Discussion Papers

Dieter Elixmann

Econometric Estimation of Production Structures: The Case of the German Telecommunications Carrier
Nr. 57 / April 1990


The discussion paper contains the concluding chapter of a study "The R&D system for telecommunications - comparison with ten countries". Differing national R&D policies in general and distinct regulations and market structures in the telecommunications sector have created R&D systems that look quite different from each other. This in the past was sustainable because of the relatively isolated situation of each national market. Liberalisation and internationalisation of the telecommunications markets, growing R&D expenditures, mergers and joint ventures are changing the old national divisions of labour in R&D.

Despite liberalisation, in all countries governments are - directly or indirectly - involved in the national R&D systems; although to a very different degree. With liberalisation this involvement becomes a problem for fair competition in the equipment market, especially between countries of the European Communities. Carriers' engagement in the R&D systems vary substantially. Their R&D expenditures and their relation with the national manufacturer(es) differ although liberalisation and internationalisation of the equipment markets increases competition and brings pressure on the established R&D cooperations and market relations. Correspondingly the position of the national equipment manufactureres in the increasingly competitive international markets is influenced by the distinct national R&D systems.

The most interesting and perhaps most challenging country compared is Japan. The Japanese R&D system with its complex structure of collaboration and competition of all sectors under the guidance of MPT, MITI and NTT differs substantially from that of all other countries. The system realises substantial economies of scale and scope in the R&D process at the national level. During the last ten years, Japan has invested a great amount of resources in R&D for telecommunications. It has acquired a large stock of proprietary knowledge in telecommunications and has taken the leading position from the USA in a number of fields which are important for the future development of the telecommunications sector. Japan's R&D activities are a challenge for the USA and Europe.

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