In Malaysia telecom reform started in 1985 with the official proposal for the corporatization of the national common carrier, Jabatan Telekom Malaysia. 27 In 1987 the company was restructured into a private company--Syarikat Telekom Malaysia (STM)--with the state still holding 100 percent of the company's shares. Two years later the government sold almost 20 percent of STM shares in the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. The governments of Chile, Jamaica, and Venezuela are also among those nations that succeeded in their privatization efforts. Chile and Jamaica sold their state-owned carriers between 1987 and 1990, and Venezuela followed with the sale of Compañía Anónima Nacional de Teléfonos de Venezuela (CANTV) in December 1991.
Similar cross-country variations can be seen in the outcome of liberalization attempts. The governments of Mexico and Malaysia, for example, were able to achieve a considerable degree of competition in their domestic telecom markets. Most services are either open to competition or the government retains the right to open them when it considers appropriate to do so. Others, such as Thailand, despite failing to privatize their SOTEs, have been able to introduce competition into various segments of the telecom market. On the other hand, Argentina, despite its successful privatization, was unable to liberalize its telecom market. The privatization of the national carrier was accompanied by the official concession of monopoly over most telecom services for a period of up to ten years. Similarly, the Jamaican government has been able to privatize its SOTE, but it has granted private investors a closed market for twenty-five years.
In sum, while most countries started their reform journey with a stateowned telecom firm operating in a closed market, and most intended to move to private ownership and competition, not all were able to achieve their initial goals. The question that drives this study and for which the next chapter attempts to provide a theoretical framework is, Why countries with shared telecom reform goals and similar patterns of development achieve different outcomes in their restructuring attempts?