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Telecom Services Market Tops $1 Trillion

The combined telecom services market of the 31 OECD countries has likely topped $1 trillion in the past year, with OECD figures showing it reached $946 billion in value by the start of 2004. The organisation's Communications Outlook 2005 also found that the sector was growing around 10 percent annually, implying that the $1 trillion milestone was passed some time in the past 12 months.

Unsurprisingly, the US dominates the rankings accounting for $357 billion of that total - an enormous 38 percent share for a group that includes 31 countries. Rankings don't always conform to GDP size - Japan is next with a $139 billion market, followed by the UK with $83 billion, Germany with $77 billion and then France with $39 billion.

The report also found that levels of competition are still erratic across countries: the UK shines on this count with 102 carriers, and new entrants taking 16.9 percent of access lines (number one in the OECD) and as much as 64 percent of international minutes. Neighbouring Ireland flunked on the competition front, with just four carriers and new entrants struggling to secure more than one in five long distance and international minutes.

In a press release accompanying the report, the OECD said the growing popularity of Internet telephony threatens the fixed-line revenues of traditional carriers, especially for international calls, the OECD report concludes. In addition, however, VoIP presents a challenge to mobile telephones, which in many countries are now more numerous than fixed connections.

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