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Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693

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Technological Forecasting & Social Change

Unlocking the promise of mobile value-added services by applying new
collaborative business models
Peng-Ting Chen a,⁎, Joe Z. Cheng b
a
b

Department of Business Administration, I-Shou University, No.1, Sec. 1, Syuecheng Rd., Dashu Township, Kaohsiung County 840 Taiwan
Executive Director, Telcordia, Bldg 53, 195-47 Sec. 47, ChungHsing Rd. Chutung, Hsinchu County 310 Taiwan

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 1 September 2008
Received in revised form 20 November 2009
Accepted 20 November 2009
Keywords:
Mobile service provider
Mobile value-added services
Next-generation network
Analytic network process

a b s t r a c t
Due to the intense voice service competition and subscriber growth saturation, the average
revenue per user (ARPU) of mobile communications service providers continues to decline,
thereby severely affecting their total revenue and profitability. To counter this challenge,
mobile communications service providers are now moving from “tariff competition” to “service
competition.” As mobile communications enter the next-generation network (NGN) era,
network bandwidth and transmission speed are greatly enhanced. The enhancement enables
mobile communications service providers to provide content-rich, multimedia value-added
services to create new service value, meet demands of customers, and increase ARPU. To
understand how to construct mobile value-added services, this study uses survey forms to
collect feedback from 35 industry and research institution experts and scholars and to present
systematically the finding on the mobile value-added services strategy. The research employs
the analytic network process (ANP) to analyze the strategy of mobile service providers in
delivering mobile services in the NGN. The business strategy evaluation framework and
evaluation result can be used as guides for players in the mobile communications industry to
review, improve, and enhance their service and strategy.
© 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
In the 20th century, the use of mobile voice communications grew rapidly and became a major revenue source for mobile
service providers. However, due to subscriber growth saturation and voice tariff competition, the average revenue per user (ARPU)
of mobile service providers has been steadily declining in the past few years. Broadband bandwidth and faster transmission speed
will enable mobile service providers to provide better mobile value-added services, and these are expected to be the next source of
growth for mobile service providers. However, mobile service providers have yet to realize the potential revenue from these valueadded services. This paper attempts to find out why and to address related issues.
As the next-generation network NGN emerges, internet protocol (IP) becomes the basis for communications network. IP-based
network infrastructure not only supports voice, data, video, and multimedia services but also fixed mobile convergence (FMC) to
improve the efficiency of a new service platform. Due to the evolution of FMC, internet applications and services can now be
extended to mobile communications. Mobile value-added services can thus be further enriched and enhanced, and the utilization
and penetration of mobile value-added services promoted.
Mobile communications offer mobility, convenience, personalization, and security features [1–10]; thus, users can access contentrich digital services and applications via mobile communications. According to a consumer behavior study, mobile services can be
categorized into four areas: mobile communications service, mobile entertainment service, mobile transaction service, and mobile

⁎ Corresponding author. Tel.: + 886 7 6577 711x5916; fax: +886 7 6578 931.
E-mail addresses: ptchen@isu.edu.tw (P.-T. Chen), jcheng@telcordia.com (J.Z. Cheng).
0040-1625/$ – see front matter © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2009.11.007

