Mobile Communications within the European Union: The Role of Location in the Evolution and Forecasting of the Diffusion Process
Frank, Lauri (2003)
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Acta Universitatis LappeenrantaensisURN:ISSN:1456-4491
In the European Union, the importance of mobile communications was realized early on. The process of mobile communications becoming ubiquitous has taken time, as the innovation of mobile communications diffused into the society. The aim of this study is to find out how the evolution and spatial patterns of the diffusion of mobile communications within the European Union could be taken into account in forecasting the diffusion process. There is relatively lot of research of innovation diffusion on the individual (micro) andthe country (macro) level, if compared to the territorial level. Territorial orspatial diffusion refers either to the intra-country or inter-country diffusionof an innovation. In both settings, the dif- fusion of a technological innovation has gained scarce attention. This study adds knowledge of the diffusion between countries, focusing especially on the role of location in this process. The main findings of the study are the following: The penetration rates of the European Union member countries have become more even in the period of observation, from the year 1981 to 2000. The common digital GSM system seems to have hastened this process. As to the role of location in the diffusion process, neighboring countries have had similar diffusion processes. They can be grouped into three, the Nordic countries, the central and southern European countries, and the remote southern European countries. The neighborhood effect is also domi- nating in thegravity model which is used for modeling the adoption timing of the countries. The subsequent diffusion within a country, measured by the logistic model in Finland, is af- fected positively by its economic situation, and it seems to level off at some 92 %. Considering the launch of future mobile communications systemsusing a common standard should implicate an equal development between the countries. The launching time should be carefully selected as the diffusion is probably delayed in economic downturns. The location of a country, measured by distance, can be used in forecasting the adoption and diffusion. Fi- nally, the result of penetration rates becoming more even implies that in a relatively homoge- nous set of countries, such as the European Union member countries, the estimated final pene- tration of a single country can be used for approximating the penetration of the others. The estimated eventual penetration of Finland, some 92 %, should thus also be the eventual level for all the European Union countries and for the European Union as a whole.
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