ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Unfair Competition in Telecoms

Giving so many financial sops and deferment of due payments to the state-owned telecom companies which have inherited assets and assured markets while their competitor private telephone companies have to raise equity and debt capital and have fragmented licences, territory- and service-wise, is inequitous.

Telecom Regulation and Consumer Welfare

Neither the telecom companies nor the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) have assisted in the participation of consumer bodies in an intelligent and effective manner in the TRAI's consultative processes. True, Indian telecom consumers now have a wider choice and prices too have tended to come down, but yet there are many areas of concern to consumers. Some of the important ones are discussed here.

Telecom: Policy Response to Change

In a country like India which is not yet telephone-saturated and ongoing changes in related areas are resulting in a rapidly changing profile of users, providers and their respective needs, continuous revision of the telecom policy is imperative. Given the emerging new technologies and the integrating economies there must be fairness among competitors.

VSNL Investment in Tata TeleServices

The objections raised to VSNL's decision to invest in Tata TeleServices show how fragile and untenable the government's disinvestment programme is so long as politicians are not effectively stopped from interfering in the functioning of the privatised PSUs.

Telecommunications Liberalisation

The government's reluctance in the first round of reforms to break the dominance of department of telecommunications and to overhaul the legal and regulatory regime led to endless litigation, which delayed the liberalisation process for almost a decade. The explosive growth of the Internet and wireless technologies and the threat by investors to decamp and withdraw their investment led the government to make efforts to untangle the problems. The 1999 Telecom Policy, the Internet Policy of 1998, and the recent legal and regulatory initiatives to overhaul the legal and regulatory regime are all steps in a positive direction. This article takes India's case as an example to show that a proper legal and regulatory regime at an institutional level at the outset, and a clear commitment to pro-competitive market principles at the political level, are necessary preconditions to successfully reforming the telecom sector.

Sense and Nonsense on Village Public Telephones

To require every telephone company to provide public telephones in villages in the state for which it has got a basic telephony licence is vastly wasteful and impractical. Instead the least cost method of providing village public telephones should be identified. Two alternative approaches are suggested here.

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