Telecom Archives — Page 3 of 5


KDDI as first player in Myanmar market?

Posted on January 12, 2014  /  0 Comments

Reforming MPT is essential to ensure its survival in the face of skilled and well-endowed competitors. Is a partner from a high-cost, high-price telecom market the best way to do this? Japan’s KDDI Corp and Sumitomo Corp are likely to partner of Myanmar’s state-backed telecommunications operator to expand services in one of the world’s least-connected countries, a Sumitomo official said. Sumitomo’s deputy general manager in Myanmar, Soe Kyu, told Reuters the companies were jointly invited into “exclusive” talks about becoming the international partner of Myanmar Post and Telecommunication (MPT), sharing its existing licence. No further details on the likely partnership were revealed.
I keep telling people that I (and the people associated with reforms in South Asia in the late 1990s) had no expectation that we would achieve the levels of voice and data connectivity that we have now achieved. But here is the proof, from a piece I gave to UNESCO while still Director General of Telecommunications back in 1999. In most countries of the South, basic telecommunication connectivity is still a distant goal, leave alone the advanced Internet infrastructure that provides the basis for electronic commerce. Electronic transactions between companies and organizations, particularly those involved in worldwide commercial relationships, do take place within the context of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). However, these closed user systems do not fall within the commonly understood meaning of electronic commerce that involves transactions with consumers in an open system such as the Internet.

Another piece on Myanmar, in Myanmar

Posted on October 22, 2013  /  0 Comments

When I was interviewed by a journalist from the Internet Journal, said to have one of the highest circulations in Myanmar, I offered him a short piece I had written about Myanmar. It’s now been translated into Bamar (except for the table and my name). The last few paras of the piece: The government intends to establish a regulatory agency within two years. In the interim, the Ministry of Post and Telecom will function as the regulator. There are concerns both about capacity to regulate in terms of technical skills and also in terms of ability to exercise authority over the incumbent allied with a military-backed entity.

Itching to rid themselves of copper

Posted on October 15, 2013  /  1 Comments

That actually was said by a Verizon executive. Is this the future? Verizon’s move on this sliver of land is a look into the not-too-distant future, a foreshadowing of nearly all telephone service across the United States. The traditional landline is not expected to last the decade in a country where nearly 40 percent of households use only wireless phones. Even now, less than 10 percent of households have only a landline phone, according to government data that counts cable-based phone service in that category.
Two journalists attended our five-day course on regulation in Taungoo, Myanmar last week. Both interviewed me on the sidelines. Below is the first, from Internet Journal. I can’t read it (cute pictures though); hope you can. Interview in Bamar
The survey was conducted among the low-income, urban micro-entrepreneurs (MEs) in three countries, Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. The study defined micro-entrepreneurs as those who employed less than ten hired workers, i.e 0-9. The hired workers are paid employees or full-time equivalent, excluding the owner. This is an adaptation of international definition followed by World Bank and European Commission1.

Yatanarpon privatized?

Posted on September 22, 2013  /  0 Comments

It has been reported that the CEO of Yatanarpon Teleport, until now believed to be 100% government owned, has stated that is company has been privatized, with the government now holding only 5 percent of the equity. However done (auction or negotiation), privatizations are not this secret. The fact that no one seems to know who the owner(s) of the 95 percent of the company are adds to the mystery.
The legislature has completed its work and the bill awaits the President’s signature. But the actual legislation with 70 amendments from what potential investors saw is yet to see the light. And most of the detail (“the devil is in the detail”) will be in subsidiary legislation. Another nugget that has emerged is that Ooredoo is planning to invest USD 15 billion while Telenor is planning to invest USD 2 billion. MP Phone Myint Aung said the move would mean “international operators can launch their operations.
Telecomasia.net quotes the New Light of Myanmar, government publication, to the effect that the law now has only one step more to go: Presidential approval. Myanmar parliament has passed the telecom bill which will allow the nation’s mobile licensees to commence operation. The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Union Assembly) approved the Communications Bill this week, state-run New Light of Myanmar said on Wednesday. “As the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw approved the Communications Bill, [state-run telco] MPT and international operators can launch their operations,” the paper cites MP U Phone Myint Aung as saying.

Nationality of capital

Posted on August 14, 2013  /  1 Comments

Two days back a Facebook debate ensued over the newly inaugurated deep-draft Colombo South Port being described as China’s port by a friend of mine who is in politics. He had said this in an interview to a Sinhala newspaper where the embers of xenophobia are periodically fanned by various parties, but only rarely by liberal-thinking PhD economists. I was motivated to write up my side of the argument in my column in LBO.LK. Though the immediate subject was a container terminal, the issue was foreign investment.
It is reported that the law went through yesterday. No copy is yet available. Given need to translate, may take a few days.
The ethic of reciprocity is perhaps the most fundamental principle governing human interaction. I once studied this in some depth for the purpose of teaching interconnection of all things. My favorite was Rabbi Hillel’s formulation: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn it.”—Talmud, Shabbat 31a, the “Great Principle” So now, Russia wants the ethic of reciprocity applied to the metadata, the collection of which President Obama said was no problem at all.
Now that the two mobile licenses have been issued, all eyes are on the new Telecom Law, expected to be enacted any time. The version I looked at, supposedly worked with assistance from the ITU Bangkok Office, was so bad that it was withdrawn. It appears the subsequent version is not too good: The Sections 15 and 16 of the proposed bill says the license holders must abide by the rules, regulations, orders and directives issued by the Ministry of Information and its related departments. And the Section 32 stipulates that license holders must provide services in conformity with the price rates approved by the department. According to Section 38 said the license holders are not allowed to share market, buy telecommunication appliances from unapproved suppliers or go against a certain opponent in an improper way.

Meta data not limited to telecom

Posted on July 4, 2013  /  0 Comments

President Obama makes a distinction between the contents of phone calls and the information generated by the call (he calls it meta data, we used to call it transaction-generated data, and now it falls within the scope of big data), here is the analogy that is governing his thinking: Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images. Together, the two programs show that postal mail is subject to the same kind of scrutiny that the National Security Agency has given to telephone calls and e-mail. The mail covers program, used to monitor Mr.
That is the title of a 2013 Utilities Policy article by Malcolm Abbott and Xiaoying Ma. I was quite intrigued because it addresses the central problem sought to be addressed by the Pacific ICT Regulatory Resource Center (PiRRC), that LIRNEasia has been assisting with over the past two years. As is unfortunately the case with too many peer-reviewed journal articles these days, there are few new findings/insights. But the quotes below pertain directly to the problem being tackled by the region’s regulators and the World Bank and the ADB (though there is no mention of the PiRRC, which has been in existence since 2011): A number of strategies have been made to ensure staffing and expertise levels. One approach is to employ specialist consultants outside of the country.
I recall a Sinhala poem from my time at Peradeniya University. It asked who had actually built Sigiriya and the great irrigation works: The kings who routinely get the credit or the unnamed many who did the actual building? The telecom reforms in Sri Lanka are now seen as an unqualified success. The reforms did not just happen. Courageous decision making was needed.