Threading the needle of the digital divide in Africa: The barriers and mitigations of infrastructure sharing

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Abstract

Coopetition is prevalent in today's dynamic business environment and has attracted research interests. Using coopetitive-based view, this study examines the antecedents and drivers of infrastructure sharing (IS) among local and multinational mobile network operators (MNOs) in Africa. Based on 21 interviews with different stakeholders in seven sub-Sahara African (SSA) countries, we develop an integrative framework of industry/market, technological, and institutional factors that affect IS between MNOs. We find evidence of institutional factors shaping the impact of the industry structure and technological factors on firms’ propensity to engage in coopetitive strategies. There is evidence that in contexts with low-level IS, inadequate regulatory interventions mean that the existing market conditions are reproduced, leading to further competitive behaviours from MNOs. For high- level IS, MNOs tend to engage in further coopetitive strategies through strategic learning and cooperate to resolve technological incompatibilities and engage in standards settings. We extend the existing scholarly works on coopetition and IS literature by providing an in-depth understanding of the obstacles faced by MNOs in adopting IS. The study further highlights that IS requires a shift from the competitive-based logic to a dynamic, coopetitive one, which is nonetheless challenging to achieve with limited institutional capacity and support.
Original languageEnglish
Article number120263
Number of pages13
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Volume161
Early online date24 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

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