Prices and Conditions of Access to the Postal Network: The Principle of Non-Discrimination
Access to an incumbent postal operator’s (PO) delivery network is an instrument for promoting competition in the postal services market. Competition should create more choices for postal users, reduce prices and improve quality. However, compared to other network industries, the postal sector has numerous differences including low sunk costs, the questionable applicability of a “ladder of investment” theory, and a reduced risk of market failure. In addition, the letter market is declining and thus becoming less attractive for new entrants. Therefore, positive effects of (mandatory) access to the postal network should not be presumed. Access to the PO’s network is not only provided to alternative postal operators but also to businesses, bulk mailers, consolidators and other entities that provide services involving mail preparation and/or carrying out part of the distribution process. POs often offer rebates, most typically based on volume and operational work-sharing and presorting activities.
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