شرکت های شاخص، تثبیت و تغییر ساختار بازار در بازار ارتباطات تلفن همراه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|19685||2004||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Telecommunications Policy, Volume 28, Issue 2, March 2004, Pages 161–175
The structure and character of the European Union (EU) mobile telecommunications market are changing. Consolidation, scale economies and the far-reaching repercussions of 3G have given rise to a series of ‘flagship firms’ that have sought to co-ordinate the 2G and 3G licences held. In this paper, the co-ordination strategies of two flagship firms, Vodafone and Hutchison Whampoa, are examined. The paper concludes that competitive enhancing co-ordination strategies can be identified in six different areas, though these have not been uniformly adopted by the two flagship firms examined.
Over the course of the last 2 years or so a relentless tide of headlines has testified to how much the mobile telecommunications market has changed. The early euphoria of 3G licensing has given way to pessimism and anxiety. The seemingly unstoppable rise of share prices has been reversed to such an extent that companies are worth just a fraction of their former value, and serious doubts have been expressed by a range of commentators as to whether 3G will ever be deployed. The underlying premise of this paper is that as sentiment has moved against the mobile telecommunications industry, and especially against those with a significant exposure to 3G, those companies with multiple 3G licences will seek to enhance their competitiveness through a variety of co-ordination strategies. Such strategies facilitate a reduction in the cost of network development, shorten the time to launch and generate revenue through encouraging roaming and the uptake of new services. With this in mind, this paper is structured as follows. The first main section describes the mobile telecommunications landscape, focusing primarily on the aftermath of the 3G licensing process. This is then followed by a description of the ‘flagship firms’ model, which is used to identify areas of co-ordination by Vodafone and Hutchison Whampoa. The final section of the paper discusses the co-ordination strategies identified.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
As we have shown above, 3G licensing represents an epoch in the development of the mobile communications industry in the EU. The bullishness and enthusiasm that characterised the UK and German auctions have been replaced by pessimism, doubt and debt. Mobile operators have adopted structural and organisational strategies as they seek to adjust to the new environment in which they find themselves. As they have done so, co-ordination issues have come to the fore. The rubric of the flagship firm model allows areas where companies have sought to implement co-ordination strategies to enhance their competitiveness to be identified. It is clear that there are similarities as well as differences between the co-ordination strategies of Vodafone, Hutchison 3G UK and Hi3G Access. The use of the model draws attention to several issues that appear to be central to the competitiveness of the company. These are: • The establishment of contracts with suppliers on different organisational levels, that is, at the levels of the parent company, of the national operating company and of its subsidiary. • The de facto role of some national operating companies as a ‘test bed’ of products, services, software and so forth before their introduction elsewhere. • The multi-faceted role of global contracts. Global contracts have contributed to enhancing the competitiveness of the flagship firm through equipment standardisation, reducing costs and quickening the pace of market entry. • The asymmetrical nature of the relationship that exists between the flagship firm, its subsidiaries, and their suppliers. • The use of exclusive contracts by the flagship firm in its dealings with its suppliers. • The re-branding of national subsidiaries by the flagship firm to create a common pan-EU brand. Whilst all of the above have been employed to enhance competitiveness, it is not the case that they are of equal importance or have been equally resorted to by Vodafone, Hutchison 3G UK and Hi3G Access. As a consequence, the competitive enhancing co-ordination strategies adopted by the three companies are different. Vodafone has concentrated on re-branding its various national subsidiaries and expanding its geographical reach across the EU. Through re-branding Vodafone has attempted to create a single European network, recognisable wherever its subscribers are. Notwithstanding the emphasis placed on Vizzavi, until recently services have played a less prominent role in this integration. This has, however, begun to change with the launch of services that demonstrate the benefits that subscribers can derive from using the Vodafone network when abroad as well as the launch of Vodafone live! and Vodafone Mobile Office. In contrast, the co-ordination strategies adopted by Hutchison Whampoa have sought to reduce the time to market, as well as to minimise the cost of participating in the market. Global contracts play a role in both of these strategies, whilst a key feature of the UK contracts has been speed to market. Significantly, this has implications for both the UK and the other markets where Hutchison Whampoa is present. Speed to market is important in the UK because Hutchison 3G UK has publicly stated its intention to be the first to launch its services in the market. If the UK launch is successful, it will provide a template that can be copied elsewhere. In doing so, the time to market in these markets could be reduced. Furthermore, learning from the UK experience will also reduce costs. At present the co-ordination strategy of Hutchison Whampoa has not stretched to co-ordinating the content and services offered across Europe. Instead the local subsidiaries have been responsible for content and services. Having said this, sports content features prominently in the strategies of both Hutchison 3G UK and Hi3G Access though the content has been tailored to the needs of the local market. Although Vodafone has signed contracts at both the parent company and operating subsidiary level, this trait is