Rapid opening up of the telecommunications sector could maintain up to 1.3 million jobs in European Union countries by 2005, according to an independent study by French consultant BIPE Conseil.
There could be indirect benefits for Europe’s economy from the accelerated diffusion of services and lower prices, the study found.
The number of jobs created by new operators and service providers will depend partly on the pace of deregulation. While traditional telecoms operators like BT, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom might have to cut staff by up to 286,000, rapid opening up of the market could result in the net creation of 93,000 jobs in the sector overall.
The study was undertaken at the request of the EU’s Joint Telecoms Committee, in which unions and employers are represented. Full reorganisation of the telecoms market is supposed to be carried out by 1 January next year, with a few exceptions.
As markets are opened up, the traditional operators are losing unskilled, administrative, network management and maintenance staff, the study found. This is offset by an increase in customer management, sales and marketing staff.
In almost all cases since 1993, redundancies in telecoms have been voluntary.