voice and data Archives


The first keynote address at the CEO Conclave organized by Voice and Data included an announcement that India’s National Broadband Plan will be released in a few weeks.  Dr. J.S. Sarma, the Chair of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, said in addition that optical fiber will reach every Panchayat with more than 500 people.
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.
Voice and Data, the leading telecom monthly, has done a good job unpacking the issues within India’s unholy spectrum mess. LIRNEasia’s Payal Malik is one of the participants in the debate. In case licenses are not de-linked, there will be rollout obligations. Some analysts suggest penalties to be enforced, like taking away extra/unused bandwith for spectrum that is not used optimally. According to Kunal Bajaj, MD, BDA Connect, “Open auction will remove all these problems.
Voice and Data has done a story on spectrum hoarding. Among the main sources is Payal Malik, who did the spectrum/licensing study that was part LIRNEasia’s mobile 2.0 work. According to Payal Malik, sr research fellow, LIRNEasia, “It is difficult to verify whether the spectrum is actually being hoarded, but given the way allocation has taken place, I won’t be surprised if it is. In an effort to eliminate competition, the existing players inflate subscriber numbers.
Voice and Data has brought up two issues we have been pushing since 2008: intra-SAARC call prices and roaming prices. Our good friend Anand Raj Khanal, Secretary of the NTA, has said it is simply a matter between operators. Respectfully, we disagree. Lowering roaming charges in Nepal, when done by Nepal operators, benefits the customers of another country; it does not benefit Nepalese roaming in that country. If all the SAARC regulators agree on lowering roaming charges at the same time, this asymmetry goes away.

What Women Want (at the BOP)

Posted on August 6, 2009  /  0 Comments

Voice and Data carries a detailed article on LIRNEasia’s teleuse research findings, including the use of telephony and remittance patterns among migrants in the study. The article highlight the gender difference in telecom ownership and use that still exists among the South Asian countries studied. The article goes on to argue that while “entertainment has a stronghold in telecom use”, a lack of interesting content and limited needs, reduces the chances of uptake and consumption among the BOP. Read the full article here. Unlike in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and the Philippines, where female users have already taken a proactive lead, in South Asian countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, clear gender differences still exist and this in turn impacts several elements of telecom usage like phone sharing, spatial elements of phone use, mobile adoption, ownership and perceptions around benefits.
Proceedings from LIRNEasia’s Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) dissemination event,  held on March 6th, 2009, have been published in Voice&Data, India’s leading magazine on the business of communications, and also LIRNEasia’s collaborating partner for the event.   Over seventy key experts of the telecom industry participated at the event, with aim of understanding and sharing the key challenges in the Indian policy and regulatory environment and the solutions available. Delivering the keynote address, RN Prabhakar, member, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India explained the challenges faced by a regulator during the course of development. The event saw the release of the TRE survey, jointly presented by Rohan Samarajiva and Payal Malik. A panel discussion on ‘Challenging Policy and Regulatory Environment,’ was also held.
Peter Anderson who spent part of his sabbatical in Sri Lanka assisting with the conduct of simulations for the Last-Mile HazInfo Project is to develop a mobile communications command vehicle for immediate post-disaster coordination for the government of Sri Lanka. He first came to Sri Lanka in January 2005 to participate in the first expert forum on disaster early warning at the invitation of LIRNEasia. SFU News Online – Emergency communications vehicle will help Sri Lanka – January 10, 2008 Anderson is laying the groundwork for an advanced mobile emergency-communications (AMECom) vehicle for Sri Lanka’s disaster management program. The versatile, mobile communications vehicle will be similar to one he and his team designed and produced for emergencies in B.C.
TRAI has asked to amend the current international long distance guidelines to discourage restrictive and monopolistic practices of the incumbents and provide a level playing field to new entrants. Currently, six international cables, owned by BSNL, VSNL, Reliance, and Bharti carry international voice and data to India. They allegedly charge 40% to 60% more than international rates. Full report: http://www.telecomasia.