clearly more associated with Hutchison Whampoa. Those global contracts that have been signed will not only ensure the standardisation of equipment, but will also contribute to the speedy and cost-effective roll-out of both technology and services across the group. Intimately related to the use of global contracts is the ‘test bed’ nature of Hutchison 3G UK, with the range and nature of contracts signed suggesting that it is the principal ‘test bed’ for Hutchison Whampoa in Europe. A wide range of contracts have been signed, and whilst a few of these are explicitly global in scope the majority could be expanded if they prove to be satisfactory in the UK. Thus, the increase in global contracts is largely dependent on the success of Hutchison 3G UK. Whilst there is strong evidence to suggest that Hutchison 3G UK is playing the ‘test bed’ role within the European investments of Hutchison Whampoa, a degree of caution is necessary. It does not follow that the contracts signed within the UK will be expanded to become global contracts. For whatever reason, it may not be possible to exactly replicate the UK network model in the other European markets of Hutchison Whampoa. The resulting differences may offset any of the speed and cost savings gained from the UK test bed. Of course, the contracts will not be expanded to become global if Hutchison Whampoa decides to award the contracts for its other EU 3G networks to different suppliers. Such a strategy may be intentional or unintentional. Moreover, interpreting the strategic intentions of companies from their press releases is an imprecise art, not least because their announcements may not match their subsequent actions. A statement of intent in the form of a press release does not necessarily mean that it will happen in practice. Although the ‘flagship firm’ model has been able to identify a series of areas where co-ordination strategies have been implemented, the mobile telecommunications industry has also highlighted three areas where further research is required. The first of these is that the model implies a static categorisation of suppliers that does not take into account the dynamic present within the mobile telecommunications industry. Those companies designated key suppliers will change as the priorities of the flagship firm change. More particularly, as the 3G network is built out and services are launched, the key suppliers will move from being equipment companies to those providing the content and services necessary for the attraction and then retention of subscribers. This is not to say that equipment suppliers are of no importance once the network has been launched, but rather that the principal source of competitiveness will migrate to being derived from the content and services offered. Of course, the two are closely intertwined: the technology used within the network shapes the services delivered to subscribers, and the services to be delivered affect the choice of network technology. Thus, research is required to understand how this dynamic will affect the business network that surrounds the flagship firm. The second area where further research is required is in understanding the relationship between the flagship firm on the one hand and its subsidiaries on the other hand. The example of Hutchison Whampoa demonstrates that co-ordination occurs not only at the global level but also at the subsidiary level. Whilst co-ordination at the global level is motivated by standardisation and cost-effectiveness, that at the subsidiary (local) level is more concerned with the construction and roll-out of the network and development of services appropriate to its market. Implicit within the model is the assumption that relationships between the two are asymmetrical, with the flagship firm being in a position of unquestioned authority over its subsidiaries. This is, however, misleading. In practice the relationship may not be as asymmetrical as the model suggests. The presence of other shareholders could impair the ability of the flagship firm to act as it sees fit, as the implementation of any strategies will be subject to a negotiation process with all that this entails. In addition, the subsidiary may not adopt the strategies as effectively and wholeheartedly as the flagship firm wants because its understanding of the local markets leads it to conclude that they are inappropriate. Finally, the local subsidiary may not be able for regulatory reasons to comply with the strategies dictated by the flagship firm. One consequence of this may be that co-ordination strategies are adopted piecemeal across the network, whilst another is that the flagship firm may exit those markets where it cannot implement its strategies as it feels the cost of not implementing outweigh the advantages of remaining in the market. The degree to which regulation affects the relationship between the flagship firm and the subsidiary needs to be explored further. Although the co-ordination strategies identified have not been universally implemented by Vodafone and Hutchison Whampoa, common to both of these companies has been their desire to improve their competitive position in the market vis-à-vis their rivals. A third area of further research would therefore seek to ascertain whether the implementation of these strategies by the flagship firms impacts on the nature and level of competition in mobile telecommunications markets. In other words, are the strategies pro- or anti-competitive? The expansion of Vodafone into the smaller European markets through the use of partnership agreements forecloses the possibility of customers in these markets benefiting from its independent entry into the marketplace. Whilst the customers of Vodafone and its partners may benefit from roaming and the availability of new services, do the agreements stifle competition within the smaller mobile telecommunication markets? It is also necessary to ask whether customers will benefit from the implementation of co-ordination strategies. The benefits accruing from the strategies appear to largely favour the flagship firms. Will consumer welfare be enhanced through the passing of some or all of the benefits onto subscribers, or will the flagship firms use this opportunity to bolster their earnings and position within the market?