Different Asian market, different focus

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While I mostly look to China in trying to create a comparative analysis framework for the Canadian ICT industry, it’s hard to completely omit Japan due to their mobile sector.

I’ve tended to think of Japan in terms of handsets and end-user technologies, not necessarily in terms of infrastructure or policy. So coming across this article last month, “B.C. capitalizing on the new culture of openness in Japanese telecom market”, was interesting to give me some more context between the Japanese domestic mobile market and local BC tech companies.

WavefrontAC continues to interest me, ever since learning about them at a MobileCamp — or perhaps it was a DemoCamp? Regardless, I’m interested to see what the long term economic and policy impacts an organization like Wavefront will have on BC’s broader ICT development.

Cyber Security and Protectionism

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I was catching up on a bunch of article’s at the end of last week and I noticed a trend coming through on the Infowar Monitor feed. From links about Chinese-based attacks on India’s Russian embassy website to articles discussing the impact of hacking on Australian businesses, these stories illustrate the growing cyber-antagonism coming from China following claims of widespread attacks against western technology companies earlier this year.

While some critics note that this type of behaviour is not exactly new — and that some of the biggest cyberalarmists also have the most to gain in consulting contracts — one of the emerging issues will be how this state-permitted (if not state-sanctioned or state-directed) activity will impact the ICT infrastructure industry.

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Progressive Canadian Telecom Policy Views

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Finally finished reading ‘For Sale to the Highest Bidder: Telecom Policy in Canada’, put out by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. I had come across it last fall while starting to do some investigation into spectrum issues in Canada.

My main interest was the chapter ‘Spectrum Matters: Clearing and Reclaiming the Spectrum Commons’ by Graham Langford. Sadly, this chapter was very topical when written in 2007/early 2008 but not so much after the 2008 spectrum auction in Canada.

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Comparative analysis can provide interesting insights of relationships between governments, regulators, consumers and industry.

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Wired.com’s article on the punk rock scene developing in China has me thinking of Irene Wu’s book, ‘From Iron Fist to Invisible Hand: The Uneven Path of Telecommunications Reform in China‘.

One of the things that really struck me during my reading was her observation of small players that launched telecommunication services illegally to meet consumer demand. For instance, Internet cafes started offering cheap VOIP for people looking to make long distance calls using their Internet connection. Local officials would look the other way, as prices were falling and customers were able to access services with virtually no waiting period. Eventually the regulator would legalize the technology but generally penalize the company, forcing the incumbent to roll-out the alternative technology.

Something about the whole thing just felt so punk rock when compared to more mature telecom markets, like Canada’s. Although reading this article from IT World Canada on a Mobile Monday Toronto event seemed to say others in Canada may also possess a little bit of punk spirit.

Asking questions after a talk by Globalive chairman Anthony Lacavera, “One person in the audience went so far as to ask Lacavera why, with spectrum licences in hand and a network partly up, he didn’t just defy the CRTC and start selling phones.”