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

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