Discussion Papers

Matthias-W. Stoetzer

Die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit der deutschen Telekommunikationsindustrie
Nr. 136 / November 1994
(no longer available)


Telecommunications is seen as one of the most prospering economic sectors of modern societies. This leads to the question of the German position and the role of German suppliers in these markets. The study examines this question with regard to the market segments of telecommunications equipment and telecommunications services.

Its basic result says that the competitiveness of the German telecommunications industry at present is relatively strong. But at the same time it shows a number of structural weaknesses necessitating increasing efforts for the future.

The telecommunications equipment industry in comparison to other IT sectors in the short run has a strong position on a number of markets. This is true first of all as to the switching technology. With regard to terminal equipment, e.g. telefone sets, fax machines and modems, the competitiveness of German manufacturers is rather low. Furthermore, a patent analysis reveals that in the field of telecommunications equipment in general in the long run the competitive strength of German suppliers is likely to deteriorate. As to telecommunications services the analysis has to take into consideration two caveats. Firstly, telecommunications services mostly are non-tradeables, which can not be imported or exported. For that reason the study can not relate to Germany as a geographical area of production, but has to concentrate on German enterprises. Secondly, due to the monopolies on voice telephony and telecommunications networks confered to DBP Telekom about 80 % of the market volume of telecommunications services are not exposed to competition.

Having in mind these restraints nevertheless some indicators of competitiveness exist. For instance it clearly turns out that the level of tariffs for international telephone calls charged by DBP Telekom is not (yet) competitive. Also the direct investments of German service providers (DBP Telekom, Mannesmann) in the field of mobile communications indicate a certain lag behind in comparison to important foreign companies.

The reasons for this assessment of the German position on the markets of telecoms equipment and services are above all due to the delay of liberalisation of the German telecoms markets. Some other unfavourable conditions - like e.g. high wages - play a certain rule but fail to provide a general explanation for all weaknesses of the German telecoms industry.

Only German language version available.

Discussion Paper is no longer available.

To top  |  Print