Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Telecommunications Development in Asia

Telecommunications Development in Asia

Edited by John Ure
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 536
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Telecommunications Development in Asia
    Book Description:

    No industry has expanded faster than telecommunications, gained so many new users, added so much value, spread so rapidly to the underdeveloped areas of developing countries, done so much to close the digital divide and provide access to e-learning, e-health, and e-commerce across the countries of the Asia Pacific. Telecommunications Development in Asia provides a completely new and comprehensive analysis of the policies adopted throughout the region that have led to the explosive growth of this sector. It is a sequel to the 1995 landmark publication, John Ure (editor) Telecommunications in Asia: Policy, Planning and Development, and like the earlier volume will become a popular and indispensable guide for professionals, policy-makers and regulators working in telecommunications-related sectors. Part One of this new book is thematic. It reviews global best practices across a range of key issues facing the industry, from regulation, competition policy and the provision of universal service, to interconnection between competing networks, the management of radio spectrum for the all-important wireless communications sector, and an assessment of innovation in the telecommunications equipment market. Part Two examines markets across the Asia Pacific region, exploring the themes of Part One through in-depth country studies. Policy and regulations, industry trends and markets are uniquely placed in their historical, economic and political context. No other publication offers such comprehensive insights and understanding of the dynamic of these markets. And like the 1995 book, this one looks likely to stand the test of time. 

    eISBN: 978-988-8052-81-3
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
    John Ure
  4. About the Authors
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    This book is a sequel to Telecommunications in Asia: Policy, Planning and Development published in 1995 by Hong Kong University Press, but it covers different ground in at least four major respects.

    First, in addition to the countries covered in the 1995 volume, this book includes India and Japan. China and India are compared and contrasted directly as the emerging giants of the region. The inclusion of Japan completes the list of high-income developed economies, alongside Hong Kong and Macau (both Special Administrative Regions of China), Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. ASEAN countries (ex-Singapore) are grouped as original members Indonesia,...

  6. Part I Theories and Trends

    • [Part I Introduction]
      (pp. 8-10)

      The chapters in Part I, written by leading specialists in their areas of telecommunications and media, provide the conceptual framework on policy issues, industrial trends and the economics underlying them.

      The opening chapter in Part I is by Martin Cave and examines trends in telecom policies and regulation. In many ways this chapter touches upon all the aspects subsequently covered in this volume and according to which the country chapters of Part II are organized. The focus of this chapter is upon fixed line development and latterly upon the regulation of next generation networks and convergence, for example between fixed...

    • 1 Regulating Fixed Telecommunications Services
      (pp. 11-32)
      Martin Cave

      This chapter reviews the way in which telecommunications and related services are regulated, and the new challenges created by developments such as broadband and the increased use of Internet-based technologies. The focus is on fixed, and especially wireline, technologies, as mobile services tend to present lesser problems of regulation¹ (Gans, King and Wright, 2005).

      Section 1 reviews the theoretical basis for regulating telecommunications and related services, relying on concepts from industrial organization and related fields. Section 2 briefly reviews standard methods of regulating telecommunications services during the liberalization process. Section 3 discusses the regulatory impact of international organizations, especially the...

    • 2 Network Interconnection
      (pp. 33-56)
      Robert W. Crandall

      The issue of network interconnection achieved prominence in telecommunications policy only after governments began to acknowledge that the privatization of national telecommunications carriers and the liberalization of the telecom market were important for economic welfare and growth. While there was a single, government-owned telecom carrier, interconnection was not an issue, because there were no domestic networks with which to interconnect. But once governments began to open their telecom markets to competition, network interconnection moved to the forefront.

      Without network interconnection, there can only be very limited competition in telecommunications. Most of us want to be able to reach any household...

    • 3 Spectrum Management for Information Societies
      (pp. 57-84)
      William H. Melody

      Since the 1980s the telecommunications system has been transformed from the provision of predominantly voice services over fixed-line telecom networks to the supply of a variety of communication and information content services over networks providing mobile connections. Perhaps the most significant change has been the stunning growth in mobile communications to the point where there are now more mobile than fixed phones in the world. New mobile connections are the primary instruments for extending telecom networks to un-served regions and people. The planned provision of future mobile broadband Internet services is the major preoccupation of equipment manufacturers, network operators and...

    • 4 Towards Universal Service: Issues, Good Practices and Challenges
      (pp. 85-112)
      Björn Wellenius

      Widespread access to telecommunications at affordable prices has, one way or another, been a deliberate or implicit objective of government policy in most countries for many years. This chapter reviews why telecommunications matters for development and the extent to which sector reforms reduce inequality (Section 1). This is followed by an examination of the main policy issues and options that arise in designing programmes to extend service beyond the market (Section 2) followed by a more detailed discussion of implementation topics that cut across these issues (Section 3). The latter draws mainly on the experience of Latin America, which pioneered...

