Institutional Constraints in the Initial Deployment of Cellular Telephone Service on Three Continents

Institutional Constraints in the Initial Deployment of Cellular Telephone Service on Three Continents

Joel West (University of California, Irvine, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-70-4.ch013
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The influence of institutional pressures on standards and standardization are readily apparent in their most direct form. For example, in the mid-1990s, both the European Union and the United States issued new wireless communications licenses in the 1.8-2.0 GHz band: the EU countries mandated use of their decade-old communications standard, while the U.S. authorized three competing standards not yet widely used in the U.S. (Mehrotra, 1994). However, institutional pressures can also shape standardization efforts in a less direct fashion. For example, in a regulated industry such as telecommunications, existing economic and political institutions constrain the diffusion of a new technology. Such diffusion mediates the impact of product compatibility standards upon society. If producers adopt standards for their goods and services, and if users adopt the products that incorporate such standards, only then such standards can have an economic or social effect upon society at large. Therefore, it is important to understand the impact of institutional pressures on diffusion of the innovation that incorporates a standard if we wish to explain the eventual success or failure of such a standard. Here a particular standards-based innovation, analog cellular telephone service, provides an opportunity to contrast the effects of institutions on diffusion and thus standardization. Over a four year period, three independent design centers deployed mutually incompatible standards in three continents. While the technical solutions were similar, differences in institutional context between the regions influenced both the nature of the respective standards and their corresponding diffusion. In particular, the systems were deployed in a period of shifting telecommunications competition policies and priorities for radio frequency allocation. Prior research has examined the causal links between standards and institutions, both the institutional context of standards development (e.g., Besen, 1990) and also how established standards themselves function as institutions (Kindleberger, 1983). But rarely do we have the opportunity to examine the diffusion of the same innovation in differing institutional contexts. This paper will focus on the most complex institutional context for the deployment of cellular telephone service, the United States, which despite having invented cellular technology, was the third region to deploy cellular service due to regulatory delays. The experience of Japan and Northern Europe are offered as contrasts to highlight the importance of the institutional context in the adoption of both standards and standardized products.

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Table of Contents
Chapter 1
Yesha Y. Sivan
The diverse uses of “standards” define the goal of this work, namely, to develop a general framework of standards and to reflect on the process and... Sample PDF
Knowledge Age Standards: A Brief Introduction to their Dimensions
Chapter 2
Consensus Versus Speed  (pages 19-34)
Roy Rada
One standards organization takes years to reach consensus, while another standards organization takes months (Rada, 1995a). Changes are occurring in... Sample PDF
Consensus Versus Speed
Chapter 3
Petri Mahonen
Information Technology is one of the most rapidly developing areas in the technological world. In fact, the classical information technology that... Sample PDF
The Standardization Process in IT - Too Slow or Too Fast?
Chapter 4
T. M. Egyedi
The effect of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) on our daily life needs no explanation. That standardization reduces diversity... Sample PDF
Institutional Dilemma in ICT Standardization: Coordinating the Diffusion of Technology
Chapter 5
Martin B.H. Weiss, Michael B. Spring
This chapter explores several issues related to intellectual property in the standardization process. Different intellectual property issues... Sample PDF
Selected Intellectual Property Issues in Standardization
Chapter 6
Eric J. Iversen
In today’s environment of rapidly evolving information and communication technologies (ICTs), technical standardization is said to be confronted by... Sample PDF
Standardization and Intellectual Property Rights: Conflicts Between Innovation and Diffusion in New Telecommunications Systems
Chapter 7
Robert Moreton
The purpose of this chapter is to define the context of standards within an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) strategy and to suggest... Sample PDF
Standards, Strategy and Evaluation
Chapter 8
Wilhelm Hasselbring
For integrating heterogeneous information systems, semantic interoperability is necessary to ensure that exchange of information makes sense — that... Sample PDF
The Role of Standards for Interoperating Information Systems
Chapter 9
Klaus Turowski
The field of business applications encompassing software for production planning or order management is dominated by some big vendors offering large... Sample PDF
Establishing Standards for Business Components
Chapter 10
Jaroslav Blaha
NATO as an international organization consists of representatives from 19 nations and has to satisfy the political, operational and technical... Sample PDF
A Standards-Based Common Operational Environment
Chapter 11
Falk v. Westarp, Tim Weitzel, Peter Buxmann, Wolfgamg Konig
Every interaction and all coordination in economic processes is based upon communication. The exchange of information necessarily requires both the... Sample PDF
The Standardization Problem in Networks - A General Framework
Chapter 12
Simon L. Lelieveldt
The business of payments and the provision of payment instruments have a rich history, which can be drawn upon in a discussion of standardization.... Sample PDF
Standardizing Retail Payment Instruments
Chapter 13
Joel West
The influence of institutional pressures on standards and standardization are readily apparent in their most direct form. For example, in the... Sample PDF
Institutional Constraints in the Initial Deployment of Cellular Telephone Service on Three Continents
Chapter 14
Vladis Fomin, Kalle Lyytinen
This article analyses social networks by looking at the standard making processes. As a framework for analysis, actor network theory is chosen.... Sample PDF
How to Distribute a Cake before Cutting It into Pieces: Alice in Wonderland or Radio Engineers' Gang in the Nordic Countries?
Chapter 15
Michael Sherwood-Smith
There is a recognized need to spread computer literacy across every level of society to generate an inclusive global information society, in which... Sample PDF
The European Computer Driving Licence: A Standard of Basic Competence for Personal Computer Users
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