Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Help solve the big SMS mystery!

The recently published 2010 Statistical Bulletin from MoIC contains some interesting statistics. One of the tables which I found mind-boggling shows the number of SMSes sent by B-Mobile, by destination and month.


While the total number of SMSes sent each month hovered between 4-7 million, the breakdown according to destination is quite puzzling. You would expect the number of local SMSes to be roughly the same throughout the year, or perhaps rising slowly as SMS technology is becoming more popular. But this is not the case: in January about 6 million local SMSes were sent. In May only 1.5 million (the minimum, shown below in red). Then in December almost 7 million (the maximum, shown below in blue).

The behaviour of the number of SMSes sent internationally is also surprising. Initially I though it would correlate with the tourist seasons, but it doesn't. The maximum was sent during the month of May, when more than 3 million international SMSes (!) were sent. Recall that May is the "low season" for local SMSes! The low season for internations SMSes is October, with only about 38 thousand (!).

There was no explanation for this behaviour in the bulletin, and I could not think of any. If you happen to have a rational explanation of these seasonal patterns, kindly share with us!

Month
Local
India
International
Total
January
5,871,653
29,537
319,347
6,220,537
February
5,425,189
29,161
51,740
5,506,090
March
4,338,791
30,607
768,966
5,138,364
April
2,955,411
26,873
1,727,654
4,709,938
May
1,539,770
19,377
3,216,825
4,775,972
June
2,811,034
2,169
2,221,017
5,034,220
July
4,772,030
1,927
638,255
5,412,212
August
5,471,331
25,298
199,703
5,696,332
September
4,381,286
16,632
121,698
4,519,616
October
4,769,441
19,674
37,876
4,826,991
November
3,989,168
16,202
13,143
4,018,513
December
6,916,785
20,374
13,505
6,950,664
Total
53,241,889
237,831
9,329,729
62,809,449