Section 2 reviews the next-generation telecom industry landscape. etc. Creating. AHP is a multi-attribute decision analysis tool useful for evaluating decisions with multiple criteria and alternatives [30]. providing. For example.Z. However. With the proliferation of mobile smart phones and the continuous expansion of the processing. The objective of this research is to provide a different perspective on the matter and analyze different aspects. Thirty-five responses were identified as complete. the ubiquity of mobile location-based service jointly provided by all multiple players can profoundly affect the daily lives of people. Section 3 reviews the issues and concerns in establishing value-added service strategies of Taiwan mobile service providers. Selecting a mobile value-added service strategy creates the need to evaluate multiple hierarchy criteria [23]. Furthermore. Chen. Opinions of experts obtained from the survey. Cheng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693 679 information service [1. it is believed that there is still room for growth for Taiwanese mobile service providers in the area of mobile value-added services [16]. Therefore. value-added service includes mobile communications and information services. the possibility to create new mobile value-added service is unlimited.-T. Section 5 establishes an ANP-based model for evaluating different mobile value-added service strategies. . Review of the next-generation telecom industry The NGN is an IP-based network platform that supports voice. content and service aggregator. we use an ANP-based model to determine the best business strategy that telecom firms may adopt to provide value-added services to subscribers. storage.18]. or the view of end users on mobile value-added services [2. Furthermore. and managing digital content and services in the NGN era have thus become critical issues for mobile service providers in Taiwan. but information can also be shared at the discretion of the users. In recent years. Section 4 introduces four different strategies to promote mobile value-added service and discusses the pros and cons of each strategy. It also intends to rank the various business strategies that mobile service providers could embark on to facilitate working with different players in the mobile service business model. a significant limitation of the AHP is the assumption of independency among the various decision-making criteria [31]. Many scholars employ the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) [24] to analyze strategy selection issues [25–29]. Through IP technology. Thus. The last section gives the conclusion and suggestions. This platform is also viewed as an IP-based integrated network or convergent network. gateway provider. resulting in an 88% return rate. This whole spectrum of supply chain is often called the “value chain” or “collaborative business model. Until the end of 2008. In this study. data. and functional capability of mobile devices. 1) so that both fixed and mobile networks can offer convergent applications for end users. and strategies for mobile value-added service to promote new services in the mobile communications industry successfully. This research aims to establish an evaluation model that can objectively identify mobile value-added services criteria that are critical to the success of promoting mobile value-added services.4. The design of the research framework is established based on the interviews with industry experts and the literature review.9. video. It is foreseeable that mobile value-added service could enable a ubiquitous communication society in the future. Several value-added service strategy implementation issues in Taiwan are also analyzed. The content of the value-added service is multimedia (voice. In this society.5. provided valuable references to the players in the telecom industry with respect to selecting a business strategy for value-added services. objective or subjective. and video) and broadband in nature. There are only a limited number of research papers that discuss either a mobile service concept and service description [1–10]. which dealt with supplying mobile services in the NGN. This ubiquitous communication can profoundly change the future development of economies and the social interaction behavior of people. various vertical network applications can be integrated into one network (Fig.” The term “collaborative business model” is used in this paper to highlight the importance of cooperation among the parties in the collaborative business model to maximize the subscribers' benefits. J. This paper is organized as follows.17. data.19–21]. The tasks become more complex with the increase in the selection of criteria [22]. The response to market needs will have a substantial impact on the daily activities and social lives of people in the future. eliminates these limitations and allows the inclusion of all relevant criteria (tangible or intangible. For instance. the value-added service business model and strategy research and analysis can help mobile service providers effectively address the needs of the mobile value-added service market. Analytic network process (ANP). We chose telecom experts and executives for the interview and data collection to ensure the business creditability and effectiveness of the responses. The main reason for the slow adoption of mobile value-added services in Taiwan is the lack of attractive digital content and innovative service model. interface provider. The selection of aspects in the ANP evaluation model is discussed as well. we discuss the lessons learned from the iPhone and Amazon experience while analyzing the mobile value-added service strategy.) that have some bearing on arriving at the best decision [32].11–14]. instead of using the common AHP approach.P. not only can people connect to each other using a device at any time and location. 2. on the other hand. and multimedia services. Section 6 examines the practicality and usefulness of the model through an example and its empirical results. the ranking of the criteria is likely to influence resource allocation by manufacturers in future technology development. The main players in the mobile value-added service value chain include mobile service providers. In convergent applications. the telecom industry has stressed the importance of cooperation among industry players to provide a competitive solution to end users. criteria. only 10% [15] of the revenue of mobile service providers in Taiwan came from mobile value-added services compared with about 40% of the mobile value-added services ARPU of the top three Japanese mobile service providers. and content creator [14. The identification of key value-added service implementation criteria will affect future mobile technology development priority. users can access any network using any device at any time to receive the same seamless integrated services using the same number and to be billed in the same invoice [16].

Due to the IP-based infrastructure. Chunghwa Telecom [CHT]. usagebased service tariff.18. and pricing power [17. and lack of attractive content [33]. Architecture of next-generation telecom networks [31]. 3.34].680 P. customer acceptance of the “WAP” services was fairly low because of the low data transport speed. Due to the characteristics of the NGN.1. bandwidth and transport speed are expected to be greatly enhanced. IP-based integrated network can offer flexibility and reduce time-to-market service so that service providers may supply more quickly new value-added services to end customers. Taiwan Mobile [TWM]. 3.. Overview of the experience of mobile service providers in promoting value-added services In 2000.17. and content creator [14. mobile service providers perceive that they “own” their subscribers and can continue to provide them with all new value-added services based on the existing business model. Chen. In this mobile service collaborative business model. telecom service providers can reduce marketing cost and create a synergistic marketing effect on its service promotion. providing multimedia services to end customers. gateway provider. telecom service providers can provide bundled convergent service packages to end customers. It is anticipated that the NGN platform can generate new business and service opportunities for telecom service providers. Taiwan mobile service providers (e. detailed customer profile. 2..g. J. The following summarizes the advantages that NGN is expected to bear for telecom service providers: 1. It is recognized that the mobile service provider has the following distinct business and technical advantages in offering mobile services: network infrastructure management capability. the mobile service provider plays a critical role in providing digital content and services. The advantages of the NGN include its transport technologies that help ensure quality of service (QoS) and allow content providers to access various fixed and mobile networks. 4. Through network resource sharing. content and service aggregator. In addition. 1.Z. sales and distribution channels. content providers) to form a value-added service collaborative business model through their respective NGN gateways. interface provider. and Far EastTone) began to offer mobile wireless application protocol (WAP) services based on the global system for mobile communications (GSM) network architecture. mobile service providers face the challenge of evolving their business strategies to adapt to the new business and service environment. the mobile value-added service market is anticipated to be rekindled to its full potential.g. IP-based integrated network will lower operation costs for telecom service providers. existing subscriber base. telecom carriers are now in a better position to work with other players (e. In light of this emerging network convergent trend. By doing so. thus. invoice consolidation know-how.18].-T. mobile service providers are not willing to just become network infrastructure . Mobile service providers have been working directly with subscribers to provide them with services in the past. with the emergence of NGN. The main players in the mobile value-added service industry include the mobile service providers. Issues and concerns in establishing value-added service strategies for Taiwan mobile service providers 3. Consequently. brand recognition. However. telecom service providers see it as a replacement to the traditional stovepipe application networks with an integrated converged application platform. With the emergence of NGN implementation. Therefore. Cheng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693 Fig. it is critical for mobile service providers to develop an effective value-added service strategy to leverage the above-mentioned advantages to develop their new business and service opportunities in the new NGN environment. with the adjustment of service tariff and improvement of the handset.

