Difficulties Encountered by Telecommunications Customers

Changes in Public Services
By Gilles Jeannot

This paper reviews the situation of customers of telecommunications services (telephone, internet) based on reports issued by official authorities in charge of competition regulation and polls about the image of service providers. It illustrates a number of difficulties in establishing healthy competition in this sector: improper clauses in contracts, agreements between service providers, high operator switching costs, but also disorientation of the customer by the administrative complexity of the services. The paper also shows a dissatisfaction of customers with contractual and sometimes technical aspects of the commercial relation and a diminishing trust in former public operators. Customers are largely dominated and the impression of choice could be misleading.

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