LIRNEasia participated at the 2nd meeting of the A4AI Myanmar Coalition meeting yesterday at the MICT Park in Yangon. Four priority areas were identified as being important for debate right now; 1. A Universal Access Fund 2. Infrastructure development and sharing 3. Data and Research 4. Tariff and Taxation If there was one recommendation that stood out among all those ...

The Myanmar government is rushing to inject competition to the nascent mobile industry by inviting bids for the fourth license yesterday (July 27, 2015), said Reuters. Local firms, with registered capital of minimum US$2.37 million, may form foreign partnership and submit their proposal by August 24 (that’s less than a month). Under the state-owned monopoly, Myanmar’s mobile penetration was just ...

There were only seven million mobile phone users in 1989. Today the global mobile subscription has reached 7.1 billion, said the newly released data of TeleGeography. And the Asia-Pacific region is the major contributor with 60% annual growth during 1Q of 2014 and 1Q of 2015. The report also claims that the number of active mobile lines will cross the ...

One of the advantages Myanmar has in telecom is that it can learn from the experience of others, including countries that are/were similarly situated. This was the central proposition I advanced in my first piece on Myanmar telecom reforms, published in 2012 in Myanmar. Keeping to that theme, I spoke on what can be learned from the experience of others ...

I will be participating in this Internet Governance Forum session in Joao Pessoa, Brazil, later this year. The session is organized by UN Global Pulse: In recent years, the potential of big data derived from the Internet and other digital devices to transform targeted advertising, recommender systems, location based services, logistics and other activities in the private sector has come ...

So Amazon is bigger than Walmart. When will Alibaba overtake Walmart? That will be the day, since there’ll be no help from cloud services The surge added another $40 billion or so to Amazon’s market cap. That will almost assuredly propel it to be more valuable than Walmart for the first time when the stock market opens Friday, making this ...

Here is the gist of the talk, entitled “ICT impacts in developing Asia: What we know and what we need to know”: It is known that economic growth and diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are positively correlated. But that knowledge alone provides little guidance for the design of public-policy interventions in specific domains. Should priority be given to ...

It’s been almost two months since ICTD. For some reason, this summary which had been written immediately after we concluded our session on SRs, had not been posted. There is a degree of discomfort among some academics about systematic reviews (SRs). Researchers worry about the limited resources available from funders being channeled to SRs and quantitative research, at the expense ...

Half of LIRNEasia will be in Yangon next week. Together wiith our lead partner MIDO and our principal funder IDRC, we will conduct a series of activities that mark a deepening of our three-year old engagement with Myanmar’s reform process intended to build a modern network nation. The work program is described here. The highlight of the week’s activities will ...

I praised the TRCSL approach to shutting down mobile networks at specified times within the wildlife sanctuary of Yala. Possibly because of my previous writing critical of the shutting down of mobile networks, Nalaka Goonawardene has challenged my position on Twitter, saying it creates a bad precedent. This has set off a whole lot of Tweets with people asking whether ...

Having been regaled on the wonders of non-geostationary satellites by various delegations seeking licenses for Iridium and ICO and other systems that ultimately fizzled out, I was originally skeptical about O3B. But they answered my questions well (despite a messed up presentation at PTC a few years back) and I have been promoting this solution ever since. Happy to know ...

I’ve been waiting for a good example of the application of Deng Xiao Ping’s approach to policy: cross the river by feeling the stones. Fine tune policy actions based on feedback. One has come up: in Sri Lanka of all places. The department of wildlife said sightings of large mammals such as leopard are usually conveyed to other vehicles using ...

When Japan’s NTT bought 35 percent of the equity of the formerly government owned incumbent operator in Sri Lanka, it radically increased the pace of investment by the company. But this was using funds generated from within the company, primarily from the money earned from its exclusivity over international telecom services. Appears Myanmar’s incumbent has worked out a better deal. ...

Late May in Ottawa, I was among those interviewed for an article about big data. Similarly, private telecom companies’ data on mobile phone traffic has become a crucial resource for researchers at the Sri Lanka-based think tank LIRNEasia, a long-time IDRC research partner. Using phone data that tracks traffic flows can be a low-cost means of helping governments decide where ...

In the context of some work we were doing with the support of Ford Foundation we conducted four case studies of national broadband initiatives. The four case studies were presented at the Expert Forum we convened in New Delhi in March 2014 and may have contributed to the rethinking of the becalmed NOFN project that has now been relaunched as ...

I was reminded of Pramod Mahajan, a former Minister who died tragically. He was responsible for “unifying” the Ministry of Telecom and the Ministry of Electronics and IT. He also said Indian succeeded in IT and beauty only because the government was not involved. Echoes of Mahajan are heard in these reactions to Prime Minister Modi’s launch of Digital India. ...

The original idea was that problems in the last mile were holding back the next billion. My argument was that while problems of quality and affordability are experienced by users on their terminal devices in the last mile, the actual causes are along the supply chain, in the form of expensive and non-resilient domestic and international backhaul. The slideset.

Indian government has endured stormy opposition when Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), its international telecoms arm, was privatized in early 2000. Since then, through merger and acquisition along with new build-outs, the Indian carriers – Tata, Reliance and Bharti – dominate the global connectivity business. Moreover, each submarine cable linking Asia with the Middle East, Africa and Europe hops in ...

Helani Galpaya was selected as one of the stakeholders invited to speak at the United Nations General Assembly’s Informal interactive stakeholder consultation held at UN Headquarters in New York on the 2nd of July. The selection itself was done by a committee that reviewed applications by over a 100 organizations to speak at this event.  Helani’s opening comments that were read out can be found here. ...

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