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The Digital Challenge for Multinational Mobile Network Operators. More marginalization or rejuvenation?

Gooderham, P. N., Elter, F., Pedersen, T. & Sandvik, A. M. (2022). The Digital Challenge for Multinational Mobile Network Operators. More marginalization or rejuvenation?. Journal of International Management, 28(4), article number 100946. doi: 10.1016/j.intman.2022.100946


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.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: Multinational mobile network operators, Recombinant firm-specific advantages, 5G network, B2B digital services, Internet of Things
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
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