Telecommunications and Privatization in Asia

Paper presented at the 23rd Pacific Trade and Development Conference, Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, 8-11 December 1996.

Telecommunications and Privatization in Asia

Privatization viewed as a panacea for the most pressing problems besetting the modernization and development of telecommunications has become, in recent years, a widely accepted part of orthodox thinking. Wellenius, Stern, Nulty and Stern (1989) illustrate the point. ‘How should privatization be defined?’ asks the International Finance Corporation (IFC, 1995). ‘A generous stance would admit any transfer of ownership or control from public to private sector. A more exacting definition would require that the transfer be enough to give the private operators substantive independent power.’ Hence, by privatization is usually meant the transfer of state-owned assets to private sector ownership, management and control typified by the sale of part or all of the shares of a state owned (and operated) telecommunications enterprise (SOTE).

This paper argues that the ‘more exacting definition’ is exactly appropriate for the experience of Western economies from which it originates, while it is too narrow, too precise, insufficiently ‘generous’ to capture the less clearly defined lines of demarcation between public and private capital in the context of Asian telecommunications. The paper argues that this is because the delineation between state (political society) and civil society is less well developed in Asia, certainly less well articulated in law, and unevenly developed even within single large Asian countries.

Download the paper here

Photo by rawpixel

Related Articles

Connecting Fiji: The opportunity for growth and prosperity from subsea internet investment

Connecting Fiji: The opportunity for growth and prosperity from subsea internet investment

The widespread adoption of digital technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, will require investments in digital infrastructure to ensure connectivity and...

7 Feb 2024 Reports
The Economic Value of A2P SMS in Mexico

The Economic Value of A2P SMS in Mexico

The increased connectivity enabled by digital technologies has changed communication patterns throughout economies and societies and played an important role...

25 Jan 2024 Reports
Access Alert: Vietnam’s National Assembly approves revisions on Law on Telecommunications

Access Alert: Vietnam’s National Assembly approves revisions on Law on Telecommunications

Vietnam’s National Assembly (NA) passed the revised Law on Telecommunications on 24 November 2023 as part of its sixth sitting.[1]...

27 Dec 2023 Opinion
Telecoms and Government Regulators: Top 10 Focus Areas for 2024

Telecoms and Government Regulators: Top 10 Focus Areas for 2024

The world of telecommunications is changing. New applications have failed to emerge for 5G or gigabit broadband, with more focus...

18 Dec 2023 Opinion