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Racing into the 5G Era: Generational Technological Change and Firm Strategy in Mobile Telecommunications

Published 24 Jan 2020
Reference 6558
Topic Strategy
Region Global
Summary

This case explains the technological changes in mobile communications, with a special focus on the fifth generation (5G). It describes the evolution from the first generation (1G) to the 5G; core technologies, distinct capabilities, key products, and major players in the 5G era. It can be used to illustrate how each generation of technological change offers opportunities for different types of firms and how they respond. It can also be used to discuss the technological, market, and institutional uncertainties associated with emerging technologies, as well as how firms and entrepreneurs can mitigate such uncertainties and exploit emerging opportunities. The case can also be used to debate first-mover vs. late-mover advantages in the 5G era.

Teaching objectives

• For a strategic management course: to understand generational technological change, firm strategy (shape and adapt), corporate strategy (alliances and ecosystem), competitive strategy (resources and capabilities, first-mover advantage and disadvantage). • Technology and innovation management course: to understand the management of technological innovation, of emerging technologies, and the industry’s evolution. • Technology entrepreneurship course: to understand the management of entrepreneurial opportunities created by technological change, and the formation of new industries/sectors spawned by new technologies. • Value innovation and Blue Ocean Strategy course: To understand the six-paths framework of Blue Ocean Strategy (specifically Path no. 6 – look across time), differentiate technological innovation from value innovation, and explore blue ocean opportunities in the wake of technological change

Keywords
  • 5G
  • Mobile Telecommunication
  • Huawei
  • Technological change
  • Digital strategy
  • Smartphone
  • Ecosystem
  • Competitive strategy
  • Value innovation
  • First-mover vs. late-mover advantage
  • Nokia Ericsson
  • Qualcomm
  • Samsung
  • Technology strategy
  • Q12020