Transiting from Control to Regulation: The Case of Telecommunications in India

Date01 December 2018
DOI10.1177/0019556118785431
Published date01 December 2018
Subject MatterNotes
Note
Indian Journal of Public
Administration
64(4) 739–748
© 2018 IIPA
SAGE Publications
sagepub.in/home.nav
DOI: 10.1177/0019556118785431
http://journals.sagepub.com/home/ipa
Transiting from Control
to Regulation: The Case
of Telecommunications
in India
Partha Pratim Mitra1
The telecommunication sector in India has seen major transformation since the
liberalisation era of the 1990s. This sector is a leading example of the onset of
sectoral regulations in India and a departure from the direct sectoral control by the
state. The catchword changed from control of the market by corporate entities to
regulation of corporate entities in their control of the market. Earlier, legislation
was enacted to control monopoly and restrictive trade practices of corporate
entities, but now regulations are framed under a statute to ensure that corporate
entities are in competition with each other in a manner that they do not violate
the regulations laid down by the sectoral autonomous regulator.
The first glimpse of change apparent to everybody is the advent of mobile
telephony in India. Wireless voice and data services have continued to grow,
with some support from landline, facilitating high-speed data services. Landline
telephone connections stood at 24.44 million, while the number of wireless
telephone connections had grown to 1,099.97 million at the end of November
2016. As a result, the share of wireless telephones had increased to 97.83 per cent
of total services. The ever-expanding demand for wireless services has propelled
the telecom sector to mobilise considerable resources to create an ecosystem.
A noteworthy feature of the Indian telecom sector is the continuous rise in
the number of subscribers in the private sector. At the end of November 2016,
the total number of telephone connections provided by the private sector stood
at 1,007.27 million and number of telephone connections provided by the public
sector stood at 117.14 million.
The share of private sector in the total number of connections was 89.58 per cent
at the end of November 2016, as compared to public sector share of 10.42 per cent
during the same period. In the present scenario, the private sector has dominant
position in telecom sector with 275 million smartphone subscribers, the second
1 Partha Pratim Mitra, Independent Researcher and Former Civil Servant.
Corresponding author:
Partha Pratim Mitra, Independent Researcher and Former Civil Servant.
E-mail: ppmitra56@gmail.com

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