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The whole process of fundamental planning for a national telecommunication system is based on estimating and projecting accurately the demand for telephone connections. Traditional methods are inadequate when dealing with supplylimited markets, where there may be a large hidden demand. In such cases the first target may be to upgrade the system until it matches the socioeconomic level already attained by the nation and its regions. An approach to this problem is set forth including a definition of the market and its sectors, classification of areas, sampling, and surveying. Several recent examples of application of these principles to the Chilean system serve as illustrative material, and an application of traditional solutions at the regional level obtained from CCITT GAS-5 international trends is compared to the results obtained by the field approach.