Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bitch-slapped by the Invisible Hand

This article did make me laugh - I think the fact it needs to be written shows that a completely commercial-led free market can often screw itself up just as badly as a government-regulated one. In general I favour lighter regulation and free markets (I normally agree with the Economist), but the fact that someone needs to dream of a fantasy phone which would allow them to make calls anywhere in the US just hilights how lucky we are to be able to carry one phone round the whole of Europe, and in fact a large fraction of the world, and all we have to wory about are roaming fees... yay GSM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


This isn't a choice between unfettered free markets and regulation. Telecom markets are heavily regulated in the US as they are in every country in the world. It's a question of which rules do you want.

Personally, I don't favor a common network standard. There are a lot of advantages to competition at the network layer. CDMA spurs innovation in GSM. The Japanese mobile market is more advanced than the US or European markets, but the operators use three different incompatible technologies, one of them unique to Japan.

Maybe for these reasons, Ofcom wants the next spectrum auction in the UK to be technology neutral and the Chinese and Indians have taken the same approach.

Competition between network technologies has one big disadvantage - no roaming - but my point is that we can fix that at the handset level.


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