Discussion Papers

Christoph Ferdinand

Ökonomische und regulatorische Aspekte der gemeinsamen Schalternutzung: Preisbildung im Schalterbereich
Nr. 78 / Dezember 1991


The postal reform in Germany led to the split of the former Deutsche Bundespost into three independently operating companies, namely DBP Telekom (telecommunication services), DBP Postdienst (postal services), and DBP Postbank (financial services). The establishment of regulation as a distinct function and with the Ministry for Posts and Telecommunications as the regulatory body has mitigated the immediate political influence on business operations. Both developments have had a direct impact on the counters network run by DBP Postdienst. It follows that the pricing of the counter network has become an issue to be settled between independent companies by some form of contractual agreement. Furthermore, the regulator has to seek for effective ways to ensure the achievement of his political aims without unduly restraining the entrepreneurial initiative of the companies. Our work on economic and regulatory issues of the counter network resulted in three discussion papers. While this paper analyzes the issue of pricing, the second deals with regulatory concerns, and the third is concerned with legal matters.

This paper tries to set a framework for the discussion of contractual relations between the provider of network capacity and its users. It focuses on the relationship between DBP Postdienst and the main user of the counter network, the DBP Postbank. First, a model is developed that tries to incorporate the most important elements that would have to be included in a long term contract. This model is independent of the actual regulatory constrains imposed on the network. Only on the basis of a sound product definition (in terms of capacity provided, exclusiveness, quality dimensions etc.), the issue of pricing can be dealt with successfully. The future shape of the network will be the result of the product definitions agreed upon with the different users. Upper and lower price limits can be defined that comprise a whole range of possible final solutions. The lower bound is constituted by the incremental cost of the capacity provided to the user, the upper bound consists of the stand-alone costs to the user. The final price agreed upon can not be predicted and will depend on such factors as the competition on the markets for postal and financial services. The paper then looks at the consequences of different regulatory regimes on pricing. In its second part, the paper draws on the experiences gained in other countries (Netherlands, United Kingdom, Denmark) and discusses them on the grounds of the model introduced in the first part. It is shown that the individual solutions arrived at can be explained by the special circumstances to be found in each country.

Only German language version available.

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