Sunday, October 12, 2008

GSM Warlord, again

Mobile phone wars. Georgians complain they can't get American submarine cable engineers to come back, for fear. And they sue.
The Administrative Panel of the Tbilisi City Court has rejected an appeal filed by Russian cellco MegaFon against fines imposed by the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) for unlicensed use of radio frequency spectrum within Georgia's sovereign territory. The GNCC won its claim that before the recent war Megafon covered only part of the former Autonomous Republic of South Ossetia, but that in August the operator unlawfully expanded its coverage area and exceeded the conflict zone to include the regions of Gori and Kareli.
Trade does follow the flag, then; at least some kinds. I'm struggling to see how the Georgians hope to collect, but I suppose they feel better for it.

Meanwhile: a plan.
Non-governmental organisations would distribute mobile phones to Afghans for them to make their own video diaries.

Anti-Western films already circulate on Afghanistan's estimated 6m mobiles. These films are also distributed among the country's half a million internet users.

The plan has been devised by an outside consultant. Although no decision has yet been taken, it is said by the Foreign Office to "have merit". It envisages having up to 100 short films made by Afghans ready in time for a film festival next summer.
A film festival? Christ, the Mick & Ruth approach is taking hold. More seriously, I can't think of any way this is going to actually harm anyone, so I suppose it should be welcomed, and there's a reasonable chance of it being a useful check on warlords of various persuasions. This is probably more useful, however.

I recall a similar project sponsored by the GSMA that involved a suite of short films by various directors, led by Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt. The killer detail being that while he was being feted at 3GSM, he was also on the lam from the Indian police...

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