BROOKINGS – Spectrum policy in India

In a new paper, Shamika Ravi and Darrell West examine mobile technology in India, particularly the crucial role spectrum policy plays in facilitating wireless growth. The availability of devices, high telecommunications costs, and taxes on mobile usage make it difficult for consumers and businesses to take full advantage of the mobile revolution. India has enormous potential for growth in mobile applications as is reflected in its massive number of mobile customers.

While smartphone use has risen in the developing world, increasing access and capacity in key areas like education, health care, transportation, and commerce, countries are finding increased wireless utilization running up against the constraints of radio spectrum available. The frequencies necessary to keep mobile devices connected represent for many countries a scarce natural resource often used for defined purposes that cannot be used for other purposes. Without adequate spectrum, consumers in developing countries in particular may face dropped calls, reduced wireless availability, or high prices, causing slower mobile growth in many countries.

Ravi and West recommend that India open up spectrum space, revamp auctions, make sure that costs are affordable so that consumers don’t pay high telecom prices, enable the trading and management of spectrum, and harmonize regional rules. Without this commitment to a viable digital ecosystem, mobile growth will stagnate and it will be difficult to obtain the benefits of the mobile revolution.

You can download the full paper at the Brookings Website by clicking here: Download paper

Source: Shamika Ravi and Darrell M. West of Brookings. Image via The Financial Express.

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