The telephone in Spain: regulation without an independent regulator, 1882-1975


  • Ángel Calvo Calvo Universitat de Barcelona



Telefonica, regulation, telephone monopoly


This article explores the contents and mechanisms of the Spanish regulatory system from a comparative and long-term perspective. It gives historical context to burning topical issues in the field of network industries – generators of externalities – and aligns with the school of
thought that explains regulatory systems as the sum of organizational, political and economic factors. Specifically, it analyses how market forces and regulation have affected the Spanish telecommunications service in changing technological and political environments, in order to explore
the combined effects of monopoly regulation, economic policy and business strategies over the long period of so-called public administration. In terms of structure, the paper goes back to the origins of regulation in the sector in Spain, before focusing on the formation of the monopoly and the peculiarities of regulation by contract, a process far removed from the
general European PTT model. The conclusions provide a summary of the results of this regulation, with an emphasis on its contradictory aspects.