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Demand and innovation in services: The case of mobile communications

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  • Corrocher, Nicoletta
  • Zirulia, Lorenzo

Abstract

This paper aims to analyse the pricing strategies of mobile communications operators and examine the role of demand characteristics in the development of new tariff plans. In so doing, we depart from a traditional industrial organization approach to price discrimination and interpret new tariff plans as innovations. In the spirit of Schumpeter, we look at competition in this sector as depending upon this form of innovation, and we argue that, given the specific features of the industry, the development of new tariff plans is strongly related to the users' characteristics and behaviour. Our main point is that in a context of uncertainty, demand affects firms' innovative strategies in two ways: first, by providing information on user behaviour and by increasing the capability of market segmentation; and second, by providing the incentives to innovate. This argument is supported by an empirical analysis carried out on the basis of an original dataset which includes all the tariff plans on offer in the history of the Italian market between 1992 and 2005. We find that both a firm's installed customer base and the level of market saturation play a role in shaping firms' innovative pricing strategies, in terms of the number and characteristics of the new tariff plans.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Research Policy.

Volume (Year): 39 (2010)
Issue (Month): 7 (September)
Pages: 945-955

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Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:39:y:2010:i:7:p:945-955

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/respol

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Keywords: Tariff plans Demand characteristics Mobile communications sector;

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  1. Ron Adner & Daniel Levinthal, 2001. "Demand Heterogeneity and Technology Evolution: Implications for Product and Process Innovation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(5), pages 611-628, May.
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  7. Kenneth Arrow, 1962. "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention," NBER Chapters, in: The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, pages 609-626 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  18. Eugenio J. Miravete & Lars-Hendrik Röller, 2004. "Estimating Price-Cost Markups Under Nonlinear Pricing Competition," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 526-535, 04/05.
  19. Gallouj, Faiz & Weinstein, Olivier, 1997. "Innovation in services," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4-5), pages 537-556, December.
  20. Bruce Tether, 2005. "Do Services Innovate (Differently)? Insights from the European Innobarometer Survey," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 153-184.
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Cited by:
  1. Karaçuka, Mehmet & Çatik, A. Nazif & Haucap, Justus, 2012. "Consumer choice and local network effects in mobile telecommunications in Turkey," DICE Discussion Papers 70, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  2. Srinuan, Chalita & Srinuan, Pratompong & Bohlin, Erik, 2012. "Exploring mobile pricing strategies and innovations in the Thai mobile communications market," 19th ITS Biennial Conference, Bangkok 2012: Moving Forward with Future Technologies - Opening a Platform for All 72522, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).

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