Pakistan beats India in telecoms regulation | india | Hindustan Times
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Pakistan beats India in telecoms regulation

india Updated: Dec 20, 2006 20:40 IST
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It is not only in cricket and hockey where India gets beaten by Pakistan, it seems.

In a study comparing telecommunications industry regulators of the two countries, Pakistan has beaten India in five of the six parameters surveyed, with India winning on the only on criterion — low price.

A survey by research agency LIRNEAsia says Pakistan overtook both India and Sri Lanka in basic telecom measures in fixed and mobile services, such as transparency of licensing; information provided to applicants about the terms, conditions, criteria and length of time needed to reach a decision on their applications; licence conditions; mergers and acquisitions; and niche licences.

The 'Telecom Regulatory Environment, 2006' survey conducted by Indonesia-based LIRNEAsia suggests that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) needs to improve its regulation in interconnection and anti-competitive practices.

The survey for the fixed and mobile telecommunications sector was conducted for 13 months from June, 2005.

In overall measurement Pakistan scored 2.9 on a scale of 5 for fixed line services compared with India's 2.7. In mobile services it scored 3.1 against India's 2.9 points.

India's prominent neighbour in South Asia is also ahead in offering timely, transparent and non-discriminatory access to spectrum allocation, numbering and rights of way, frequency allocation, telephone allocation and site rights. 
 
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Professor Rohan Samarajiva, executive director LIRNEAsia said, "The results of our first survey on telecom regulatory environment (TRE) show that TRAI and Department of Telecommunications are doing well on the various parameters but need to improve on spectrum, interconnection and anti-competitive prices."

The first TRE survey which is likely to be now conducted annually revealed that on the interconnection parameters such as ensuring major operators provide the link at any technically feasible point in their networks, TRAI has taken efforts at the recommendation level but not at the implementation, points out Payal Malik, senior researcher with LIRNEAsia.

TRAI chairman Nripendra Misra told Hindustan Times that he had no comment to offer as he had not seen the study.

Commenting on the findings, Mahesh Uppal, a telecom analyst said, "We still have to go some way on our regulatory parameters. Our greatest advantage is that we have much higher levels of raw competition on most of our markets, compared to our neighbour."

On parameters such as ensuring that the quality of interconnection offered by an operator is similar to its own, reasonable charges for interconnection rates, sharing of revenue on incoming and outgoing calls, payment for cost of interconnection links and technical disruption, Pakistan has scored more over India.

India also scores less than Pakistan even in administration of the universal service program/fund to aid remote areas not covered by commercial expansion in a transparent, non-discriminatory and competitively neutral manner.

Email M Rajendran: rajendran .manoharan@hindustantimes.com

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