Strategic Challenges in a Global Market
7. Domestic structural and strategic adjustment in the USA 7.1 INTRODUCTION In the previous four chapters the focus has been on structural and strategic change at a regional level. In contrast the focus here is on a single country, albeit one that is large and structurally signiﬁcant, namely, the United States. The internationalisation of US operators is characterised by steady expansion followed by rapid contraction, which inevitably raises the question as to why this is the case. In essence, there are two main answers to this question: restructuring of the domestic US market and the associated changes to the regulatory framework. Central to the latter has been a programme of licensing that has encouraged the creation of national operators on the one hand and consolidation on the other. As it is not possible to understand the internationalisation strategies of US operators without understanding their domestic context, this chapter will focus on structural and strategic adjustment within the United States while the following chapter will concentrate on the internationalisation of the Baby Bells. 7.2 NATIONAL LICENSING Truly national networks have not been the historic norm in the USA. Initially, the customary practice was for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to issue two cellular licences in each designated area, one to the incumbent Baby Bell – often referred to as a regional Bell operating company (RBOC) – and one to a competitor via a tender.1 In such a world, licence ownership was necessarily fragmented and roaming arrangements rather complicated. Indeed, it took approximately...
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