Strategic Challenges in a Global Market
Chapter 5: Structural and Strategic Adjustment in European Mobile Telecommunications
5.1 INTRODUCTION On 1 May 2004, the European Union (EU) witnessed its single largest expansion when ten countries joined. The accession of these ten countries – Cyprus (South), Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia – not only irrevocably changed the EU but shifted the whole concept of ‘Europe’ further to the East and gave rise to speculation as to how far it could eventually encroach into parts of the world previously considered to be in some obvious senses ‘Asian’. Historically, the term ‘Eurasia’ was sometimes used and still is in some quarters, but it cannot be said to encompass a discrete region for the purposes of this book. At the time, the EU was already committed to welcoming two additional members into the fold, namely Bulgaria and Romania, and this duly took place on 1 January 2007. These countries will not be the last to join the EU – although Kosovo is excluded for now since not all EU countries accept its independent status – since there is still a queue of prospective entrants, but from the point of view of telecommunications there is no longer any useful purpose to be served in diﬀerentiating the EU from Europe as a whole. This chapter accordingly takes the view that Europe is a moveable feast that is moving constantly eastwards and south-eastwards. This makes it diﬃcult to draw a line in the sand – for example, parts of Russia are clearly European while most of the country lies in Asia....