The rich history of regulations in the Telecommunications industry trickle way back to March 7th, 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone and formed the Bell Telephone; and once the patents expired in 1894 it opened an entryway through which other players came into the market and hastily begun to wire up the Americas.
This lead to the formation of AT&T in 1895 to link up the Bell companies which became so successful, that on the New Year’s Eve of 1984 a court had to break up the company stranglehold of the industry, as a chain of complaints had been filled by MCI and other market players, leading to the U.S. Justice Department filling an antitrust lawsuit against AT&T; of which underscored the importance of consumer protection and the fostering of a healthy competitive mobile ecosystem.
With a global mobile ecosystem consisting of 5.2 Billion mobile phones amongst a global population of 6.9 Billion people, coupled with global mobile media revenues apprised at $150 Billion; with data taking the lion’s share of the revenue to the tune of $82.8 Billion. There is undoubtedly a need for vigorous stipulations, inculcate sound policy instruments, and the streamlining of regulations to provide a framework that offers a structure within which to safeguard consumers, to afford consumer empowerment and to augment consumer choice, value and range.
The fortification of the mobile ecosystem comes in terms of provision for a charter to set and enforce guidelines for a litany of pertinent issues such as: Mobile roaming polices, Operator price schemes, Price Transparency issues, the levying of excessive prices, Security reservations, dealing with mobile SMS spam, the fostering of sound Competition policies that nurture innovation and generates value for its consumers, the germane issue of Fraud et cetera. All around the globe, this key industry is regulated by independent agencies with authority to administer the law and meet out stiff penalties whenever apt.
In Australia the Telecommunications industry is regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), in the Cayman Islands we have the resilient Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA), in France we have the esteemed Autorité de Régulation des Commu,nications Électroniques et des Postes (ARCEP), in Israel we have the robust Ministry of Communications (MOC), in Nigeria the industry is marshaled by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in the United States of America lies the plucky Federal Communication Commission; and in the United Kingdom we have the lithe Ofcom (OFCOM).
In précis, the need to have a robust and lithe regulatory framework especially in light of recent, rapid and topical developments in the mobile ecosystem, and its need cannot be over-estimated; if at all a successful mobile eco-system is to be attained, enriched and maintained.