A break in the growth pattern of countries is a function of industrial revolutions aided by new technologies. Industrial Revolutions (IR) 1.0 and 2.0 were based on manufacturing technologies, while IR 3.0 was a communication revolution. IR 4.0 operated on the same medium as 3.0, fixed and wireless in a globalized and interconnected world. IR 4.0 is a fusion of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, Internet of things (IoT), genetic engineering, quantum computing, etc.
Mobile technology was introduced in India in 1995 with enabling legislation, regulations and the sale of spectrum. Then until 2003, the sector suffered significant litigation and only increased by 10 million in 2003. The regulator resolved the major problems in 2003, and the sector increased to 100 million, 10 times in 2007, and at +1000 million almost 100 times in 2003 in 2012. In the world ranking, India became the second mobile nation out of 122. In India, one of the main problems was better use of spectrum, previously also attributed to fixed services, and many other regulatory and spectrum issues. These could have been addressed with difficulty by the regulator and the government, but led to huge growth thereafter.
Now we need to overcome another major hurdle, a subset of the Third and Fourth Industrial Revolutions, 5G communications technology. Unless we prepare well, there would be another slow implementation cycle, an extended litigation / investigation cycle like in the case of 2G and 3G. This paper explains.
1. The IR 3.0 revolution has changed the world. IR 4.0 continues to do the same.
2. For the first time after 1950-70, underdeveloped Asian countries had more growth than the technically savvy West, thanks to the communication revolution in a digitally interconnected globalized world, especially in China where the United put aside ideological differences and gave away new technologies, allowed intellectual property theft, circumvented and broke WTO rules, and authorized the Tiananmen massacre to aid China’s miraculous growth.
3. Previously, Gordon G. Chang and many others predicted the collapse of China in 2001 and 2012. But China has prospered with unscrupulous help from the United States. Now, in 2020, Chang predicts that China or the United States will thrive based on the performance of 5G. Everyone believes that these networks will lead the world and its growing networked mobile / static industries and services very effectively.
4. Today China’s 5G networks are the most advanced in the world, and unless India is able to challenge them like the United States did in China after 1980 for 2G networks, etc., they will continue to grow. According to CCS Insights, China will account for more than half of all 5G users by 2022. China is also expected to dominate until 2025, when it could account for 40% of global 5G connections, according to the GSMA.
5. Was ahead for many periods in digital and mobile technologies, until, of course, regulations and crony capitalism blocked growth. In its report titled “Making India Ready for 5G” in August 2018, High Level Inter-Ministerial Forum for 5G (Paulraj Committee), India anticipated the start of 5G in 2020. Based on the report, the government is creating an environment conducive to the development of 5G services in India. Progress is slow as many new developments have taken place and 5G services and industries are expected to be phased in and evolve into a full range of services as the ecosystem and demand for services grows. ITU and the World Bank have also finalized a draft program / regulation / law for this purpose, where they were at the third stage of the project in 2020. We need to accelerate their finalization by taking early action and addressing specific issues. from India, as we do in 2G time.
6. With the growing prevalence of digital services as well as manufacturing industries, regulators find they must tackle a host of new issues and potentially new areas of responsibility. Many of them focus on online services, such as online voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or online video, and other digital platforms, as well as browsing the IoT, AI, data privacy, competition, cybersecurity and other technological challenges.
7. Shared access regimes are a way for regulators to open up the spectrum currently used by incumbent services to new users. License-exempt spectrum bands have proven to be fertile ground for innovation, as evidenced by the importance of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies to enable new applications. We have not gone beyond the concept of UASL and we are applying again for new services / applications. We should consider switching to USL.
8. Finally, regulators should undertake a review of international best practices in spectrum licensing. This includes compliance with international and regional frequency allocation decisions, and global technical standards, maximizing harmonization, etc. This reduces equipment costs and enables roaming efficiently.
9. General authorization should be preferred and fees should be negligible, set to cover administrative costs only, so as not to discourage investment and innovation, but also to improve affordability for consumers. Once networks and connected traffic increase, charges can increase.
10. Where individual facility-based licenses are issued, the number of licenses should be limited to avoid unnecessary duplication of investments, but they should be subject to conditions providing for open access to key infrastructure on fair and reasonable terms in order to avoid unnecessary duplication of investment. to create a healthy and competitive market for services. Licensees should also be allowed to share infrastructure and merge, subject only to competition policy considerations
11. Any technology-based application is subject to horizontal regulation by agencies responsible for consumer protection, data protection, competition, cybercrime, etc. Whether or not ICT sector-specific regulatory oversight is necessary depends on the functionality of the applications and how they are used in a sector. The priority must be to put in place a strong horizontal regulatory ecosystem. This may require updating laws and creating new agencies.
12. Given the cross-border nature of the Internet value chain, especially online services, collaboration and harmonization between jurisdictions is essential to facilitate the digitization of economies and societies and the benefits of economic growth and of the social development that this brings. Traditional ex ante regulation based on market definition, dominance and remedy determination will continue to be important, especially for the regulation of access to network infrastructure.
13. More generally, there will be a refocusing of competition regulation with a transition to symmetrical ex post regulation (the same rules applying to all suppliers) with regulatory intervention targeted on specific cases of competitive damage, and with high levels of intersectoral regulation. Cooperation.
14. The traditional emphasis on PSM-based regulation has been aimed at enabling others to compete fairly, but digital platforms, access networks and even entire national broadband networks can sometimes be better. delivered as virtual monopolies. Even where competition exists, it is increasingly difficult to define markets, determine thresholds for PSM, and determine and apply appropriate remedies. Symmetric regulation will be based on general regulatory principles such as fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory access to resources. For the old post-regulation to be effective, countries must establish and provide adequate resources to separate competition authorities.
15. There are many more regulatory issues / areas in 5G, as well as in the transmitted content. Rules for these should be finalized now rather than waiting for other regulations to be finalized, and also whether more than one agency should be integrated. It worked well for 2G networks. The ITU-BM regulation leaves many problems, such as maintaining the period of the 2G network. The work must begin.
16. 5G networks have started to operate in China, South Korea and the United States. Even if we start the preparatory work today, the networks will start in 2023, according to the schedule of the Paulraj committee, and considering the additional work to be done beyond the Paulraj report, by 2024. At that time, China is said to have rolled out 5G to all countries and set up new 5G industries, and started moving to 6G as the world is changing rapidly.
(The author is the former president of TRAI)