The developments of liberalization of the telecom area so far are presented. The purpose is to establish the present status from which a new regulatory paradigm will develop. Furthermore, the reasons for public interest and regulation are discussed with an emphasis on the changing environment and, therefore, new reasons for and ways of regulating.
The overall trend in telecom policies internationally for the past 20-25 years has been to liberalize the area. This has included introducing competition, privatization - partly or fully - of the former monopoly operators, and a new regulatory set-up, often termed deregulation and now and then re-regulation. The present system is thus based on liberalization, privatization and deregulation and a separation of operation, regulation and policy making. It should be emphasized that there are many variations of this model depending on the national contexts. However, the overall ‘system design’ in the telecom reform process is, to a large extent, the same.
 The term deregulation alludes to the decreasing influence of the state on the sector, while re-regulation is used to illustrate that the amount of rules and regulations actually increases when rules have to be made explicit with liberalization and the externalization of regulation in relation to policy-making and operation.