Ovum finds disparity in regulation environments

Competition and investment in the global telecoms industry is being held back by inconsistent regulatory frameworks, according to research firm Ovum.

The firm assessed and ranked the regulatory performance of 11 countries across three geographic areas in the second iteration of its annual Regulatory Scorecard. It noted that countries ranking low across the board were those with generally less competitive markets. The lack of competition is often due to the uncertainty around the frameworks that are in place, according to analyst James Robinson.

“In Japan and South Korea, for example, the relationship between the government and the regulator could be perceived as too close. Independence from political involvement is important in ensuring a credible national regulatory authority (NRA), whose decisions may be challenged through an effective appeals process.”

Although Ovum’s highlighted similarities between countries within the same geographic region, it said that significant differences occur across regions in most areas of regulatory activity. For instance, the regulation of the wholesale fixed sector differs from country to country, and from region to region, mainly due to the varying uptake of copper- and fibre-based fixed broadband.

Countries within the same region are often ranked very differently. For example, Mexico appears significantly below its counterparts in South and Central America for almost every respect of the regulatory environment.

“While Colombia and Brazil are making progress in setting out a stable framework which reflects the industry’s developments, the regulatory process in Mexico appears confusing and slow. This inevitably leads to inefficiency in most areas of regulation,” said analyst Luca Schiavoni, the other co-author of the Scorecard.

By contrast, spectrum policy is one area in which current best practice can be observed across most countries, the report stated.

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