    • 5 Telecom Suppliers in the Asia Pacific Region: Theory, Principles and Practice
      (pp. 113-140)
      Nick Ingelbrecht

      The section of the 1995 book Telecommunications in Asia corresponding to this chapter canvassed three themes that were shaping the development of the telecom manufacturing industry in the Asia Pacific region: the interplay between the international political economy and telecom standardization regimes, the use of industrial policy in building indigenous manufacturing capabilities and the creation of national information infrastructures that would facilitate development (Ure, 1995).

      The intervening years have brought these arguments into sharper relief. First, corporate and national self-interest have further eroded the frameworks of global standardization, replacing them with market mechanisms in which the best supported de facto...

  7. Part II Country Studies

    • [Part II Introduction]
      (pp. 142-152)

      Part II of this volume is devoted to country studies. These studies (jointly contributed by the Telecommunications Research Project team at the Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong over the period 2003–07) reflect the fact that in much of South East and East Asia telecommunication policies are already well established, that most of the economies in question have lengthy experience in planning for the expansion of network facilities and spreading the availability of services, and the questions of today mostly relate to very practical development issues. These include ensuring the effective interconnection of competing networks, reforming the...

    • The Emerging Giants

      • 6 China and India
        (pp. 153-178)

        There is an on-going fascination in comparing the Chinese and Indian markets. The motivations are all too obvious: more than a third of humanity reside within the two nations. As the old cliché about the China market began: ‘If every person in China bought just one apple …’ Instead now, those who gaze hungrily at the two markets like to postulate every single person across India and China sending a single SMS from their mobile phone each day …¹

        On top of the apparently boundless potential, China and India have been two of the most dynamic markets in recent years,...

    • Key Markets of East Asia

      • 7 Hong Kong
        (pp. 179-196)

        Hong Kong is a small, open, island economy, similar in many respects to Singapore and, as such, the two are frequently compared. Hong Kong is almost twice the size of Singapore in terms of population and land mass. The major physical difference is that, whereas Singapore is rather flat and the population widely dispersed, 40% of Hong Kong consists of small mountains, country parks and nature reserves with the majority of the population crowded into 40 km² of densely-packed urban areas and a forest of high-rise apartment blocks and office buildings. So despite Hong Kong’s larger size, communications distances — for...

      • 8 Macau
        (pp. 197-198)

        Macau is less than one hour’s ferry ride from Hong Kong in the Pearl River Delta of Guangdong Province. The ex-Portuguese colony returned to China’s sovereignty in 1999 with the same SAR (Special Administrative Region) status as Hong Kong. Macau has a resident population of around 500,000, but this swells to a million or more each day with visitors from the Mainland and Hong Kong. Many are workers travelling from the close-by city of Zhuhai, the rest largely tourists, most coming to gamble in Macau’s burgeoning casino business, which after the opening of the market in 2002, by 2006 had...

      • 9 Japan
        (pp. 199-216)

        By the turn of the 21st century, Japan had one of the most competitive and technologically dynamic domestic telecommunication markets in the world. In fixed-line communications, optical fibre to the building and to the home were well advanced, and in mobile communications NTT DoCoMo’s i-Mode phone was breaking new ground by providing access to the Internet and to web-based content using an open revenue-sharing model with content providers.¹ This model proved successful in promoting widespread consumer acceptance unlike the ‘closed garden’ models used by many mobile service providers in other competitive Asian and Western markets. The ‘closed garden’ model was...

      • 10 Korea (South)
        (pp. 217-238)

        The Korean economy was in ruins by the end of World War II when the country was cut in two by the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) along the 38th parallel, as agreed between the USA, Britain and the USSR at the Potsdam Conference. It was further reduced to rubble by 1953 when the Korean War ended in an armistice that (in early 2008) remained to be ratified by a formal peace treaty, leaving the north and the south divided economically and politically. During the 1950s and 1960s it was the industrial economy of the north that seemed to be more robust....

      • 11 Singapore
        (pp. 239-252)

        The defining moment in Singapore’s history as an independent state came in 1965 when it was ejected from the Malaysian Federation, just two years after its founding. The tensions that arose between Singapore and its two closely related neighbours, Indonesia and Malaysia, set the city-state on a course that has ever since required, and in general benefited from, a strong centralized government capable of directing the island’s scarce resources into strategically essential investments, such as communications infrastructure. While Hong Kong — the two island economies are frequently compared — since 1978 has benefited from its role as entrepôt to Mainland China’s vast...

      • 12 Taiwan
        (pp. 253-268)

        The island of Taiwan, ceded to Japan by China after a military defeat in 1895, was returned to Chinese sovereignty after World War II, and in 1949 came under the military rule of the Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) who retreated to the island following the victory of the Communists in Mainland China. Military rule was finally lifted in 1987 by which time Taiwan had become one of Asia’s newly industrialized economies, much assisted by a tide of intellectual and industrial capital from Taiwanese returnees educated and working in the USA. As a result, Taiwan, a small island economy, benefits from a...

