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Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2008: Six Degrees of Sharing  

ITU released a major report on regulation in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector on 27 November 2008

  • The annual Trends in Telecommunication Reform publications are a key part of our dialogue with the world’s information and communications technology (ICT) policy-makers and regulators.

  • This 9th edition addresses the next wave of regulatory reforms necessary to promote widespread, affordable broadband access in developing countries. It examines passive and active infrastructure sharing, mobile sharing, spectrum sharing, open access to national fiber backbone infrastructure, sharing access to international capacity, business sharing regulation (including international roaming regulation and functional separation); end-user sharing and policy and regulatory issues related to IPTV and mobile TV.


Market & regulatory trends  

Growth in ICTs and in competition worldwide,
1995-2007, in billions

Note: Service totals are cumulative

Source: Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2008: Six degrees of sharing

  • The year 2008 began with high hopes for developing countries’ dreams to connect their citizens to information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure. Late 2008 saw the number of mobile subscribers rise to an all time high, reaching an estimated 4 billion worldwide...

More analysis in Trends 2008

Level of competition in selected services world, 2007

Source: Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2008: Six degrees of sharing

The first wave of sector reforms in the 1980s and 1990s attempted to create more transparent and stable legal and regulatory frameworks. The goal was to attract investment and make progress toward universal access by liberalizing market entry for new operators and service providers. Drastic changes in the sector flowed from technological innovations, convergence of services and competition growth. These changes may now require a further regulatory shift to open more market segments to competition and update licensing and spectrum management practices in order to foster growth in broadband networks and converged services...

 More analysis in Trends 2008

Growth in the number of regulators worldwide

Source: Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2008: Six degrees of sharing

  • As of October 2008, 152 countries had created a national regulatory authority for their ICT and telecommunication sectors. Africa now has the highest percentage of countries with a separate sector regulator (93 per cent) followed by the Americas (89 per cent) and Europe (80 per cent). The Arab States and Asia-Pacific number 66 per cent and 62 per cent, respectively...

  • Among the 152 regulators are several converged regulators – or regulators responsible for regulation both the telecom/ICT and the broadcasting sector, such as those in Australia, Finland, Italy, Malaysia, South Africa, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States...  

More analysis in Trends 2008


Previous reports in this series  
The ITU ICT Eye  

The ICT Eye

a one stop-shop for ICT information

What is the eye?


ITU-infoDev ICT Regulation Toolkit  

The ICT Regulation Toolkit is a web-based tool, organized as a series of online modules to provide regulators, telecom service providers, policy makers, sector experts and the general public with the latest developments on regulatory topics, best practices, and case studies.


ITU-World Bank ICTdec  

The ITU World Bank ICT Regulatory Decisions Clearinghouse (ICTDec) is an online resource that provides a one-stop access point to decisions originating from ICT dispute-resolution decision making bodies.

Contents of the report  


Six degrees of sharing  


Insights from the 2008 edition

Infrastructure-sharing regulation and policy addresses two broad issues that are often viewed as the stumbling blocks to the speedy roll-out of national telecommunication infrastructure:

1) Opening up access to “bottleneck” or “essential” facilities, where a single dominant infrastructure operator provides or leases facilities.

2) Promoting market investment in deploying high capacity infrastructure to unserved or underserved areas.

See Chapter 3: Extending open access to national fibre backbones in developing countries

Rolling out mobile networks involves intensive investment and sunk costs, potentially leading to high mobile-service prices. Mobile infrastructure sharing is one alternative for lowering the cost of network deployment, especially in rural, less populated or economically marginalized areas. Mobile infrastructure sharing may also stimulate the migration to new technologies and the deployment of mobile broadband networks. Mobile sharing may also enhance competition among operators and service providers.

See Chapter 4: Mobile network sharing

Various spectrum-sharing methods are increasingly  being used to respond to the escalating demand for spectrum, which has been sparked by the seemingly unstoppable surge in new wireless services and technologies. Spectrum sharing encompasses several techniques – some administrative, some technical, and some market-based. Spectrum can be shared in several dimensions: time, space and geography.

See Chapter 5: Spectrum sharing

Liberalizing access to international gateway facilities can lower infrastructure costs and promote infrastructure sharing, while multiplying the amount of international capacity available to operators. The result can be a rapid ramp-up of international traffic, coupled with lower prices for international communications.

See Chapter 6: International gateway liberalization Free!

Functional separation is a recent response by regulators and governments to the serious problem of anticompetitive, discriminatory behaviour by incumbents. It has arisen from a concern that existing rules and remedies are inadequate to deal with the problem. So far, implementation has been limited mainly to a small number of developed countries, although it appears to be gaining currency in several other countries.

See Chapter 7: Functional separation

International mobile roaming is becoming an increasingly important issue on the international regulatory and policy agenda. International roaming can also be viewed in a much wider context, as a tool for forging regional cohesion – in effect, regional network sharing.

See Chapter 8: International mobile roaming

Global distribution of IPTV subscribers, 2007

The deployment of IPTV and mobile TV changes traditional perceptions and challenges existing laws and regulations. Both services offer enormous opportunities to provide consumers new platforms for multimedia content, enhancing competition and boosting broadband deployment.

See Chapter 9: IPTV and mobile TV: New challenges for regulators

Sharing technologies is a common behaviour among people around the planet. End-user sharing is not just about accommodating network access scarcity. It’s also about supporting new applications, models and modes of collaboration. Sharing can be a good thing even when private, individualized access enjoys high rates of penetration.

See Chapter 10: End-user sharing

Buy the 2008 report!


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