The Triumph of the Oligopoly

  • Simone Fari


The early 1860s flowed on seamlessly from the previous five years. Despite the poor performance of the duopoly and its alienated users touting the entry of any rivals bent on destroying it, the telegraph market carried on as before. The Electric and the British & Irish stood compact against the danger of their competitor, the United, which proposed a flat charge on the lines joining the main economic and political centres of the country. However, the United soon changed tack and went in with the duopoly, which was consequently enlarged into an oligopoly with price cartels being openly adopted. The consolidation of this situation between 1855 and 1865 was complementary to the prodigious development of British submarine telegraphs, which, based on great investments, scraped together capital, management and know-how from landline telegraphs, furthering the strategy of scarce investments and high dividends common to the companies of landline oligopoly. Their triumph in 1865 brought to the surface problems that had been upsetting users since the beginning of the decade, who now moved from being upset to openly and fiercely critical and ended by causing a drastic change in regime.


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© Simone Fari 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simone Fari
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GranadaSpain

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