Discussion Papers

Ulrike Schimmel

Ergebnisse und Perspektiven der Telekommunikationsliberalisierung in Australien
Nr. 207 / August 2000


As in Great Britain, the Australian market for voice telephony has been opened in two steps. In the year 1991, a second network operator was licensed, six years later, the market was opened completely.

Under the duopoly regime until June 1997, service provider indeed could survive, however, they could not prosper due to the advancement of infrastructure competition.

The telecommunications legislation in force from July 1997 opens up the opportunity to enter the telecommunications service market. Specifically the interconnection rules gave competitors the opportunity to get access to the essential facilities. An increased reliance on industry self-regulation is expected to result in more efficient industry and to force both competition and the long term interests of end users. This approach that is characterized by a strong contribution of the industry in the decision process proceeds the assumption that efficiency gains can be realized, if the participants of the market are decentralized and flexible to bargain the conditions of the contracts for themselves. However, the government regulatory body has to arbitrate when different market power of the parties are expected to yield results, if at all, with a strong time lag.

Especially in the national long distance and international segment, competition is observed, whereby Telstra maintains her position as dominant carrier. This dominance is particularly aware in the segment of local calls and customers access. However, it is expected that the obligation to grant unbundled access to the local loop in August 2000 will intense competition also in this market segment.

Carriers of the Australian mobile market are largely unregulated except of the obligation to contribute to the costs of universal service. Three carriers obtained a GSM 900 license, Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone. Additionally, at the end of 1997, regional licenses for using frequencies in the 800 MHz and in the 1,8 GHz spectrum are sold by auction.

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