Claudio Murri, Asia advisor to EIF, presents latest digital policy developments in China and Qatar.
4G Network testing in China
Growth in China’s nascent 4G mobile services market is expected to intensify this quarter after the regulator, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, gave the go-ahead for operators to conduct pilot tests in 16 cities, including Shanghai, Xian, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Nanjing, Jinan, Shijiazhuang, Zhengzhou and Chongqing.
China Unicom and China Telecom started hybrid network trials based on the locally-developed standard TD-LTE (Time-Division Long-Term Evolution) standard, and on the more mature and more widely adopted around the world FDD-LTE (Frequency-Division Duplex Long-Term Evolution) one.
China Mobile, the country’s largest wireless network operator, has been signing up new users on its TD-LTE network since the mainland's launch of 4G services in December, however it still only has about 8 million 4G network subscribers out of its total user base of 787.295 million customers.
Qatar's newly established independent Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) has released a policy statement setting out the key principles underpinning its approach to regulation in the communications sector. The policy statement is intended to provide transparency and certainty to stakeholders while ensuring that the sector thrives and meets the needs of users. The CRA also aims at improving Qatar's global competitiveness in the telecom sector. Through targeted regulatory intervention, the CRA is placing a bigger emphasis on access to key network infrastructure elements on equal terms by all players in the market. Increased competition should result in a broad range of innovative, reasonably priced communications services as demand for such services continues to increase at a fast pace. CRA expects to gradually reduce reliance on retail regulation to achieve the desired results for consumers. Crucial aspects related to consumer protection will still be retained. Specific rules will also apply to dominant service providers to address anti-competitive behaviour and systematic monitoring of the market will be conducted.