The digital challenge for multinational mobile network operators. More marginalization or rejuvenation?

Gooderham, Paul ORCID logoORCID:, Elter, Frank, Pedersen, Torben and Sandvik, Alexander Madsen (2022) The digital challenge for multinational mobile network operators. More marginalization or rejuvenation? Journal of International Management, 28 (4) , 100946. pp. 1-14. ISSN 1075-4253 [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.intman.2022.100946)

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Multinational mobile network operators (MNOs) rapidly emerged in the early 1990s and for a decade and a half were the dominant actors in their industry. We analyze the development and competitiveness of a typical MNO, Telenor. With the introduction of 4G in 2010, we show that Telenor, like other MNOs largely failed to respond to the opportunity that connectivity provided to develop digital services. Instead, these were developed by technology platform companies such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Telenor became a marginalized supplier of standardized internet connectivity. We argue that the ‘decade of lost opportunity’ (2010-2020) for Telenor was a product of a lack of ‘recombinant firm-specific advantages’ (FSARs). With the launch of 5G, an emerging global digital infrastructure, this sidelining is set to intensify unless Telenor responds to this new opportunity by developing B2B digital services. We analyze the FSARs that are necessary for a successful transition of capturing the value that 5G provides and the degree to which they are present, or potentially present, in Telenor.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School > International Management and Innovation
Item ID: 34869
Notes on copyright: Published version: © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
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Depositing User: Paul Gooderham
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2022 14:44
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2022 17:43

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