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Indicators of wireline/wireless competition in the market for telecommunication services

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  • Krzysztof Dzieciolowski
  • John Galbraith

    ()

Abstract

We address evidence that competition from wireless telecommunications may already be having a substantial effect on the market for wireline services, despite historical estimates of price elasticity suggesting substantial market power (weak competition) in wireline services, considering both the elasticity argument per se and the observable recent trends in the wireline market. Among other points, we suggest that: Arguments based on observed historical elasticities may be weak in cases where there exists a potential competitor offering a service whose price was substantially higher in the past, but where the price difference between the relevant products has lessened. In these cases, the competitor may have had little effect on demand in the past, but can have a much greater effect as the price difference narrows. We can use a logistic-type demand relation, with the price difference as a key factor, to model such situations. In the present case, doing so produces results compatible with a substantially higher absolute elasticity of demand than would be observable in historical data. With respect to observed trends in demand, we note that the total number of wirelines serviced by Bell Canada showed a remarkably stable pattern of seasonal and trend variation which has been interrupted quite abruptly over the last four + years. The change, in the direction of actual demand well below levels compatible with the previous trend, indicates substantial changes in the nature of the wireline market. Since the total market for telecommunications services has continued to expand over this time, this suggests changes in consumers’ choices between different modes of telecommunication. Relating the wireline displacements to the numbers of wireless customers (for primary wirelines) or wireless and high-speed internet (for secondary and total wirelines) allows us to estimate wireline losses, producing numbers compatible with a reduction of up to 8% in the total size of the market for fixed wirelines as of the end of 2003 (after excluding approximately 3% of the competitive losses), relative to what demand would have been had the previous growth trend continued. Nous soutenons la thèse selon laquelle la concurrence dans les télécommunications sans fil a déjà un effet important sur les marchés de services filaires, malgré les prévisions historiques de la théorie de l’élasticité-prix suggérant un pouvoir dominant sur le marché (concurrence défavorable) des services filaires. Nous traiterons l’argument de l’élasticité en soi, ainsi que de récentes tendances observables dans le marché des services filaires. Nous suggérons, entre autres que : Les arguments fondés sur les élasticités historiques observées peuvent être faibles dans les cas où il existe un compétiteur potentiel offrant un service dont les tarifs étaient beaucoup plus élevés dans le passé, mais dont la différence de prix entre les produits pertinents s’amoindrit. Dans ces cas, le compétiteur peut avoir eu une faible influence sur la demande dans le passé, mais est susceptible d’avoir une influence beaucoup plus grande lorsque la différence de prix se resserre. Nous pouvons utiliser un modèle de type logistique pour l’offre et la demande ayant comme facteur clé la différence de prix pour décrire de telles situations. Dans ce cas-ci, une telle méthode produirait des résultats compatibles avec une élasticité de la demande plus forte en absolu que celle observée dans les données historiques. En ce qui a trait aux tendances observées de la demande, nous avons noté que le nombre total de services filaires desservis par Bell Canada suit un modèle remarquablement stable de variation selon les saisons et les tendances mais qui a été soudainement interrompu durant les quatre dernières années. Ce changement, orienté vers la demande actuelle bien en dessous des niveaux compatibles avec la tendance précédente, indique des modifications substantielles de la nature même du marché des services filaires. Puisque le marché global des services de télécommunications a continué de prendre de l’expansion depuis ce temps, cela démontre des changements dans le processus décisionnel des clients entre les différents modes de télécommunication. La correspondance entre les déplacements des services filaires et le nombre de clients utilisant les services sans fil (pour le service filaire de base) ou sans fil et Internet haute-vitesse (pour le service filaire secondaire ou total) nous permet d’estimer les pertes de services filaires, produisant des nombres compatibles avec une réduction approximative de près de 8 % de la taille totale du marché des réseaux filaires pour la fin de 2003 (en excluant environ 3 % de pertes concurrentielles), comparativement à ce que la demande aurait été si la croissance avait continué.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Project Reports with number 2004rp-21.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cir:cirpro:2004rp-21

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  1. Rodini, Mark & Ward, Michael R. & Woroch, Glenn A., 0. "Going mobile: substitutability between fixed and mobile access," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5-6), pages 457-476, June.
  2. Cadima, Nuno & Pita Barros, Pedro Luis, 2000. "The Impact of Mobile Phone Diffusion on the Fixed-Link Network," CEPR Discussion Papers 2598, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Nakil Sung & Yong-Hun Lee, 2002. "Substitution between Mobile and Fixed Telephones in Korea," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 367-374, June.
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