The Future of Mobile Ecosystems: Enabling a Choice for Market Players & Consumers in India (Program Synthesis)

BACKGROUND NOTE:

  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has launched an investigation in relation to the OS market for mobile handsets, examining allegations of self preferencing by the app stores and OS owners. Earlier, it has imposed penalties to the tune of USD 21 million in a case relating to online web search and web search advertising services.
  • In addition to keeping an eye on the conduct cases, the CCI has been actively seeking to enhance its ability to scrutinise global tech mergers that currently escape its net due to scheme of the competition statute.

Panel Summary

The Panel discussed few themes relevant to the Indian mobile phone ecosystem, such as the need to understand the business model of the digital players and the unique features of the Indian mobile ecosystem, need to give primacy to consumer welfare while addressing competition concerns, and having a nuanced approach with respect to assessment of consumer harm. The Panel also cast a spotlight on the issue of Indian competition agency following the footsteps of its western counterparts and the merits / demerits of such approach.

The Panel was moderated by Aditya Bhattacharjea (Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi) who noted that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has taken a rational and not a ‘per se’ approach in interpreting the abuse of dominance provisions. He also raised the concern that if one accepts the proposition that digital

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