Analysis of the Russian telecommunication industry - the case of MTS
Speculate on the distinctive features of the telecom industry and define their effect on the company strategy.
To start with, the telecommunication industry for a long time seen as a provider of public goods, next to post service and railway, also involves heavy investments at a steady but relatively small cashflow income. Hence, it was seen that economics of scale are need to lead such a business successfully. Historically this industry was highly regulated in form of monopolistic companies owned by the government. According to Fransmann (2011) in the days of the Old Telecoms Industry the conventional wisdom was that telecoms was an example of ‘natural monopoly’, that is due to increasing returns to scale telecoms services could only be provided efficiently by a monopoly provider. Accordingly, in most industrialized countries was dominated by a monopoly network operator. The situation could be described as closed innovation system, very high entry barriers (in fact impossible to enter), very few innovators, fragmented knowledge base, medium-powered incentives, Slow, sequential, innovation process. Because of missing competition the price-quality relationship of telecom services in most countries was a disaster and companies still didn’t manage to operate profitably. This was the case in almost all countries before the 1980 and 90’s when liberalization made it possible for private “high-tech” players to enter the market when in the mid-1980s, for different political-economic reasons, Japan, the UK and US decided to end the monopolies of their monopoly network operators. The result was the birth of the original new entrants.
The new era
From the late-1990s, it was clear that a qualitative change had occurred in the Telecoms Industry in the early-1990s, signifying the birth of the New Telecoms Industry. The most evident sign of qualitative change was the rise of the new new entrants who quickly eclipsed the original new entrants and became the biggest threat to state enterprises. For the new entrants fast growth was needed in order to have economics of scale and cost-efficiency to pay back loans for investments and satisfy shareholders (Fransmann, 2011). With such low technological barriers to entry, the result has been a highly competitive market for network services. However, the contribution of specialist technology suppliers was not confined to the supply of technology. A significant bottleneck is the factor of human resources provided through the operations of the labor market to both the original new entrants and new ones. Moreover, financial markets have a big influence as they, firstly, facilitate the entry and initial growth of new entrants, in particular the new entrants and, secondly, facilitate the ‘re-shuffling of the capital stock’ that has taken place as both network operators and specialist technology suppliers with highly valued shares have used their valuable ‘paper’ (shares) to acquire the complementary knowledge and tangible assets of other companies. By so doing, financial markets have facilitated the process of consolidation in the Telecoms Industry The telecommunications industry nowadays provides a number of services such as data, voice services, graphics, television, and video at increasing speeds and through diverse channels. While landline telephonic communication is still the core service mode, wireless communication, internet, cable and satellite program distribution are increasing their share in overall industry earnings. The industry is experiencing rapid deregulation and technology disruption in service offerings. In many markets across the globe, governments are revoking monopolistic policies, and older players face a new breed of competitors. According to Gupter (2008) The...