Discussion Papers

Gabriele Kulenkampff

Der Markt für Internet Telefonie - Rahmenbedingungen, Unternehmensstrategien und Marktentwicklung
Nr. 206 / Juni 2000


Since the beginning of the year 1998 with the enforcement of the new German Postal law a new regulatory framework was created which offers market entry possibilities to potential competitors of the Deutsche Post AG. From 2003 on it is intended to fully open the market to competition. With this intention Germany in comparison to other European countries is among the leading countries with respect to postal market liberalisation. Against this background of an asymmetry in market entry possibilities among different EU member states a political discussion is to be expected whether to prolong the exclusive licence for the Deutsche Post AG until a symmetric European liberalisation process will be possible.

In anticipation of this discussion it is the aim of this study for the German Ministry of Economics and Technology to analyse which consequences are to be expected on the German economy from the granting of a full market access to potential competitors. Potential developments under different regulatory frameworks were analysed in the study using two alternative scenarios:

Full liberalisation of the letter market from the year 2003 onwards: Due to the opening of the letter mail market there will be a bigger market potential for alternative postal operators. Thus, it is to be expected that the market share of the alternative postal operators will increase. Nevertheless, the market position of the Deutsche Post AG is characterised by a first mover advantage due to the economies of scale within her postal network and the qualitative reputation which has been build up over years. The expected reactions of the Deutsche Post AG to the entry of alternative postal operators will be a variation in price and quality policy. The competitive development will lead to a falling overall price level and a changing price structure. Tariffs will be rebalanced between different user groups. Furthermore, the product variety will increase. This will lead to a better satisfaction of users needs.

Prolongation of the exclusive licence: A maintenance of the current market access conditions for alternative postal operators implies that the biggest share – at least two third – of the letter mail market will remain under the exclusive licence of the Deutsche Post AG and therefore will be excepted from competition. Against this background it seems to be unlikely that competitors will overcome their current niche existence. Due to the limited scale of competition it is to be expected that only bigger business customers will profit from the selective market entry of some few competitors. Furthermore, it can not be excluded that the Deutsche Post AG might use its monopoly position to prevent potential competitors from entering the market.

Only a full market access will lead to lower prices for the customers and more competitive and efficient communication and logistic systems which are of utmost importance to the competitive position of the German economy. As a conclusion of the study it can be stated that from an economic perspective a full opening of the market is to be preferred against a prolongation of the exclusive licence.

Only German language version available.

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