India: a Case of Fragile Wireless Service and Technology Adoption?
AbstractWireless penetration and the Indian economy have grown significantly over the past few years, but how robust and sustainable is the adoption of wireless services and products? Several papers have discussed India as a wireless service and product market, and sometimes tried to assess quantitative attributes thereof. The present paper aims instead at looking, from a management point of view, at the unique underlying evolution processes, bottlenecks and risks. On specific facets, a comparison is given to adoption indicators in other key markets such as China.For example, just to illustrate highlights of these unique attributes , it is indeed surprising that such a major economy with its very large population has not yet achieved the wireless service usage and mobile terminal penetration ratios of neither an early European adopter ,nor of a recent large scale adopter like China or Russia . India has also been characterised by a surprising regulatory development process quite different from many other contexts, both in terms of its both centralised and regional structure, of very low tariffs providing almost no ROI to investors in a stable situation, and of absence of neutrality across communications technologies. At the same time, a very large fraction of the population has not , for affordability and regional coverage reasons, been able to get the access opportunities of more developed regions , leading to a distribution unbalance which is also a significant opportunity .Also , the wireless service and product adoption pattern in India , specific to communicating services , has so far been in rather sharp contrast with the widely known software and outsourcing services industry evolutions in that country .Therefore it is important to compare the most relevant known wireless service and product adoption theories, to establish from facts whether they apply in the Indian context, and, if not, suggest new or mixed theories able to explain all such facts and cast some light into its likely future structural evolution. It is of high relevance in management to validate if indeed established models apply or not in a significant case like India, just as it is also of high relevance for the main stakeholders to identify methodology able to support their analyses.The paper first provides background information on wireless, fixed, and other operators, on wireless penetration, on telecommunications infrastructure and investments, and on Indian human capital. Thereafter is analyzed in detail the relevance, or not, of five traditional technology adoption models across the Indian user base: the absorption business model, the perceived benefits business model, consumer attitudes, the globalisation business model, and finally the brand management business model. These first analyses are followed by the identification and detailed analysis of five other business models or structural processes, some rather unique to India: the two-tier migration model, large scale imported adoption without a telecommunications infrastructure & terminals industry, unstable adoption with lack of consistent public policies, knowledge sharing and productivity enhancement adoption model, and finally late foreign capital investments into a large emerging market.From the comparison of facts and background data , with these ten wireless service and product adoption models , the paper establishes which are not relevant, and which are too some degree . Furthermore the relevant business models are shown to share, further attributes of sustainability (or not) and dynamic behaviour. This allows concluding that India has had an overall quite fragile adoption and deployment path with growing tensions such as coverage, quality of service and affordability disparities. The model comparison also allows to diagnose the key three structural measures needed to reach a sustainable equilibrium from the business, economic and social points of view.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam. in its series Research Paper with number ERS-2007-011-LIS.
Date of creation: 17 Feb 2007
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India; Mobile communications; Adoption; Business models; Economic development; Infrastructure; Manufacturing; Mobile terminals; Wireless;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-03-17 (All new papers)
- NEP-CSE-2007-03-17 (Economics of Strategic Management)
- NEP-CWA-2007-03-17 (Central & Western Asia)
- NEP-INO-2007-03-17 (Innovation)
- NEP-NET-2007-03-17 (Network Economics)
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