The wholesale open access network (WOAN) model or single wholesale network (SWN) is unlikely to achieve greater network coverage, according to a GSMA report.
GSMA examined SWN model in five markets around the world: Kenya, Mexico, Russia, Rwanda and South Africa.
John Giusti, chief regulatory officer of GSMA, said: “Network competition produces faster and more extensive network coverage, and the examples highlighted in the report indicate little evidence that a SWN/WOAN is likely to achieve this.”
Policymakers have supported a competitive network structure, licensing network usage to a limited number of competing mobile network operators, usually under private ownership. This approach has resulted in unprecedented growth and innovation in mobile services.
Mobile operators are looking at ways to balance competition with co-operation in infrastructure investment by entering voluntarily into infrastructure sharing agreements. They are also exploring new business models with third parties to share the cost and risk of investment in rural and remote locations.
GSMA said the benefits of network competition go well beyond coverage; innovation is a key driver of consumer value at the national level, and this occurs where there is competition amongst networks as well as in the delivery of services and the launch of devices in a market.
GSMA said a move to wholesale networks will harm consumers, as history has demonstrated that network monopolies normally result in high prices and lower investment in infrastructure.