LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Tag Archives: competition

Was evidence a major factor in TRAI’s decision on differential pricing for Internet services?

Helani Galpaya was the lead for LIRNEasia on the major policy/regulatory issue recently decided against Facebook’s Free Basics by TRAI. In her reaction piece in the Council on Foreign Relations blog, she has some interesting comments on the role played by evidence in the debate: But for many, this “Free Basics as an on-ramp to […]

Big data analysis from the Center for Internet and Society

As befitting an article on BIG data, the writer of this piece, done for Center for Internet and Society, is liberal with superlatives. A colossal increase in the rate of digitization has resulted in an unprecedented increment in the amount of Big Data available, especially through the rapid diffusion cellular technology. The importance of mobile […]

Happy that issues other than privacy are beginning to be addressed re big data

I first talked about the competitive issues of big data at the 2013 IGF in Bali. In actual fact the competitive implications of a subset, utility customer information, were discussed back in 1992. But it was rare to think that there was anything to talk about other than privacy. Finally, the message seems to be […]

Market consolidation in India, now it’s a threefer (or is it a fourfer?)

It was expected. So I ignored the news that RCom and Sistema were in merger talks. What got my attention was the Aircel angle. People have been talking about collaboration between the Ambani brothers (Jio and RCom). Now that get’s real interesting. I guess the Competition Authority is watching now. The main motivation for RCom […]

Beliefs trump evidence among moderators at Stockholm Internet Forum

It is quite intriguing how often moderators and many panelists default to a position that advocates government action and subsidies at the sessions I have heard so far. The evidence is clear on what worked and what did not with regard to first generation connectivity. Government supply failed. Government subsidies were not disbursed for the […]

Before the entry of 4th operator, Myanmar consumers see benefits

No one yet knows the actual composition of the joint venture that will get the fourth license. But the results are already being felt. Starting this month, Myanmar Posts and Telecommunications (MPT), the state-owned operator whose monopolistic rights ended last year, cut its Internet charges from 7 kyat (Bt0.21) per megabyte to 6 kyat. The […]

Whatsapp versus SMS: The drama continues

The first part of the Quartz article is the usual complaint about Whatsapp getting a free ride. While they may be eating into the messaging and voice revenues of mobile networks, OTTs like Whatsapp aren’t completely bad for business. They can help fuel data consumption—a growing revenue stream for network operators if exploited well. South […]

Auditor General’s time is different from infrastructure builders’ time

In the early years of TRAI, the Authority had to defend itself against strictures from India’s Comptroller and Auditor General that it was not maximizing revenues to the government, connectivity be damned (relevant to present day debates on spectrum prices). I had to convince Sri Lanka’s Auditor General that we should pay replacement costs to […]

What will the Myanmar regulator do about towers?

It appears that getting sites to build towers is one of the biggest barriers to rapid rollout of mobile networks in Myanmar. One operator, MPT, has an advantage in that it owns land in all major population centers. The claim that they are examining tower quality before offering sharing is one that I would take […]

International calling from Myanmar becomes cheaper; but prices should settle lower

Myanmar int'l call charges

That’s the first page of the new international call charges announced by Telenor Myanmar. Compared to the dollar a minute (900 Kyat) charged by MPT prior to the entry of competitors, this is very good. The last time we collated international voice prices was in early 2012. But even in relation to that ancient table, […]

Despite competition, MPT SIMs still have black market value

Incumbent telcos see competition as an unmitigated evil. But what happens is that competition energizes the market and creates new demand. If the incumbent is decently managed, it can catch some (and possibly most) of this demand. After all, it is the known brand. And competitors have their own problems in the start-up phase. Looks […]

The mental shock of competition

Bright people go into engineering in countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Engineers manage incumbent telcos. When I came to Sri Lanka as the regulator in 1998, I was surprised by some of the things my bright engineer friends said about losing market share. They talked as though this was something that could be stanched. […]

A solution for the problem of extremist boycott of Ooredoo in Myanmar

I think it’s perfectly alright for consumers to boycott various products. That’s almost part of consumer sovereignty. When we buy one thing, we don’t buy its substitutes. But the 969 boycott in Myanmar has an added twist. The anti-Muslim hatemongers are asking their followers to refuse to answer calls from Ooredoo numbers. This reduces the […]

Japan extends concessionary loans to Myanmar for telecom: Govt must ensure competition is not harmed

On the face any money coming into Myanmar to help develop its creaking infrastructure is good. When the money is given on concessionary terms, it appears even better. But it is important to look beyond appearance. Will it harm competition, which is the government’s chosen (and proven) instrument to develop the ICT infrastructure? Japan said […]

Forum shopping in regulation debated in India

If not for a degree of regulatory duplication, it’s possible that the AT&T breakup that transformed the entire telecom environment would not have happened. On the other hand, it’s the general competition regulator who did the job that the sector regulator failed to do. Nevertheless, countries that have limited human resources to deliver effective regulation […]

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