22nd Biennial Conference of the International Telecommunications Society (ITS): "Beyond the Boundaries: Challenges for Business, Policy and Society", Seoul, Korea, 24th-27th June, 2018
The issue of disruptive operators has recently gained interest among researchers and regulators. From a regulator's perspective, disruptive operators can increase competitive rivalry in markets dominated by a handful of large companies, thus allowing consumers to obtain more benefits in terms of price and quality. However, the "disruptive" qualification of an operator in related studies does not rely on a precise definition of disruption. The disruption theory, as developed by Christensen, provides such a definition but may be too restrictive. In addition, it may not be adapted to the analysis of disruption in regulated industries such as telecommunications. In this paper, we aim at deepening our understanding of disruption in the case of the Telecommunications industry, by analysing cases of mobile operators who entered the industry thanks to 3G or 4G licences. To this end we first analyse the disruption theory literature and highlight its characteristics and limitations. It allows us to propose an eclectic analytical framework of disruptive innovations that does not restrict to Christensen's theory. We then apply it to different cases of disruptive mobile operators in order to identify the level and pattern of disruption inherent to each case, and to compare them. We conclude by discussing our findings and further research perspectives.
Disruption innovation telecommunications regulated industries business model strategy policy