ITU Blog: Mobile money, OTT and roaming: Will ITU members define fair competition and pricing?

Established in 1865, one of the founding principles of ITU was to provide a neutral venue for countries’ negotiation of interconnection rates for telegraph networks. The essence of this work lives on in ITU-T Study Group 3 (SG3), our standardization expert group responsible for ‘economic and policy issues’. SG3 is meeting this week in Geneva, 16-20 March; however, the issues to be discussed will be quite different to those debated in the early days of the Union, not to mention a great deal more complex.

The relationship between revenue, traffic and subscriptions continues to transform with the rise of mobile-wireless technologies and the shift from circuit-switched to packet-based networks.

SG3’s study of the financial aspects of telecommunications and ICT is very much a study of convergence, and in particular how convergence has affected the business of network operators as new players have entered the fold of the ICT industry.

Contributions from Africa propose that SG3 establish a new work stream (‘Rapporteur Group’) to guide the costing and pricing of mobile money services. 

The proposal is motivated by concerns that a lack of regulatory guidance on fair access to communications infrastructure could open the door to abuses of market dominance, which some see as responsible for the prohibitively high prices of mobile money transactions in some countries.

Read the full text authored by Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau.

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