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Mobile Communication - Regulation. Mobile Communication – Design, Business and Social Context MA, PhD - Assistant Professor Bjarki Valtysson Department of Digital Culture and Mobile Communication. Mobile Communication - Regulation. Bjarki Valtysson – 3D14 – [email protected]

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mobile communication regulation
Mobile Communication - Regulation

Mobile Communication –

Design, Business and Social Context

MA, PhD - Assistant Professor Bjarki Valtysson

Department of Digital Culture and Mobile Communication

mobile communication regulation1
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • BA – Comparative Literature – University of Iceland
  • MA – Modern Culture and Cultural Communication – University of Copenhagen
  • PhD – Department of Communication, Business and Information Technologies – Roskilde University
  • Teaching…
  • Research…
mr valtysson
Mr. Valtysson

Networked publics –

Digital public spheres

Cultural policy; media policy; communication policy

Remix culture

Digital aesthetics – Internet art / Performance studies and digital media

Cultural Policies and Trends in Europe

Icelandic cultural / media policy

Cultural institutions

mobile communication regulation2
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • 3 x regulation
  • 07.09.2010 – Macro perspective:
  • What is regulation? – Why regulate? – Different approaches / Consequences of regulation
  • 14.09.2010 – Meso perspective:
  • Europe – EU Directives on the regulatory framework of electronic communications
  • 21.09.2010 – Micro perspective:
  • Denmark – What to be aware of (from a regulatory perspective) when developing a mobile phone company in Denmark - Visit to the National IT and Telecom Agency
mobile communication regulation3
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • Why is this important? – Why is this so much fun?
  • Macro politics
  • Macro economics
  • Macro socio-cultural structures
  • The power to mould reigning discursive formations in global contexts
  • Popular methods:
  • Text analysis
  • Document analysis
  • Critical discourse analysis
  • Qualitative interviews
mobile communication regulation4
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • Today’s programme
  • Jon Agar’s account of the American, Nordic, European and Japanese way
  • Ling’s and Donner’s short history of mobile communication
  • The more hard-core ITU (International Telecommunication Union) thing…
  • Some of the consequences of regulation from the viewpoint of developing nations – Sarikakis & Chakravartty
mobile communication regulation5
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • The concept and first working examples of cellular telephony emerged in the USA
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted a license to AT&T and South-Western Bell to operate the first basic commercial system
  • March 1977, the FCC authorized Illinois Bell the first cellular phone system
  • AT&T the only corporation that could install base stations, switching centres and marketing operations for a national cellular phone system
  • Motorola 8000
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Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • Born in the USA
  • FCC grants cellular licenses by auction on a city-by-city basis
  • Monolithic corporations not welcome to apply (creation of Baby Bells)
  • The auction caused hysteria and the rest of metropolitan licenses went by lottery (anyone could land a 10 year license!)
  • The consequences: Each town and city had a different operator (roaming extremely difficult) – the common standard AMPS – later CDMA
  • Monopolizing forces crept back – innovation in a disjointed form – wasn’t much competition anyway as companies were restricted to different cities
  • The owners of mobile phones were charged for accepting an incoming call
  • Mobile phones used for business and emergency purposes
  • Pagers and beepers were attractive for a long time
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Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • The Nordic way
  • Different historic circumstances – Technology not seen as a threat – social democracy, internationalism, enthusiasm for technology
  • In 1969 the Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) Group was established
  • NMT – a standard for a transnational cellular phone system
  • Easy to roam from Oslo to Helsinki (technical details determining how a mobile terminal would communicate with base stations – or how base stations would link to the switching centre – had been made in cooperation – the state played a crucial role)
  • The contract for the central switching technology went to Ericsson
  • Smaller countries adopted NMT – but the big four, Germany, France, Italy and Britain went their own ways
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Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • GSM – The European Union
  • Group Spécial Mobile – later Global System for Mobile Communications
  • A very political construction on EU level: 1) Give Europe substance by building material technological systems, and 2) Economic competitors (Japan and USA)
  • Improved facility to roam (the ability to use the same terminal under different networks)
  • GSM began to be adopted outside of Europe (by 1996 GSM phones could be found in 103 diverse countries)
  • Distributional success often coincidence
  • GSM won because of political instrumentalism (everyone was using it)
mobile communication regulation9
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • The Japanese Garden
  • Japanese kept out of ‘fortress Europe’
  • Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) – public corporation (monopoly later broken IDO and DDI)
  • Cooperation between government agencies and private corporations
  • NTT DoCoMo – created i-mode (similar to WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) – but worked!)
  • A development triggered by young Japanese, mostly single women in their 20s
mobile communication regulation10
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • Ling & Donner
  • “When we place or receive a call and when we send or receive a text message we are engaging a whole system of equipment that encodes, transmits, switches, channels, notifies and decodes our shouts, whispers and emoticons. Without the tower, the switchers, the exchanges, the protocols and the regulations supporting them, our phones are just clunky MP3 players with bad cameras. It is the networks, not the handset, that allows us to connect” (p. 30-31).
  • The regulatory bodies in each country, and internationally, must agree who can transmit on what frequencies. Biiiiiiiig business!
mobile communication regulation11
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • Structuration Theory – Different forms for interaction




