More open competition coming for telcos

The worldwide telecommunications industry is about to liberalise into a more open marketplace, which will force national governments and regulatory agencies to prepare for this changing and challenging business environment, according to Dataquest. Increasing openness among the world's telecommunications markets is likely to be the single most influential factor in the growth of the world economy over the next decade. The substantial majority of all public telecommunications revenue will be earned in open markets in all world regions. Service providers, equipment vendors and government regulatory bodies must plan now for the change, perils and opportunities of this period.

Dataquest analysts pointed out that the bulk of telecommunications services revenue today is derived in national markets that are less than fully open; less than three per cent of public switched telephone network (PSTN) services revenue are earned in markets that have reached the greatest degree of competition. By 2005, this situation will be greatly changed as 60 per cent of all PSTN services revenue will be earned in fully competitive markets.

National governments and regulatory agencies are in the somewhat unenviable position of facing a coming story of growth. Those not already in transition to open markets can see the day not far ahead where the neat symmetries and contained energies of a monopoly structure will burst at the seams. As this happens, huge opportunities are available to the carriers that understand how to exploit these opening markets, both through competing in these fast-growing markets and through expanding the marketplace to include unserved and underserved areas.

Those nations that have already opened their networks to foreign investment and partnership most often enjoy the highest growth rates and richest overall markets, yet they must attempt to guide and channel this often raucous atmosphere without strangling the opportunities that telecommunications represents. Telecom equipment vendors also benefit from understanding this condition, helping shape the changing marketplace, and catering to the needs of the carriers, incumbents and new entrants alike.

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