The annual general meeting of Reliance Industries, held yesterday, showcased interesting new developments. The most prominent are the company’s claim that it has designed and developed a complete 5G solution from scratch and its partnership with Google to jointly develop an Android operating system for smartphones to significantly lower their cost.
Regardless of how these announcements play out in concrete terms, the irreversible trend in the world of communications technology is the power of giant platforms to bundle multiple applications. A platform such as Jio can provide an entry point for myriad needs such as shopping, payment, news and entertainment.
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The evolution of a few giant platforms has triggered research on their regulation. While these platforms leverage economies of scale to efficiently provide services, there is also a fear that bundling can throttle competition from a potential disruptor operating in a niche. Therefore, the government needs to raise its game on regulating emerging technology. It cannot be on the same principles that prevent monopolies in cement or steel. India’s regulatory regime has to be brought in sync with the changes triggered by technological progress.