Service and competition 2011 - PTS-ER-2011:11

15/04/2011

The Terms of Reference for the Swedish Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) specify, among other things, the tasks assigned to the Agency within the postal services sector. These assignments include describing how the national regulatory framework in the sector is being complied with and how Posten AB has fulfilled its undertakings within the universal postal service. The Agency shall also describe the market situation and any changes that have taken place over the year.

The new legislation that entered into force on 1 September is without doubt the most important new feature of the postal services sector in 2010. These rules and regulations give the Agency clearer and more far-reaching powers in respect of its supervision under the Postal Services Act, particularly as regards pricing and reporting. The changes are also reflected in the new licence conditions for Posten AB issued by PTS, whereby the Agency has designated Posten to provide the universal service.

For the first time since the letter monopoly was abolished and Posten was corporatized, Posten has lodged an appeal against PTS’s decisions, more specifically three decisions. Among other things an appeal has been made against the decision concerning the obligation to provide the universal postal service. These decisions are currently the subject of proceedings at the Administrative Court.

Posten has also taken the initiative to make several extensive changes to its operation that affect the population in various ways as regards access to certain services, and also the physical accessibility of postal services. Adaptations to the service network may be mentioned in this context as well as changes to the clearance and delivery of mail. The Agency has therefore chosen to study some of these processes further to ensure that certain basic requirements within the universal service are not jeopardised during the process of change.

A total of 2.9 billion mail items were distributed in the Swedish letter market in 2010; representing a modest decrease of 1.4%. The significant fall in volume that occurred during the financial crisis has thus ceased in Sweden, while some neighbouring countries are continuing to see a dramatic fall. Competition in Sweden has resulted in a more efficient postal operation and lower prices, and consequently the use of letters is in Sweden more competitive compared to electronic alternatives than is the case in Denmark for example. Owing to this, postal operators have also been able to act aggressively in the advertising market in competition with other media, such as television, newspapers and unaddressed mailings.