April 1 2009 Opened Postal Service Market
During the last decade the political goals concerning (natural) monopolies have changed essentially.
Ten years ago telecommunications, production and distribution of electricity and postal communication were the fields of strategic importance one could run only under the strict management and surveillance of the state: mainly as a state owned enterprise or administration. Today we share the opinion that the relevant activities should be transferred to private entrepreneurs and service markets must be opened for competition.
The main idea of liberalisation is to diversify and develop services provided on the mentioned basis and to introduce new services, i. e. creating surplus value by efficient application of existing networks. Due to that the modern regulation of the relevant areas focuses more on services and general regulations of relationships between different market sharers than on networks. At the same time they have acknowledged the risk of such approach – desire of profit maximization based on private interests jeopardizes providing services in unprofitable regions.
In EU there are applied “universal services” in different areas considered natural monopoly to prevent that. A member state is obliged to ensure the access to universal services throughout the whole territory of its state.
The aim of the EU postal communication policy is the common market of postal services that guarantees the access to high quality, effective and trustworthy postal services in all Member States with reasonable prices.
For the time being the markets of Estonian postal communication (i.e. markets of different services) are rather liberal – diversity of service providers, no restrictions are imposed on provision of services and price setting is free. Therefore it can be said that while the EU endeavours to liberalise the market by establishing the relevant regulation, we have already reached that aim.
The majority of the EU Member States’ postal communication market can be characterised as strictly regulated and giving exclusive rights (reserved area, monopoly) of providing different written communication services to specific postal administrations.
Estonia is represented in the following international postal communication organisations:
• Universal Postal Union (UPU) – 1922, 1992
• European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT)- 1993;
• European Committee for Postal Regulation (CERP)
A new Postal Act (in force since 1 January 2009), which aim is to open Estonian postal services market for competition on 1th April 2009 sets that: postal service provider must provide the main universal postal services of specified quality throughout the whole territory of Estonia. Estonian legislation does not stipulate reserved postal services.
For more information about postal service regulation, please visit the site of regulative body Estonian Competition Market