Restructuring as a Response to a Challenging Environment
Chapter 7: Structural and strategic adjustment among European mobile operators
One issue that must be immediately addressed is the manner in which Europe is being treated for the purposes of this chapter. In Curwen and Whalley (2008), 51 countries are listed under the heading of Europe. However, the number to be considered in this chapter has been raised to 60. Kosovo has been included even though it has not been universally recognised as an independent country, whereas the inclusion of Russia reflects the emergence of the national operators at the expense of the regional networks. The other seven – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – could in principle be listed under the Middle East (which is not discussed independently in this book) and/or the Asia-Pacific region. However, their inclusion in this chapter makes it easier to understand how certain operators such as Telenor and TeliaSonera view their operational footprints. It has been clear for some time that Europe as a region has been steadily encroaching on territory to the east of its original Western European boundaries. The first major sea change occurred in May 2004 when ten countries joined the European Union, effectively bringing the former Eastern Europe into the fold, and the EU has now expanded to encompass 28 countries, with the addition of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007 and Croatia in July 2013. The underlying presumption is that this number will continue to grow, although recent events in Turkey and Ukraine are indicative of the major issues associated with prospective member states.
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