Discussion Papers

Ernst-Olav Ruhle

Regulierung und Entwicklung des australischen Telekommunikationsmarktes
Nr. 129 / Mai 1994


Analyzing different paths of liberalization of telecommunications markets in an international context has increased interest in the development of the Australian market over the last years. Based on a structure in which the markets for national and international telecommunications as well as for satellite communications were separated and each segment was served by different monopolists, the reforms of 1989 and 1991 have brought forward major changes.

The originally seperated incumbents for national and international telecommunications were integrated to one operator named Telstra, while the national satellite system AUSSAT was sold to Optus, the new carrier competing with Telstra since 1992. Nevertheless, elements of market segmentation remained. The reason for this is that market entry regulation still differentiates between general carriers and providers of eligible services. Furthermore, there exist two bodies with regulatory functions. The ministry is mainly responsible for the selection of new general carriers while AUSTEL - the industry regulator established in 1989 - works in the field of regulating the service providers and has further supervisory functions on the all firms in the market.

In a bidding process in 1991 Optus was selected to become the second general carrier by paying A$ 800 million for the licence to provide long distance, international and mobile communication services based on its own network infrastructure. In 1993 a third mobile operator was allowed to enter the market.

Major elements of the regulatory regime were negotiated before market entry was conducted. It contained favourable conditions for the competitor relating to interconnection, the question of market dominance of the incumbent carrier and the realization of equal access, but on the other hand Optus has to follow a certain network roll-out scheme, invest considerable sums in its network, create jobs and fulfill local content rules.

Telstra, now exposed to competition went through a process of restructuring and rationalization, for example by reducing the number of employees and increasing its international presence.

An overview after approximately two years of competition shows that Optus has gained some market share. A policy review originally planned for 1996 will probably already be held this year. Thereby, decisions about further liberalization before 1997 by allowing additional entry into the core areas of telecommunications and the privatization of the incumbent will be taken.

Only German language version available.

To top  |  Print