COMPETITION, PRIVATIZATION, CONVERGENCE, AND UNIVERSAL SERVICE: THE CASE STUDY OF KOREA

Open Access
Author:
Kim, Sung Wook
Graduate Program:
Mass Communications
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
December 19, 2008
Committee Members:
  • Krishna Prasad Jayakar, Dissertation Advisor
  • Krishna Prasad Jayakar, Committee Chair
  • Richard Denny Taylor, Committee Member
  • Amit Schejter, Committee Member
  • Lynette Marie Yarger, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Telecommunications policy
  • Competition
  • Privatization
  • Universal service
  • The case study of Korea
Abstract:
Since telecommunications reforms began around world in the 1980s, many scholars have attempted to uncover its effects on the telecommunications sector. Nevertheless, research focusing largely on the impact of privatization on universal service has been relatively less frequent than other research on telecommunications reform such as the effect of competition on efficiency, investment, and universal service, and the impact of privatization on efficiency. As a result, there still remain doubts and debates about the effect of privatization on universal service. Further, the well-established ideas in the literature fail to fully explain the process of telecommunications reform and the evolution of universal service in Korea because of the atypical strategies which Korea has employed for network expansion and universal service. From these perspectives, this study attempted to bridge the gap between the findings in the previous works and the Korean case. As a case study of Korea, it has a limitation in generalizing the impacts of changes in market structure on universal service because of the unique features which Korea has demonstrated in the process of telecommunications reform and the evolution of universal service. In spite of this limitation, this dissertation may contribute to providing policy-makers and scholars in telecommunications with useful policy suggestions by concretely illustrating why Korea has adopted its own agenda in telecommunication and how she has successfully implemented it in the reform process. Particularly, this study indicates that each state may have its discretion in telecommunications and be able to choose the strategies appropriate to its political, economic, and social circumstances in order to secure universal service, despite the irresistible global trend of market-oriented telecommunications reform. In other words, this dissertation shows through the case study of Korea that even though telecommunications reform such as competition and privatization is a useful and effective choice on the policy menu for developing countries which pursue the improvement in the efficiency of their telecommunications as well as the promotion of universal service, a new recipe, which looks queer to those who prefer the conventional, might be the better option for them depending on their tastes, as the Korean case demonstrates.