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Saturday, March 25, 2006

flat-rate mobile tariffs....

OK, I can't resist this one.

It's not often that the central Asian republic of Turkmenistan can claim a lead on matters wireless. However according to this report, the country's government-controlled operator may introduce a flat-rate tariff of $10..... per year. And when I was in Turkmenistan in 2002, the black-market exchange rate was something like 5x the official one, although maybe it's changed since then. So let's say $2-5 per year.

This policy is being advocated by the country's president, Saparmurat Niyazov. Otherwise known as Turkmenbashi, "Great Leader of the Turkmens". Who is famously depicted in a large gold-plated statue, which rotates to face the sun. And who is also reknowned for instigating a public holiday called "Melon Day". And whose large portrait adorns the outside of every public building, and the world's largest hand-woven carpet.

That such a visionary individual believes in sub-$1 ARPU future should send shivers down the backs of mere mortals at the helm of larger operators.

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