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Entry and Innovation in Maturing Markets: Virtual Operators in Mobile Telecommunications

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In the last few years the mobile telecommunications industry has witnessed the entry of a large number of new service providers. Traditionally, mobile users get their mobile services from the service providers owned by vertically integrated mobile network operators (MNOs). The new entrants do not own a network of their own however, because they use the existing mobile infrastructure, i.e. they are 'mobile virtual network operators' (MVNOs). By granting these virtual operators access to their networks, MNOs actually facilitate the entry of potential competitors for their own downstream service providers. These new entrants might attract additional users by offering competitive services and create extra value with their well-known brand names and other complementary assets. This study focuses on the mobile market of the Netherlands, where competition is intense and MVNOs proliferate. The aim of this research is to improve our understanding of the entry of virtual operators in general, and specifically by explaining why and how virtual operators enter the mobile market and the impact they have on competition in the mobile market.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: RSM Erasmus University, 2: Wageningen University & Research, 3: University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, and SEO Economic Research, The Netherlands

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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