ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Telecom Woes in India

What Does It Tell Us about Regulation?

The Supreme Court ruling has shaken the telecom sector, putting the future of Vodafone-Idea at a serious risk. But, is this the real issue that ails the sector? The deeper problems in the telecom sector are examined to show why, in the future, the emerging nature of judicial decision-making and rapid changes in the innovation dynamics of this market require a different type of regulatory governance and designs.

The author wishes to thank Vikas Kathuria for valuable comments and Diya Patel for excellent research assistance.

The Indian telecom industry has become a battlefield of not just rival firms, but of larger competing truths. These conflicts pose philosophical and policy questions that are symptomatic of the underlying tensions between regulatory restraints and industrial growth. These truths also conceal within them a glimpse into the changing order of innovation and business models. The telecom crisis, therefore, in many ways, has the potential to guide us in revising some of our standard narratives on competition policy. In this article, I dwell on these very foundational truths in the cacophony of voices on the telecom sector crisis.

In particular, I advance two points. First, the nature of judicial decision-making now has huge policy stakes embedded within, and therefore, a larger philosophical discourse on the Courts role in examining the point of law vis--vis the point of policy is needed, particularly when points of law are increasingly folded into complex and technical questions that are evolving at hand. Second, the regulatory attitude in the sector needs significant revision because the nature of competition, markets and innovation dynamics in this sector are changing rapidly.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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