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Demand for telecommunication services in developing countries


  • Garbacz, Christopher
  • Thompson Jr, Herbert G.


Living standards and economic growth in developing countries are invariably linked to the availability and use of telecom services. Effective policy decisions require the best estimates of the drivers of these services. In this paper, telecommunications demand is estimated in models for residential mainline and mobile telephone service for developing countries for the period 1996-2003. The paper tests for cross-price effects between mainline and mobile service and its findings have important policy implications. It finds residential monthly price elasticity to be insignificant for developing countries, but the connection elasticity is larger than generally found in the literature. Mobile monthly price elasticities are very large. A new and important empirical finding is that although wireline phones are substitutes in the mobile market, the contrary is not true--mobile phones are not substitutes in the wireline market, and in fact may be considered complements. This lack of symmetry has important implications for properly defining telecom markets. Universal service subsidies and competitive market initiatives should be reevaluated in light of the paper's elasticity estimates. Increased competition, income growth and enhanced education may be the ultimate universal service promoters.

Suggested Citation

  • Garbacz, Christopher & Thompson Jr, Herbert G., 2007. "Demand for telecommunication services in developing countries," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 276-289, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:telpol:v:31:y:2007:i:5:p:276-289

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