikipedia, is one of South Asia’s oldest and longest major roads. For several centuries, it has linked the eastern and western regions of the Indian subcontinent, running from Bengal, across north India, into Peshawar in Pakistan. The road also passes through the only road boarder between the two most powerful South Asian nations, Wagah. Wagah border point, often called the “Berlin wall of Asia”, is a ceremonial border where each evening there is a retreat ceremony called ‘lowering of the flags’. At that time there is an energetic parade by the Border Security Force (BSF) of India and the Pakistan Rangers soldiers.
 We continue to receive media coverage for the Islamabad Mobile 2.0 Applications and Conditions Expert Forum Meeting. M. Somasekhar’s piece on Hindu Business Line on mobile payments says: Experts from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Kenya, Thailand, the Philippines, Bhutan and Bangladesh among other nations met in Islamabad recently to discuss their experiences in providing mobile phone services for the BoP segment in their respective countries. They agreed that a beginning has been made and the road ahead appeared daunting, but technological progress promised quick results.
A write-up by an Indian journalist who attended the recent Islamabad Expert Forum summarizes the reasons for it working better than the gargantuan Indian USF: lower rate; efficient disbursement mechanism: Interestingly, while in India, a telecom operator has to contribute 5 per cent of its annual revenue to the USO Funds, Pakistan charges much less at 1.5 per cent. In India, the funds go to the national budget and the Department of Telecommunications has to make projects to source them, in Pakistan a separate company has been created to utilise the funds. The journalist also points to a new twist whereby renewable energy has been made mandatory for all base stations supported by the Fund. In a bold move, the Pakistan Telecom Authority, the telecom Regulator has made it mandatory that all bases stations being set up with support from the USF should be ‘Green Sites’ or renewable energy powered, especially solar and wind as the case may be.

Telecom trumps borders, not

Posted on May 5, 2010  /  3 Comments

Rohan Samarajiva is in Pakistan. Near the border, once marked by Mountbatten’s sharp knife, his cell phone links him to India. Airlines do not understand this proximity. Indian participants, to Expert Forum Meeting jointly organized by LIRNEasia and Pakistan Regulator, first travel led west (3 hours to Dubai) and then east (another 3 hours) to cover 678 km between Islamabad and Delhi – a one hour flight if existed. In the backdrop of Thimpu SAARC summit Rohan asks the same question he has been asking for sometime.
An Expert Forum Meeting on ‘Mobile 2.0 Applications and Conditions’ is to be held in Islamabad, Pakistan on April 26-27, 2010. This meeting is co‐hosted by LIRNEasia and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. Objectives: To share LIRNEasia’s Mobile 2.0 (i.
I guess that means newspapers in hardcopy. Because many who read the news on the web, actually read news that originates in documents prepared by journalists, like the one below. But still, this is a significant shift. With more people at the bottom of the pyramid in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh owning mobile phones than radios, one wonders who the Internet will beat in our part of of the world: just newspapers or newspapers and radio? The Internet has become the third most popular news platform for American adults, trailing only local and national television stations, according to a survey released on Monday.
It started with something innocuous. Within a very short period of around a week all the mobile operators in Pakistan announced they would charge 10 Paise for balance inquiries. The Competition Commission of Pakistan naturally initiated an inquiry. The mobile operators said there was no price fixing and that this move was intended to reduce the overuse of this service. But then someone turned up with copies of emails showing the existence of a CEO Forum and details on discussions of prices, not only for balance inquiries, but for other services as well.
We are always happy when people use our research. Happier when we are mentioned as the source too. We thank the writer and/or the source for attributing the results to us. While there is no separate data on the number of female subscribers in the country, according to a recent Lirneasia Teleuse Survey (a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank), mobile phone ownership is far lower among females than males in South Asia. Statistical analysis shows that gender has a significant impact on mobile phone adoption at the bottom of the pyramid in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.
According to a Pakistan telecom website, one man found that while he had only 2 SIMs from Mobilink the database showed 57! There is more. With the successful on going SIM Information System 668 campaign, official sources at PTA have revealed that the cellular phone companies have blocked 12.9 million SIMs in two weeks of launch, reported Daily News. Data of around 0.

Telecom access rankings in South Asia

Posted on October 24, 2009  /  18 Comments

According to the ITU ICTeye, which is now carrying 2008 data, Pakistan’s surge to overtake Sri Lanka has petered out, leaving the Maldives (143 active SIMs/100 people) as the undisputed leader in mobile connectivity (apparently all adult Maldivians carry two active SIMs; there are only two operators in the Maldives), and Sri Lanka second with 52 SIMs per 100 people. On the fixed side, assisted by CDMA phones that are counted as fixed, Sri Lanka is the leader (17 connection per 100 people), followed by Maldives (15 per 100). Like in cricket, the middle of the rankings are the most interesting. Both Pakistan (50/100) and Bhutan (37/100) are ahead of India (29/100) in mobile. This shows that India cannot afford to let up the pace of 10 million connections a month for some time.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index (covering 134 countries in 2008-09), only Sri Lanka has gained any ground among the South Asian countries. India is the first within the region, ranked 54th (down from 50th in 2007-08). Sri Lanka has made considerable progress from 79th place in 2007-08 to 70th place in a straight comparison (72nd among the 2008-09 countries). Congratulations to the industry, ICTA and all who contributed to this gain. Pakistan has slipped to 95th in a straight comparison from its 89th position in 2007-08.
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.
A story that extensively draws on LIRNEasia research by Voice and Data has coined a new and probably more appropriate term for MNP: not mobile number portability but multiple number possession. MNP seems to be another case of applying Western regulatory instruments without looking at the actual context and needs. In the interview, I said that I too had favored MNP in the old days, but that the results of the Teleuse @ BOP surveys, especially the qualitative studies shows we need to rethink. If we are implementing number portability (which could be useful for corporates and high-end customers) we need to ensure that the costs of portability are assigned to those who cause them and not the operator who is losing the customer. The simple fact that multiple SIM ownership has increased in Pakistan which was the first in the region to implement MNP should suggest something.
Both India and Pakistan had negative growth in fixed wireline 2003-2008: -3.5 for India and -0.4 for Pakistan.   Sri Lanka has too, but this is masked by the rapid growth of CDMA, which in this country is called fixed.