About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

29 August 2008

Altech vs ICASA and 28 Others: The Ruling

So the judge has ruled on the case, and I was wrong in the major issue. The judge ruled this morning (I was unable to attend in person sadly), and broadly; VANS have been able to self provide since Feb 2005, and thus all VANS licensees should be awarded Individual ECNS licenses, which will allow them to roll out infrastructure.

There are two broad impacts of this decision. Firstly, this will mean that there will be a lot more suppliers in the market than simply Telkom, Neotel, WBS (iBurst) and the 3 cellular operators - but over 600 new operators. This should increase competition, and ultimately bring better service and hopefully better pricing.

Secondly, and rather drastically - the managed liberalisation of the telecommunication market in South Africa is no more. And this can be very dangerous. The whole rationale behind the managed liberalisation is simple: give a second (and later the third, and fourth etc) enough space and time to build up infrastructure and service offerings such that they can compete effective and efficiently against the incumbents. An unmanaged liberalisation could result in too many ambitious projects that may not actually allow real competition with the incumbent (in the case Telkom) and thus ultimately fail in the end goal.

The fact of the matter is; it takes a lot of money to invest in telecommunication infrastructure. A router that is meant for the home costs R1000; the router that is meant for a medium sized business costs about R10 000; the router that is used in large company sites costs about R300 000 and the routers that are used by carriers cost upward of 1.5 million Rands. There are simply not enough companies out there, that can commit to investing in what is required to build a good telecommunications network.

I will be presenting a paper at WCITD 2008in October (not peer reviewed though) where I discuss the economics of WiMax as applicable in South Africa. I will go into more detail then (maybe), but basically, I do not see WiMax as the saviour for cheap Internet access - the numbers just don't seem to work out. Likewise, having 600 new operators will not really help - it will just make a lot of wireless Internet service providers legal.

28 August 2008

Movie: Lust, Caution

Directed by Ang Lee, this is a well told, brilliantly filmed story set during the Japanese occupation of China in WW2. A group of students decide to take down the "traitor" puppet government; in particular the chief of security, Mr Yee. To achieve this aim; a young woman (Wong Chia Chi) decides (or rather led to this decision) to trap Mr Yee and become his mistress; and thus ultimately lead him to his death.

In reality, it is very similar to most spy stories of this type - IIRC Head in the Clouds starring Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz was similar. But, what is special in this movie, is the story is largely narrated from the view of Wong Chia Chi - and thus recounts her sacrifices in a lot more detail. It is not just a tale of lust, or love.

24 August 2008

Movie: The Bank Job

The movie is supposedly based on a real story - a bunch of amateur (but not too bad) criminals get an opportunity to rob the safe deposit boxes of one of main banks in London (Baker Street Robbery). But they walk off with more than just cash and jewels - but also of incriminating pictures of ministers going to brothels (the one minister looks just like Max Mosley and also enjoys BDSM), incriminating pictures of royalty as well as incriminating documents of police bribery and corruption.

The movie is very similar in style with recent british gangster movies such as the ones made by guy Richie and Layer Cake - and is a very enjoyable story. It is less of an action movie, and while it does not feature the glitz of some recent bank heist movies such as Inside Man, it is still interesting and fun.