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March 2, 1988

BUNDESPOST MONOPOLY TO STAY – EXCEPT FOR PLANNED DIGITAL CELLULAR SERVICES

By CBR Staff Writer

The West German government has taken another tentative step down the road towards the deregulation of its telecommunications market in publishing a draft law on the Bundespost which could come into force next year, reports the Financial Times. The proposals adhere mainly to recommendations made by the Witte Commission last September (CI No 738). Most important is the proposal to separate the Bundespost into three separate businesses – postal, post office savings bank and telecommunications – but its existing monopoly over the telephone service will remain untouched. Competition with the Bundespost will initially be restricted to a number of peripheral services including teletext, video and some satellite services, as mandatory services – those which must be provided nationally at a fixed price – are now expanded to include any services subject to international standards. A competitor to the Bundespost’s mobile digital telephone service will however be permitted when the pan-European system begins to be implemented in the 1990s although this would have been required by the European Commission eventually anyway. Under the new proposals, the Bundespost supervisory board will be replaced by three separate boards representing each of the restructured companies, a move welcomed by those who saw the Bundespost board as hostile to reform. The main postal union is bitterly opposed to the proposals, claiming that they would lead to job losses and a drop in performance.

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