Discussion Papers

Ralf G. Schäfer

Das Verhalten der Nachfrager im deutschen Telekommunikationsmarkt unter wettbewerblichen Aspekten
Nr. 250 / Dezember 2003


With the complete liberalisation of the German telecommunications market both for private and for business customers a lot of alternatives to the incumbent – especially in the fixed line segment – emerged. Actually, about 250 enterprises offer access and/or connections in Germany. Economic success of the different providers depends on reaching a substantial quantity of customers, i.e. end users have to be aware of the options and they have to recognize advantages in using alternative providers.

Previous studies on the impact of competition in the German telecommunications market primarily dealt with the supply side and with market structures. Empirically based reliable investigations of the effects of competition on the demand side, in particular on the behaviour of customers, are publicly available only rudimentary. The present study focuses on this issue and aims at filling the previous gap for the first time in a scientifically based way.

The main objective of this study is to analyze the behaviour of end users in the German telecommunications market via empirical data. For that purpose sound and representative survey data on residential and on business customers is evaluated. The analysis aims at describing and explaining, in which way end users exercise the options, which are created by competition in the German telecommunications market. The work is focussed on the fixed line segment. Nevertheless, complementary aspects are included for mobile communications and Internet usage in order to obtain a complete picture for specific questions.

The study analyses several topics that are crucial for the assessment of customer behaviour in the German telecommunications market:

  • Awareness about the possibilities to use competitors in the fixed line segment,
  • Actual utilisation of competition possibilities by end users,
  • Differences in awareness and behaviour across selected user segments, e.g. socioeconomic groups,
  • Motives for the selection of providers for different telecommunications services.

The empirical evidence provided by the study is relevant for political and regulatory bodies as well as for telecommunications companies. Both groups are able to recognize, to what extent customers are aware of the existing compe-tition in the German telecommunications market, in which way they make use of the competing providers and how their decisions are motivated. In addition, it becomes clear to the stakeholders, that individual users react very differently to competition and how these different customers are characterised. Finally, both groups can learn about the factors, which promote or restrain the use of competitive options from the customer perspective. [full version only available in German]

Diskussion Paper is available for download.

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