Affiliated Organization

Case Western Reserve University, USA


Telecommunications privatization, competition, liberalization, and regulatory independence in several countries have been embarked with the goals of maximizing universal access to telecommunications services as a developmental goal, promoting efficiency through competition and establishment of world class telecommunications networks. Using interview data from India and China –the two countries that have very different governments and policies, leading to differing approaches to the introduction of telecommunication competition and infrastructure development -- this paper provides analyses of privatization, competition, liberalization processes and legal frameworks governing telecommunications. India has set policy via recommendations of publicly visible independent regulatory authority while China has pursued a strategy of competition among government-owned organizations. The Indian case study shows evidence of complimentarity between privatization and competition in deepening network penetration and in dramatically restraining the rise of service pricing among privatized operators. China’s case study reveals that the state retained all the control rights, planned the country’s infrastructure development and made very little progress in regulatory reform including the enactment of telecoms laws, yet made substantial progress in infrastructure development. It remains to be seen whether India's relatively transparent and market driven approach to telecommunications policy (and access) will prove effective in the long run.