I wish the question mark was not necessary, but the record so far does not allow me exclude it. We started this process in the weeks before the 2008 SAARC Summit. When the issue was mentioned in the SAARC Chair’s speech and included in the Declaration, we were, naturally, pleased. I recall telling a journalist that at most it would take a few months to get this implemented. We raised the issue with the then Chair of the South Asian Telecom Regulator’s Council, Mr Nripendra Misra of India.
August has been a busy month for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) and its chairman, the redoubtable Nripendra Misra, a dyed-in-wool bureaucrat who has in his regulatory avatar done arguably more than any of his predecessors on the job. He has plenty of support and equally bitter critics who wish he would give up on forbearance, cut rentals, mandate cheaper roaming and ensure per second billing instead of per minute. On August 20, the authority allowed India’s estimated 295 million telecom subscribers the freedom to use different long distance service providers without changing their service provider. Two days earlier, it had unshackled internet telephony (voice transmitted over internet protocol networks). Two weeks before that, it had opened the doors for virtual mobile networks, virgin territory in India till then.
The TRE 2006 results [PDF Download] of the first Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) survey applied across six Asian countries were released in New Delhi yesterday. The TRE Assessment, developed by LIRNEasia and already implemented in a number of countries, is a perceptual index which gauges regulatory performance across six dimensions. The TRE survey carried out in India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand as part of a multi-component study, closely reflected regulatory reform actions undertaken in the respective countries along with sector performance. The Hindustan Times, a leading newspaper in India, covered the findings from the TRE surveys [PDF Download] focusing on the comparison between India and Pakistan’s scores. Pakistan Bests India in Telecoms Regulation by M.