16/01/2002 - Countries that have opened up their telecommunications market to competition have found that they can provide better services to business and consumers at reasonable prices and participate more fully in the "digital" economy. But the switch from monopolies to more open telecom markets cannot take place overnight. It has been a long, gradual process in those countries that have done it, and other countries anxious to exploit new technologies to the full can benefit from their experiences.
Sharing experiences in liberalising telecom markets is the object of an OECD Telecommunications Conference at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai on 21-22 January 2002. The conference will draw on lessons of OECD and non-OECD countries and discuss the benefits of open telecom markets as well as the policy and institutional requirements for change.
A pre-conference media briefing will take place at 11.00 a.m. on Sunday 20 January at the Dubai Internet City Conference Hall with Ahmad Bin Byat, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Internet City, and Michael Tiger, Chairman of the OECD Working Party for Telecommunications and Information Services Policies and Senior Advisor Industry Canada. During the course of the conference, media seminars with the involvement of participating experts will take place at the end of each morning session on the benefits of a competitive telecom sector and the changeover process itself. There will be a final news conference at 3.30 p.m. on Tuesday 22 January.
Participants include representatives from OECD governments and about 30 non-member countries, international inter-governmental organisations, representatives of global businesses, non-governmental organisations and e-commerce experts from around the world. They will review case studies in both OECD countries and other countries and examine how telecommunications competition can assist in economic growth and diversification. Among the themes for discussion will be: the impact of competition on the business community and operators; ways to structure a regulatory framework for the telecommunications sector and implement safety measures such as pricing policies and universal service; and privatisation and the speed of change in moving from a monopoly to competitive markets.
For further information, journalists are invited to contact Meggan Dissly, OECD Media Relations Division (tel.  1 45 24 80 94).