Telecom Archives — Page 5 of 5 — LIRNEasia


It has been an unfortunate fact that Sri Lanka and India have signed many agreements that have not been implemented. This caused me to write a column some years back entitled “An MOU to implement MOUs.”. The one difference that I see in the short LBO report on cooperation between India and Sri Lanka on telecom is that the word MOU has been replaced by agreement. But I hope I am wrong and that there will be real implementation.
For several years, the Telecom Regulatory Commission has been the biggest contributor to government revenues. It continues to be biggest in 2011, though it has come down considerably in 2011 from the massive yield in 2010, according to the 2012 Fiscal Management Report. In 2010, TRC contributed LKR 13,800 million, 44% of total revenues from government enterprises. In contrast, all the state banks combined contributed LKR 5,315 million, 17% of the total. The Port (26th largest container port in the world) yielded nothing, zero.
The 2009-10 Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) is a representative sample survey based on responses from 22,000 households from all across Sri Lanka, except Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Mannar districts that were considered too dangerous because of uncleared mines. It is a veritable treasure trove of data on how Sri Lankans live, what the differences among the provinces are, and, when combined with data from past HIES, a source of trend data. It reports communication and recreation expenditures separately, but I decided to combine them since communication is recreation. When the different telecom related expenditures are combined, they amount to LKR 750 per month (around USD 7) and dwarf everything else. Households spend 17 times more money on telecom and Internet services than on books, newspapers and magazines.
When one only reforms only a part of an interconnected sector, the unreformed parts start to atrophy. Because of union resistance and the perception that the post was not that much of a money maker to start with, the hitherto conjoined posts and telecom were bifurcated and reform efforts focused on telecom. So 30 years after bifurcation, what has happened to the post, saved from from the depredations of foreign capital and World Bank advice? Sri Lanka’s state-run postal service lost 3.0 billion rupees in 2010 up 22 percent from a year earlier, while revenues fell 6.

An antidote to development fatigue

Posted on March 23, 2011  /  0 Comments

We work with data, so we see the evidence: more people have phones, more houses have permanent roofs, more homes have refrigerators, and so on. Yet, the everyday conversations harp on the failures. We too talk about them, because we must, but we do so in the form of “what could have been better” rather than failure. Charles Kenny, an economist whose work we have been following for some time, has written a new book called Getting Better, dealing with this problem. Here is an excerpt from the review: Among the seven major regions into which the World Bank divides the planet, life expectancy has grown more since 1980 in the Middle East and North Africa than anywhere else (12.

Toure supports Gyanendra’s Law

Posted on February 21, 2011  /  0 Comments

The Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union is elected every four years by governments who have paid their dues to the Union (or have had it paid on their behalf). This does not make him a natural advocate of anything revolutionary. Yet, this is what he says: There is no alternative, suggests the secretary general. “Once people have tasted the goodies of education and communication you can’t cut it off. If you cut it off you’re gone, and that’s what happened in Egypt,” says Touré.
Part of what Boards of Investment do is spin. According to the Chairman of the Sri Lanka BOI, telecom and power sector contributions will go down because tourism investments will increase, not because they are going down in absolute terms. “In the past telecoms and power sector contributed around 60 percent of FDI, while 40 percent came from other sectors,” Perera told reporters in Colombo. “In the future the telecoms and power sectors will come down to around 40 percent.” But we wonder whether this is the full story.
In the old days, you’d just take over the newspapers and the TV channels. Now you have to take over the phone company too. It is implanting 6,000 Basij militia centers in elementary schools across Iran to promote the ideals of the Islamic Revolution, and it has created a new police unit to sweep the Internet for dissident voices. A company affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards acquired a majority share in the nation’s telecommunications monopoly this year, giving the Guards de facto control of Iran’s land lines, Internet providers and two cellphone companies. And in the spring, the Revolutionary Guards plan to open a news agency with print, photo and television elements.
Everyone is betting big on the telecom growth story as it is steadily gaining traction amidst the global financial turmoil. This sector has emerged as a big contributor to the GDP and has recorded a 42.2% growth in the quarter ended Sep ‘08. Telecom is being seen as a significant contributor to the country’s foreign direct investment (FDI). The launch of 3G will give a big boost to services.

Most of Siemens bribes were for telecom

Posted on December 26, 2008  /  0 Comments

Of the 4,283 bribery payments documented by the investigators, 2,505 (more than half) were made in relation to telecom contracts.   Of the total of USD 1,400.7 million disbursed, USD 813.9 million (more than half) were for telecom.  However, the complaint documents only three specific cases of large bribes paid in Vietnam, Bangladesh and Nigeria, all to government officials or politicians (including functionaries in government owned telecos).
Results for Indonesia in LIRNEasia’s Telecom Regulatory Environment survey show an interesting trend. Unlike their counterparts in other countries (Bangladesh, India, Maldives Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand) Indonesia telecom experts have given marks so low for different aspects of their regulatory environment that none of the categories, in any three sectors, meet the average of 3. (The options were from 1 to 5, 1=extremely unsatisfied, 5=excellent service) The one comes nearest is the score for Market Entry in the mobile sector (there are nine players in the market – eight national, one regional) but that too miss the average by 0.05 points. The results do not show a change from the previous (2006) scores.
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