Originally Posted by samab
You can't do much when France doesn't allow foreign ownership of mobile carriers and there are only 3 national carriers. You can't do much when the German government owns 30% directly and indirectly of Deutsche Telekom (which owns T-Mobile).
Well, that is wrong. Competitors in Germany do operate, they do offer tariffs being as much as 70% lower in extreme cases and pretty much every single ruling of the government telecommunications regulation office has been against Telekom (the mother company of T-Mobile). This might be due to pressure from the EU commission, but as long as it works, fine. Telekom (even if partially owned by the government) lost around 2 million subscribers in 2007. We do have competition and it is showing results. Every phone user in Germany can freely choose the provider, tariff and the phone separately - I take that over the US situation every single day.
One single demographic is keeping Telekom/T-Mobile alive. Average age in Germany is pretty high and the vast majority of the population has grown up without any competition in the phone market. Quite a few elderly people have a terrible time keeping up with terminology, tariff options and all the decisions involved. They hold on to what they have, because it works. I needed 18 months to convince my mother to cancel her Telekom contract and sign up for a different landline and DSL provider (for a 65% saving, free installation and hardware included). This does not say nothing about the fairness of competition. It is the competitors task to reach these people, but every single flyer, ad or commercial in existence is 90-100% incomprehensible for this market. Most people will not even figure out they are talking about a phone line at all. "DSL with 16 Mbit and Fastpath, 801.11n WLAN Modem included, domestic flat, friends and family option, happy weekend option... - can I use this to call my children?"