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Recent mobile telecommunications alliance formation

Curwen, Peter and Whalley, Jason (2005) Recent mobile telecommunications alliance formation. Communications and Strategies, 57 (1). pp. 169-177. ISSN 1157-8637

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Abstract

During the year to end-January 2005, the resurgence of takeover activity in the mobile telecommunications industry 1 has attracted media attention. However, by focusing on takeovers, the willingness of companies in the sector to collaborate through alliance and joint venture formation is in danger of being overlooked. These alliances, none of which are more than two years old, can be variously interpreted. They could signify a return to expansionary behaviour by operators motivated by the desire to capture lucrative roaming traffic or retain key customers. Alternatively the alliances may be motivated by the desire to compete more effectively with Vodafone, which is arguably the only mobile operator with a global footprint. This paper is structured as follows. In the initial section, the six alliances that have been formed are described. Particular attention is paid to the membership and resulting scale of these alliances, as well as to the motives for their formation. The first sub-section focuses on those alliances that are largely scale orientated in motivation, while the second concentrates on those that are more technologically orientated. These alliances are then discussed in detail and conclusions are drawn.