Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to identify the factors that have moved some regulators around the world to restructure their regulatory agencies towards an integrated information and communication technology (ICT) regulator. Design/methodology/approach – This paper uses the theory of transaction costs as an analytical framework to analyze the regulatory convergence efforts of the UK, India, Malaysia, and South Africa. It relies on case study methodology to elucidate the obstacles towards a converged policy framework. Findings – The cases show that these countries moved towards a converged regulator and laws to eliminate obsolete rules that were hampering investment and slowing competition in the ICT sector. The governments also wanted to eliminate some redundancies and simplify the rules used in regulating ICTs. For some countries the ICT regulator maintains traditional industry distinctions but others moved towards an issues‐organizing framework. The challenges included training, consultations with affected parties, changes in the law, and coping with rules that were still valid. Practical implications – Given the rapid development of technology and the blurring boundaries of ICTs, regulators are advised to make changes to their regulatory bodies and adopt a more flexible regime of laws and regulators that are able to accommodate technological and industry changes. Originality/value – The paper makes a unique contribution by linking the theories of collective action and transactions cost to explain why convergence of telecommunications regulation happens and the obstacles that regulatory agencies face in the process.
info – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 1, 2005
Keywords: Telecommunications; Malaysia; Standardization; United Kingdom; India; South Africa