BTNM Archives


Today, I delivered the keynote at the 9th International Conference on multidisciplinary approaches at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. Here is on story that I told. In 2008, Nokia, then a leading global telecom equipment supplier, came to LIRNEasia with a question they wanted answered: How was it that countries in South Asia, not known for the highest standards of policy and regulation, were offering the lowest prices for mobile communication to their customers? Conventional wisdom was that a stable policy environment with an independent and efficient regulatory agency was essential for good performance. Nokia provided us with comparative price data which we looked at in the context of the findings of the extensive “Teleuse at the Bottom of the Pyramid” surveys and qualitative studies we had conducted and the Telecom Policy and Regulatory Environment studies we were running in countries in South and Southeast Asia at that time.
As predicted, the Budget Telecom Network model is reaching Africa. Predictably, management of the operators who were living the quiet life, are running to regulators to be rescued from horrors, actual price competition: ARPU meanwhile declined at a similar rate across both regions – down 3% in Western Europe and down 3.29% in Africa. The African slide was triggered in part by price wars in a number of markets, particularly in Kenya, Tanzania and Egypt. Monthly mobile ARPU in Africa stood at $10 in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to $10.