Restructuring as a Response to a Challenging Environment
Chapter 1: Restructuring among mobile service providers: a ten-year perspective
This book is concerned primarily with the restructuring among international mobile service providers that has taken place during the ten-year period beginning on 1 January 2004. However, a given structure does not appear fully fledged at a particular point in time, so some attention needs to be paid to how the structure existing in early 2004 came into being. Equally, one of the objects of the book is to look forward to how the structure might evolve in the future. The structure of this industry is of interest for three reasons in particular. In the first place, mobile communication plays an ever-increasing role in modern society and hence the issue of which companies are providing it and the links between them has a geo-political impact. Second, the industry is of huge economic importance as a driver of economic growth. Finally, throughout the entire history of the industrialised world – more than three centuries – no industry has ever evolved so quickly. Obviously service providers are only part of the story, since this rapid change has encompassed a variety of companies making up the wider technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) sector, which includes anything from software providers to equipment vendors. However, one advantage of concentrating on the service providers is that the sector is relatively homogeneous. Some providers have fixed-wire networks and a small number are conglomerates, but in almost every case their main – and fastest-growing – line of business is currently mobile communication.