The International Handbook of Telecommunications Economics, Volume III
Edited by Gary Madden
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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