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Mobile service innovation: A European failure


  • Weber, Arnd
  • Haas, Michael
  • Scuka, Daniel


The continuing absence of innovation in Europe's mobile services industry is identified and characterised here, with such examples as mobile Internet and mobile music. Innovation failure is a critical factor leading to a lack of high-income jobs, network effects, and price reductions for data services. Most mobile service innovations have been made in Japan in 'clubs of operators' with their suppliers. Apple USA followed the same model of control with its iPhone. Conversely, a lack of this critical type of competition characterises European operators. Revenues per citizen are in some countries similar to those in Japan, but with handsets with less functions. Europe and all other regions face the challenge of competing with Japanese and US innovators. The lessons to be learned are (1) becoming aware of the situation, (2) allocating spectrum that covers a sufficient population size to allow technological competition, and (3) developing a strong customer orientation.

Suggested Citation

  • Weber, Arnd & Haas, Michael & Scuka, Daniel, 2011. "Mobile service innovation: A European failure," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 469-480, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:telpol:v:35:y:2011:i:5:p:469-480

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    Cited by:

    1. Koeder, Marco Josef & Tanaka, Ema & Misawa, Kaori, 2012. "Mobile ecosystems in global transition: Driving factors of becoming a mobile ecosystem enabled. A comparison between the US and Japan," 19th ITS Biennial Conference, Bangkok 2012: Moving Forward with Future Technologies - Opening a Platform for All 72475, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    2. Gao, Xudong & Liu, Jianxin, 2012. "Catching up through the development of technology standard: The case of TD-SCDMA in China," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(7), pages 531-545.
    3. de Kervenoael, Ronan & Palmer, Mark & Hallsworth, Alan, 2013. "From the outside in: Consumer anti-choice and policy implications in the mobile gaming market," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 439-449.
    4. Elsner, Jens & Weber, Arnd, 2014. "Beachfront commons," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 709-714.
    5. Maaß, Frank & Schröder, Christian & Wolter, Hans-Jürgen, 2013. "Kleine und mittlere Unternehmen der Informations- und Kommunikationswirtschaft in Nordrhein-Westfalen," IfM-Materialien 224, Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) Bonn.
    6. Ghezzi, Antonio & Cortimiglia, Marcelo Nogueira & Frank, Alejandro Germán, 2015. "Strategy and business model design in dynamic telecommunications industries: A study on Italian mobile network operators," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 90(PA), pages 346-354.
    7. Zhang, Jing & Liang, Xiong-jian, 2012. "Promoting green ICT in China: A framework based on innovation system approaches," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 997-1013.
    8. Feijoo, Claudio & Gómez-Barroso, José-Luis & Aguado, Juan-Miguel & Ramos, Sergio, 2012. "Mobile gaming: Industry challenges and policy implications," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 212-221.
    9. Daniel Nepelski & Marc Bogdanowicz & Federico Biagi & Paul Desruelle & Giuditta De Prato & Garry Gabison & Giuseppe Piroli & Annarosa Pesole & Nikolaus Thumm & Vincent Van Roy, 2017. "7 ways to boost digital innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe. Key messages from the European innovation policies for the digital shift project," JRC Working Papers JRC104899, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    10. Nikou, Shahrokh & Mezei, József, 2013. "Evaluation of mobile services and substantial adoption factors with Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 915-929.
    11. Gao, Xudong & Liu, Jianxin, 2012. "Reprint of: Catching up through the development of technology standard: The case of TD-SCDMA in China," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 817-831.
    12. Nikou, Shahrokh & Bouwman, Harry, 2012. "Mobile service platform competition," 19th ITS Biennial Conference, Bangkok 2012: Moving Forward with Future Technologies - Opening a Platform for All 72515, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).


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