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World Telecommunications Markets

The International Handbook of Telecommunications Economics, Volume III

Edited by Gary Madden

This major reference work provides a thorough and up-to-date survey and analysis of recent developments in the economics of telecommunications. The Handbook serves both as a source of reference and technical supplement for the field of telecommunications economics.
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Chapter 6: BT corporate experience and visions, 1990-2000

Niall Levine, Douglas Pitt and David Lal


6. BT corporate experience and visions, 1990–2000 Niall Levine, Douglas Pitt and David Lal INTRODUCTION Against a backdrop of global, European and UK telecommunications market liberalization this chapter analyses the changes British Telecommunications PLC (later British Telecom, BT) faced during the 1990s. The causes and effects of such changes are relevant to several disciplines including strategic planning, organizational behaviour, telecommunications management, economics and regulatory policy. It is contended that BT has undergone continuous change throughout its corporate history but currently faces its most daunting challenges. Early in the twenty-first century BT’s experience during the 1990s suggests it is facing a situation of permanent revolution as it continually attempts to redefine its strategy and respective organizational practices to meet emerging market opportunities and the environmental challenges posed by increasing competition and regulation. BT IN THE 1990S: BACKGROUND AND STRATEGY BT exists in a complex communications environment susceptible to discontinuous change. The evolving nature of BT’s strategy during the 1990s can be gauged by evaluating its strategic behaviour. It is interesting to question the extent to which BT has successfully responded to changes in its competitive and organizational environment. In particular, has BT been proactive and innovative in setting the pace of change in this increasingly dynamic sector or merely reacted to unfolding events? In a rapidly liberalizing industry, BT’s strategic thrust has been one of internationalization by taking equity stakes – for example the failed take-over of MCI – and forming strategic alliances – for example Concert, with AT&T....

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