Discussion Papers

Dieter Elixmann, Ralf G. Schäfer, Andrej Schöbel

Internationaler Vergleich der Sektorperformance in der Telekommunikation und ihrer Bestimmungsgründe

Nr. 289 / Februar 2007


This study focuses on the present situation and changes in the telecommunications market. It comprises the situation in different countries (cross section perspective) as well as the situation in one country at different points in time (time series perspective). On the one hand the study characterises the present conditions and changes on the basis of actual data. On the other hand it aims at identifying the driving forces for these conditions and changes in the telecommunications sector. It is, however, not intended to provide new primary data material. Rather, our main focus is on an in-depth analysis of explanatory factors on the basis of publicly available information. In this respect, the study is primarily empirical. The study is based both on an evaluation of findings provided by scientific literature as well as on results of own calculations.

The study addresses the following topics: (1) Growth of the telecommunications markets, (2) broadband adoption, (3) investment activity in the telecommunications sector, (4) access penetration as well as (5) fixed-mobile substitution.

Neither the macro-economic development nor the capital investment in the telecommunications sector alone can explain the growth of the telecommunications market. Rather, the growth of the market at large is mainly determined by developments in particular segments of the market, i.e. there is a positive relationship regarding mobile communications and broadband and a negative one regarding the development of fixed networks. The econometric studies of the driving forces of broadband penetration give reasonable evidence that intermodal competition in particular is crucial. Furthermore, a correlation between PC penetration and broadband penetration can be validated empirically. Our own econometric research demonstrates that the PC penetration is particularly (statistically) significant for broadband penetration. With regard to capital investment in the telecommunications sector the impact of the regulatory environment can be validated empirically.

Taking into consideration different points in time there is a negative correlation between the price level of fixed network and the percentage of fixed network households. However, the price level can’t explain the dynamic development of access in the course of time. With regard to mobile communications the price level hardly can be viewed as a determining factor for different penetration rates. Rather, there is a positive correlation between mobile penetration and the GDP per capita. Important parameters for the degree and the development of fixed-mobile substitution are fixed and mobile penetration rates, the price ratio between fixed and mobile network services, price elasticities as well as network effects between fixed and mobile communications. The aspect of fixedmobile substitution plays an important role for the pricing policy of mobile providers. Since the mobile markets exhibit first signs of saturation, it will gain even more importance in the future. [only a german version available]

Diskussion Paper is available for download.

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