Discussion Papers

Franz Büllingen, Martin Wörter

Entwicklungsperspektiven, Unternehmensstrategien und Anwendungsfelder im Mobile Commerce
Nr. 208 / November 2000


The mobile communication is an essential part of the European information and communication society. Its dispersion is driven by societal forces (increasing mobility, liberalisation, personal services) and technological drivers (semiconductor and software developments, spectrum efficiency, shorten innovation cycles) as well as economical drivers such as specific demanding factors, low prices and positive net effects.

The development towards UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) makes new services and higher quality of telecommunication available. As a consequence the mobile communications value chain is changing dramatically. New actors (e.g. E-Commerce firms, Internet-Portal-Providers, Multimedia Content Providers) and new services (e.g. M-Commerce, Content, Portal-Services) enlarge the value chain in both ways, functionally and institutionally.

At the same time the value of segments is changing in relation to their contribution to the enterprises revenues. With GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) value addition was mainly generated by voice transmission. The value added creating segments are switching to M-Commerce, content and portals (Internet), as the technology improves towards UMTS. Experts assume that in the long run the prices continously will slow down, while the revenues accrued by M-Commerce increase.

None of the actors is able to run a mobile portal, to offer M-Commerce applications or provide mobile content based on its own resources. They are in lack of resources. As a consequence strategic alliances between different actors were built in order to position the firm in these segments, even years before UMTS will be established. The strategic alliances are accompanied by new business strategies as well.

The mobile network operators are in the center of the mobile value chain. Their positioning is characterized by the UMTS-Licence as well as by specific resources. The licence protects the network operators from invaders. The specific resources (e.g. experiences in network operation, customer base) offer great opportunities to penetrate other value chain segments, like portals or M-Commerce via strategic alliances. The mobile operators are pressed to enlarge their core area in order to compensate the projected devaluation of transmission services. Different strategies are available for the repositioning in the mobile value chain: the strategy of differentiation, cost leadership or focus. Most likely, the strategy of differentiation will be the most successful one.

With UMTS a number of Services are available in the following areas: mobile information- and communication services, entertainment services, E-Commerce services, M-Banking, online-Brokerage, E-Payment, telemetry and remote surveillance services. In order to generate demand and exhaust the market effectually applications should be implemented in time.

Only German language version available.

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