mobile communication regulation12
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • Legal and Institutional Aspects of Regulation
  • ICT Regulation Toolkit (infoDEV – World Bank; ITU – International Telecommunication Union – UN Agency; supported and funded by the European Commission)
  • This section focuses on convergence – highlighting ‘best practices for effective regulation’
  • The implementation varies from country to country, requiring considerations of local political, economic, social and other conditions and circumstances in designing the appropriate legal and regulatory instruments
mobile communication regulation13
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • Why regulate?
  • Wave: Privatisation of national operators in the 1990s
  • Wave: Liberalisation – governments authorise the entry of new service providers and new services – modification of licensing framework
  • Wave: Liberalisation – when the incumbent operator’s exclusivity period ends and full competition can be introduced.
  • Wave: The transition to an effective competitive environment. (i) create functional regulators to oversee the introduction of competition; (ii) preparing the incumbent operator to face competition; (iii) allocating and managing scarce resources; (iv) expanding and enhancing access to telecommunications and ICT networks and services; (v) promoting and protecting consumer interest, including universal access and piracy
mobile communication regulation14
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • Why regulate?
  • Graphs on p. 2-3
  • Regulation not an end in itself
  • Regulation to avoid market failure; to ensure consumer interests are protected, safeguards to create effective competition, and to prevent anti-competitive practices
  • End goals: 1) Effective competition and 2) Increase ICT access and protect consumers
  • A pressing issue: How do governments review their regulatory structures to determine how to react to converged marketplace with multiple services offered by the same platform
mobile communication regulation15
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • Why regulate?
  • The idealised version:
  • ‘The implementation of an effective regulatory framework has resulted in greater economic growth, increased investment, lower prices, better quality of services, higher penetration, and more rapid technological innovation in the sector. In fact, investors consider the regulatory environment to a critical factor in their analysis of whether or not to invest in a country’ (p. 4)
  • The slightly more pessimistic view:
mobile communication regulation17
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • Legal context of regulatory reform
  • ‘Regulation does not occur in a vacuum, and the establishment of a legal and regulatory framework is determined in large part by a country’s legal tradition, multilateral and regional commitments, the maturity of the market, and other non telecommunications-specific legislation, such as tax, foreign ownership, consumer protection, and real property law’ (p. 6)
  • The hierarchy of legislation: Primary legislation (laws); secondary legislation (regulations, resolutions, opinions and guidelines)
  • Multilateral commitments: Members of WTO have undertaken treaty obligations that directly affect the telecommunication sector – GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) is foremost among the WTO instruments relevant to telecommunications
  • Regional commitments: Europe, Americas and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia
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Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • Convergence
  • Telecommunications, broadcasting and information technology sectors are converging
  • Three approaches to address convergence: 1) legislative (defining new laws); 2) Regulatory (modify existing law); 3) Self-Regulation processes (convergence policy through ad hoc or existing consultative body)
  • Convergence affects questions regarding licensing, spectrum, interconnection, numbering; to name a few
  • ….and of course content….
mobile communication regulation19
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • Convergence - content
  • ‘With digitization, content formerly dedicated to specific networks can now be conveyed on different infrastructures and delivery platforms. This poses a potential conflict in regulation as different standards of content regulation are applied to telephony, sound and television broadcasting, print media and the Internet. With convergence, policies may require change to achieve the common social objectives of promoting and protecting cultural traditions, public service, and protecting citizens from harmful material across all types of networks and delivery platforms’ (p. 13)
  • …intellectual property rights….privacy….
  • …different organisational and institutional approaches to regulation (single-sector; converged; multi sector; no specific…)
mobile communication regulation20
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • The sweet spot of regulation…
mobile communication regulation21
Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • Sarikakis & Chakravartty
  • ‘We have seen dramatic changes in the field of telecommunications governance in the past two decades, influenced most significantly by the change in the balance of power against national governments and in favour of the 37,000 transnational corporations that emerge as a dominant force by the 1990s. Telecommunications firms have been aggressive and effective at influencing policy outcomes at both the national and transnational levels, with growing official presence in multilateral bodies from the ITU to the WTO’ (p. 51-52).
  • Telecommunications network should be seen as a ‘club’ based on members with mutual interests, as opposed to a market composed of members with competing interests
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Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • Privatization as salvation: the view from the South
  • ‘The shift to privatization in the North was based on the rationale that the inefficiency of monopolistic state enterprise coupled with advances in technology undermined the argument for natural monopoly in telecommunication. Unlike their developed counterparts, states in the South began to privatize national telecommunications primarily as means to reduce debt burdens and invite in foreign capital and expertise’ (p. 64)
  • Critics point out that the ITU (and the World Bank and IMF) promoted the expanding role of the private sector, just as transnational firms (Alcatel, NEC, Ericsson, British Telecommunications, US West) began to play a greater role in influencing policy with the objective of entering new markets in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
  • Advocates point out that the failures of the state to promote growth, expansion and consumer choice.
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Mobile Communication - Regulation
  • In other words…
  • ‘Corporate pressure, backed by the US and other G7 nations lobbying intensely at the GATT and the ITU, was reinforced by the conditions imposed by the World Bank and the IMF, whose lending was contingent on liberalization. For smaller economies with less political influence, the outcome was one of being forced to privatize in order to maintain investor confidence’ (p. 66).
  • ‘Low rates of telephony along with soaring rates of unmet demand and poor service allowed domestic neoliberal reformers to make a convincing case that the state had failed to serve the public interest’ (p, 67).
  • You can make a case either way….
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Mobile Communication- Regulation
  • Next time…
  • Europe – EU Directives on the regulatory framework of electronic communications