Expanding Telecommunications Services in a New Age: How Legal Traditions and Licensing Procedures Impact Telecommunications Industries Around the World
Posted: 5 Dec 2019
Date Written: July 23, 2019
This is an empirical study of the differences in quality and price of telecommunication services in 38 countries. The countries are categorized based on their legal tradition (i.e. civil or common law) and spectrum licensing procedure (i.e. auction or comparative hearing). In theory, comparing indicators used by the World Bank, International Telecommunications Union, and other organizations to measure prices and assess the quality of a country’s telecommunication industry will indicate which policy approaches have improved the overall quality of the telecommunications industry. The report also discusses how “successful” regulators have introduced competition in the telecommunications industry and demonstrates what countries falling behind might achieve if they adjust their policies appropriately. Since there are several possible explanations for the observed differences, the study controls for factors that may explain for the observed differences aside from legal tradition, including population density, rural population, and GDP per capita and in the analysis of licensing procedure, the study controls aforementioned variables as well as corruption and the strength of legal rights. The report concludes that status as either a civil or common law country and a country’s choice of licensing procedure strongly influence national telecommunications industries as measured by subscribership, accessibility, costs, the market share of leading operators, and broadband speeds. In five of six the indicators, civil law countries outperformed their common law counterparts in terms of quality of service measures and consumer prices. In five of the six indicators, auction countries seemingly have created higher quality telecommunication industries. Neither legal tradition nor licensing procedure seem to have a measurable effect on the cost of broadband services.
Keywords: telecommunications; legal tradition; spectrum; licensing; common law; civil law; auction; comparative hearing; Internet; access; cross-country; empirical analysis
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