Business model innovation for delivering mobile services in emerging markets: the mobile telecommunications industries in Ghana and Nigeria

Omoju, Joshua Oluwadunsin (2021) Business model innovation for delivering mobile services in emerging markets: the mobile telecommunications industries in Ghana and Nigeria. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This PhD examines the forms and drivers of business model innovation (BMI) in the mobile telecoms industry in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Additionally, it explores the nature of inter-organizational relationships (IOR) in this industry. Within the context of emerging markets, the research investigates the innovative business models for delivering mobile services in Ghana and Nigeria, two of SSA’s fastest growing economies.

The study draws on the value chain perspective within the field of innovation and strategic management to understand the business model, its relevant activities, and the inter-organizational interactions that shape BMI in an industry. The research evaluates the telecom value chain in Ghana and Nigeria based on a multiple case study methodology comprising three groups of firms: Tower Companies, Mobile Network Operators, and Content Providers. Thematic template analysis and descriptive statistics are used to analyse 64 interviews and 103 questionnaires from industry and policy respondents.

The findings indicate that actors in the Ghanaian and Nigerian telecom industries mostly engage in incremental BM changes, through stretching existing capabilities to deliver new product features for current or adjacent markets. The most significant changes occur as firms build on existing competencies and partnerships to alter their offerings, diversify revenue sources and restructure cost structures. The findings further show that compared to TowerCos and MNOs, Content Providers have higher degrees of radical innovations which reflect their need to explore new markets for survival. The analysis suggests that market need and consumer preferences, rather than technological opportunity, are major drivers of innovation by MNOs and Content Providers. In addition, industry-related drivers are prominent in this value chain, as Content Providers rely on MNOs to pursue new technological opportunities while the intensity of innovation by TowerCos is influenced by MNO preferences. These dynamics reveal themselves in inter-organizational relationships within the value chain, where the MNO-Content Provider relationship exhibits one-sided dependencies due to resource inequalities and TowerCo-MNO linkages have higher degree of interdependencies due to resource specificity and switching barriers.

The thesis contributes to our understanding of BMI forms in terms of scope and novelty and analyses the usefulness and practicality of accepted approaches in different contexts. The research also highlights how consumers’ socio-economic realities shape BMI, prompting consumer-oriented innovations that are related to the use of an offering or how it is accessed by users. In addition, the study contextualizes known drivers of BMI to inter-organizational relationships, showing how differential access to resources and context-related factors shape the nature of interactions among actors within this complex industry. By giving insights into the barriers and challenges that less influential actors encounter in the value chain as well as how inter-organizational actors negotiate for favourable outcomes, the study contributes to the IOR literature. The study further presents implications for management practice and policy.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: calue chain, resource-constrained environments, Sub-Saharan Africa, mobile network operator, inclusive business model
Subjects: N100 Business studies
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2022 08:02
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2022 08:16

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