Information Technologies and International Development (ITID) – MIT Press, Winter 2006, Vol. 3, No. 2, Pages 57-71
Abstract: Wireless technologies play an enormously important role in extending access to voice and data communications by hitherto excluded groups in society, especially in the world’s most populated region and now the largest mobile market, the Asia-Pacific. The present rates of growth and levels of connectivity could not have been achieved without wireless in the access networks, for mobile as well as for fixed, and in the backbone networks. But the solution is not simply wireless; it is wireless combined with new investment; it is wireless combined with other inputs and systems. Participation in the supply of services to meet pent up demand must be enabled by the removal of barriers to entry to hitherto monopolized markets. More than half the Asia-Pacific countries now allow some form of market entry in basic services (higher in mobile). However, even where entry is allowed, conditions are not optimal for investment. For innovations using wireless, the creation of a better telecom regulatory environment constituted by better policies, regulation, and implementation with regard to market entry, management of scarce resources, interconnection and access, and the enforcement of regulatory and competition rules is essential. In sum, wireless matters, but only when policy and regulatory preconditions allow it to matter.