telecom regulatory environment Archives — LIRNEasia

  According the LIRNEasia’s 2011 Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) survey, stakeholders in India, Pakistan and Indonesia have identified the telecom regulatory environments in their countries as improved since 2008, the last time the survey was carried out.   In contrast, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines have seen the regulatory environments decline in effectiveness, while Thailandremains more-or-less the same. The TRE Survey asks senior level stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of the telecom regulatory environment in the fixed, mobile and broadband subsectors along a Lickert scale of 1 to 5 (1 being highly ineffective and 5 being highly effective, with the mid-point of 3 being considered average performance).  Seven different dimensions of regulation (market entry, tariff regulation, interconnection, universal service, anti-competitive-practices, quality of service) are evaluated by the stakeholders.    This year, 349 responded participated in the 7 countries.
One of the key concepts we use when teaching about regulation is administrative expropriation. It is a form of expropriation that is distinguished from the more obvious expropriations by governments (nationalization) or warlords. It nibbles away at the ability to make the expected return on investment and beyond a certain point starts to eat into the invested capital itself. In my teaching I define it as follows: Administrative expropriation = being prevented from making a reasonable return on investment per expectation at point of investing, usually through a series of actions (not decisive when each taken alone), resulting in de facto expropriation of the investment Not necessarily telecom specific; can be through tax laws, customs authorities, etc. Any government can engage in admin expropriation, directly or through proxies The Sunday Leader lead story of 10 January 2010 provides an excellent example of administrative expropriation by a regulator, violating the provisions of the enabling law at the behest of a political authority or in an attempt to curry favor with a political authority.
Rohan Samarajiva, LIRNEasia’s CEO, delivered a keynote address at the recently concluded South Asia Mobile Summit, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 21 – 22 October 2009. The two-day event was organized by the South Asia Mobile Forum, a consortium of telecom industry players in the SAARC region, with the aim of creating a platform for market, institutional and technological issues to be discussed and progress made. Rohan made a presentation on South Asia’s  Budget Telecom Network Model, that has been adopted by many regional telcos in providing voice services to the bottom of the pyramid (BOP), and how the same can be applied to broadband services as well. The presentation drew on findings from LIRNEasia’s Teleuse@BOP, telecom regulatory environment (TRE) and mobile benchmark studies. The full presentation can be downloaded here.
Two surveys of India’s telecom regulatory and policy environments conducted in 2006 and 2008 by LIRNEasia show a dramatic increase in the score for universal service policies since the policy changes effected in 2007. From being ranked lowest among six emerging Asian countries, India now has close to the highest score for universal service policy and implementation in the mobile subsector, the most dynamic and important of all. What is also noteworthy is that the 2006 score for universal service was the lowest among the six policy and regulatory dimensions that were assessed then. By 2008, that unenviable position had been passed to the dimension of management of scarce resources (spectrum). The increase in the USO score in the fixed subsector was 36 percent; and in the mobile sector 64 percent.
The results of the 2008 TRE research were presented at a well attended event in New Delhi on 6 March 2009. The picture above shows Mr R.N. Prabhakar, Member of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India responding to points raised in the discussion. In the background are members of the panel, including LIRNEasia Chair and CEO Rohan Samarajiva.
LIRNEasia will present findings from the Telecom Regulatory Environment (TRE) 2008 study at a panel discussion today, in Delhi, India. Organized in association with Voice and Data, the event entitled, ‘The Challenging Policy and Regulatory Environment’, will be held at Le Meridien Hotel, Delhi from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.