Liberalization Revolutionized Telecom, Insurance Missed Out

Liberalization Revolutionized Telecom, Insurance Missed Out

While telecom has seen rapid deregulation post liberalization, insurance has struggled to gain traction and is still led by state-owned firms.

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Liberalization Revolutionized Telecom, Insurance Missed Out

This article originally appeared on Livemint.

India’s liberalization has brought about sweeping changes in everything—from aviation to the wine industry. But not all of the change has been consistent or effective.

The two sectors that perhaps best demonstrate this dichotomy are telecom and insurance. On the one hand, there is telecom, a sector that has seen rapid deregulation, helping create one of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets. On the other hand is insurance, which has struggled to gain traction and is still dominated by state firms.

While both sectors have seen an easing of rules for foreign investment and the entry of numerous local and international firms keen to tap a young population with rising incomes, their contrasting trajectories show that reform alone isn’t enough.

Of the two sectors, telecom has arguably seen greater turbulence: an earlier easing for both the domestic and foreign players; significant regulatory reform, including switching to a revenue-share model in the late 1990s; hyper-competition a decade later, followed by a wave of exits; a dramatic surge in spectrum prices; limited clarity on mergers and acquisitions (M&As) and taxation; inefficiency; and allegations of corruption.

Read the full article in Livemint.

Dinkar Ayilavarapu is a partner in Bain and Co. and a key member of Bain’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) practice in the Asia-Pacific.

Prashanth Aluru is a partner with the TMT practice in the region and also leads the firm’s Digital and Advanced Analytics practices in India.


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