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From national monopoly to multinational corporation: How regulation shaped the road towards telecommunications internationalisation

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  • Judith Clifton
  • Francisco Comín
  • Daniel Díaz-Fuentes

Abstract

One of the consequences of major regulatory reform of the telecommunications sector from the end of the 1970s -- particularly, privatisation, liberalisation and deregulation -- was the establishment of a new business environment which permitted former national telecommunications monopolies to expand abroad. From the 1990s, a number of these firms, particularly those based in Europe, joined the rankings of the world's leading multinational corporations. Their internationalisation was uneven, however: while some firms internationalised strongly, others ventured abroad much slower. This article explores how the regulatory framework within which telecommunications incumbents evolved over the long-term shaped their subsequent, uneven, paths to internationalisation. Two case studies representing ‘maximum variation’ are selected: Telefónica, whose early and unrelenting expansion transformed it into one of the world's most international of multinational corporations, and BT, whose overseas ventures failed and, with eroding domestic market share, forced the firm to partially retreat, becoming the least international of the large European incumbents. Long-term ownership, access to capital, management style and exposure to liberalisation strongly influenced firms' approaches to internationalisation.

Suggested Citation

  • Judith Clifton & Francisco Comín & Daniel Díaz-Fuentes, 2011. "From national monopoly to multinational corporation: How regulation shaped the road towards telecommunications internationalisation," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(5), pages 761-781, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:bushst:v:53:y:2011:i:5:p:761-781
    DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2011.599588
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bel, Germà & Trillas, Francesc, 2005. "Privatization, corporate control and regulatory reform: the case of Telefonica," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-51, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Judith Clifton & Daniel Díaz‐Fuentes & Marcos Fernández‐Gutiérrez & Julio Revuelta, 2011. "Is Market‐Oriented Reform Producing A ‘Two‐Track’ Europe? Evidence From Electricity And Telecommunications," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 82(4), pages 495-513, December.
    2. Clò, Stefano & Fiorio, Carlo V. & Florio, Massimo, 2017. "The targets of state capitalism: evidence from M&A deals," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 61-74.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications
    • N74 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: 1913-
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-
    • N84 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Europe: 1913-
    • L98 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Government Policy
    • H82 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Governmental Property

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