World Telecommunication Development Report 1999

Mobile Cellular

image of World Telecommunication Development Report 1999

The fifth edition of ITU’s annual report on telecommunication trends. This edition has as its theme «Mobile Cellular» communications. The report was specially prepared for World TELECOM Interactive 99 in October 1999. The «World Telecommunication Indicators» are also included.



Regulating Mobile

Regulation of mobile cellular services has tended to be minimal. For instance, fewer than half the countries replying to an ITU questionnaire in 1999 stated that their mobile operators had universal service/access obligations or that their mobile tariffs were regulated. The relative lack of cellular regulation in a number of markets is partly due to regulatory asymmetry where new services are not burdened with regulatory obligations in their early stages of development. This approach has been reinforced by the growing belief that fixed networks have been too regulated, stifling innovation and network growth. Since mobile has developed at a time when this belief has become commonly accepted, regulations have been limited or non-existent. A related factor is that, in some countries, mobile cellular has typically been defined as a value-added service, falling outside the regulatory scope of basic voice telephony. In developing countries, the scarcity of regulatory skills and, in some cases, the absence of an independent regulator, have narrowed the latitude for encouraging mobile operators to enlarge overall accessibility to communications. The question that begs asking is whether mobile cellular has grown so fast because of limited regulation or whether it would grow even more rapidly with more regulation?


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