    • Emerging Economies of Asia:: ASEAN (ex-Singapore)

      • 13 Indonesia
        (pp. 269-282)

        Indonesia is a nation of over 240 million ethnically diverse people: Javanese (45%), Sundanese (14%), Madurese (7.5%), coastal Malays (7.5%), and others (26%), mostly Chinese and Indians. In societies as complex as Indonesia, a ‘recent’ country that occupies a tropical archipelago of over 15,000 islands and stretches 5,000 km either side of the equator, the achievement of social and political cohesion on a national scale, or ‘state building’, requires unity to be a balancing act, difficult to maintain, one that accommodates a diversity of cultural, ethnic and religious communities, where the majority population are Muslim, but with sizable communities of...

      • 14 Malaysia (and Brunei)
        (pp. 283-300)

        Since the mid-1980s Malaysia’s focus on industrial reform is best summed up as the ‘managed market’ approach. The Industrial Master Plan launched in 1986 set out development targets, including the electronics and computer technology sectors, and according to Anuwar (1992, p. 32) was aimed ‘at refocusing industrial planning from a largely market-oriented approach to a distinctly planned or target-oriented approach within a free enterprise economy.’¹ The point was articulated in the subsequent National Telecommunications Policy of Malaysia, 1994–2020² as follows:

        Even though competition is encouraged the government is empowered to determine the number of competitors that are economically viable...

      • 15 The Philippines
        (pp. 301-314)

        The Philippines is a country much burdened by its past. A recent legacy, originating from the 1970s but exacerbated by financial crises, is the Philippine’s international debt burden. A more historical and deep-rooted legacy stems from feudalism introduced by Spanish colonialism and, despite attempts at land reform in the twentieth century, the Philippines today is a society run by an elite of ruling families who control most of the land, industry and finance and exercise extensive political patronage.¹ The result is a legislature that refuses to impose effective taxation to balance public finances,² while much of the wealth is squirrelled...

      • 16 Thailand
        (pp. 315-326)

        Thailand has suffered from all too frequent changes of government and military coups, the legacy of which has been policy stasis on the one hand and regulatory risk on the other for investors in many areas of the economy, including telecommunications. Reforms in the telecoms sector were held up for many years by the constitutional ban on private and foreign ownership of national infrastructure assets and only two state-owned enterprises were franchised to run telecom services, the TOT (Telephone Organization of Thailand) for domestic traffic and calls to the neighbouring countries, and the CAT (Communications Authority of Thailand) for all...

    • Emerging Economies of Asia:: ASEAN-Indochina

      • 17 Cambodia
        (pp. 327-338)

        After independence from France in 1953, Cambodia was ruled by King Norodom Sihanouk till his overthrow in a rightist coup in 1970 that ushered in a short-lived republic that fell in 1975 to the guerrilla army of the Cambodian Communist Party, or Khmer Rouge.¹ Under the ultra-Stalinist leadership of Pol Pot the Khmer Rouge embarked upon a policy of genocide against ‘enemies of the people’. During their 1975–9 rule the now-defunct communist group is blamed for the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people or one-sixth of the population from overwork, medical neglect, starvation and execution. The cities were...

      • 18 Laos
        (pp. 339-350)

        The Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic or Laos, a small landlocked country of around six million people, is one of the world’s poorest nations with around 70% of the population living on less than US$2 a day. It is an economy in transition from central planning to a state-managed marketled (or ‘mixed’) economy, but with little capital of its own it has to rely upon donor assistance, from among others the World Bank and the UNDP, to overcome infrastructure inadequacies.

        In the mid-1990s Laos relied heavily on German government funding for the Rural Telecoms Project. Japan also played an important role,...

      • 19 Myanmar (Burma)
        (pp. 351-364)

        In November 2005 the residents of Myanmar’s (Burma’s¹) capital Rangoon (Yangon) awoke to discover the military junta, led since 1992 by General Than Shwe, had moved the entire central government apparatus to the isolated mountainous region of Pyinmana in the centre of the country. As the Financial Times, 1 December 2005, suggested, this seemed a strange way to bring greater contact with remote parts of the country and ‘upgrading the country’s weak transport links and communications networks would probably be far less expensive as well as more beneficial to the economy in the long run’. From the outset, the new...

      • 20 Vietnam
        (pp. 365-384)

        Decades of war and under-investment left Vietnam’s telecommunications underdeveloped, and because it is deemed a strategic industry, private-sector participation has been limited or prohibited. In 1992 Vietnam adopted a new constitution enshrining the principle of economic innovation or renovation called doi moi (Vietnam’s version of perestroika) first announced in 1986 and instituted the idea of ‘rule by law’ as distinct from rule by party fiat. With substantial aid from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, and with US sanctions lifted in 1995, Vietnam began a major opening of the country to foreign investment and gave encouragement to competition...

  8. Appendix 1 Teledensities and Major Telecom Operators in Asia Pacific
    (pp. 385-406)
  9. Appendix 2 Submarine cable networks in Southeast Asia
    (pp. 407-416)
  10. Notes
    (pp. 417-494)
  11. References
    (pp. 495-510)
  12. Index
    (pp. 511-522)