These micropayment systems are considered a major reason for the early success of mobile Internet services in Japan [37]. to promote value-added service. the demand for broadband will increase as new applications requiring high-speed connections are developed. On the other hand. 2. Specifically. without rich and innovative content. content providers did not have enough financial strength to create innovative and attractive content for value-added services. Digital content cost and easiness of content access. The ease of content access allows subscribers to access easily the content at their choice of device. the lack of proper marketing and business strategy to promote value-added services in mobile service providers further exacerbated the market condition. 3. QoS guarantees subscribers a specific level of service. it is critical for mobile service providers to evaluate and analyze the key service growth criteria in this market segment. providing cost effective and affordable content to subscribers with easy access to these contents can quickly draw their attention. and location. Cheng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693 681 providers (such as internet service providers). and financial messages . the success of mobile broadband largely depends on the availability of attractive content applications and services. At the same time. 4. ultimately improving quality of life. Through a quantified analysis of each criteria and strategy. games. According to the interviews with the experts. it is difficult to attract users to subscribe to value-added services. the mobile service provider does not offer value-added service content but only provides a network platform for content providers to access and facilitate the delivery of the value-added services. content providers are typically small and do not have mobile networking understanding. they can enhance the overall growth of value-added service market for all players. innovative services also help service providers offer differentiators for their service offering. Furthermore. mobile subscribers were not attracted to the value-added services. applications and services will be stimulated in turn by an increase in broadband availability [36]. Based on the above literature review and interview with experts. Innovative services tend to integrate services seamlessly with daily life. Based on the evaluation results of the key criteria.g. Therefore. The mobile service provider provides an open interface to work with the content provider In this strategy. However. Chen. Three aspects are identified and described in the following: 1. and repacking or distribution of product or services for subscribers. particularly in the area of service innovation [39]. the micropayment systems facilitate revenue sharing with third-party content providers and greater consistent display of content across phones. revenue sharing) with mobile service providers. J. except for content creation. and market growth was limited. 4.. helps create new revenue sources for service providers. this business approach has not generated any sizable growth for the value-added service market. and mobile phones together enable access to information in the mobile context. Security means that subscribers can access their services in a secure manner. time. In the case of mobile service providers working with content providers in offering value-added services. such as news. 3. Therefore. the development of new content. mobile service providers have been trying to play all roles in the mobile value-added service value chain. Network QoS and security. Unlike mobile service providers. Consequently. the evaluation criteria for a service provider to offer value-added service to subscribers are established. Each strategy involves different players and has different pros and cons for participating parties.2. In addition. which only collect a flat fee for network access and present no revenue growth opportunity in the future. in turn. Under this business proposition. This. Literature review and aspects for the selection of mobile value-added services strategies The Internet is evolving into an NGN that supports various QoS applications in addition to best-effort services [35]. direct customer relationship. the service provider will provide content aggregation. In Taiwan.Z. Laptops. in turn. However.-T. The use of these devices varies according to their characteristics. PDAs. value-added service revenue only accounted for 10% of ARPU in the fourth quarter of 2008 because of the lack of attractive content and software integration support [15]. For mobile Internet service. they are at a disadvantageous position when negotiating business arrangements (e. Innovative services. mobile service providers can propose proper collaboration models to work with content providers. Furthermore. and distribution channels. the mobile service provider acts as a matchmaker in the mobile value-added service value chain.P. different value-added service strategies can then be analyzed and identified. Additionally. services must develop operations strategies that build the requisite competencies in order to leverage the new technologies [38]. Based on the experience of the mobile providers discussed in the previous section and the nature of the collaborative business model. In this role. the rapid evolution of the mobile broadband Internet presents a unique opportunity to revisit theories about the diffusion of innovations. and these services cannot be infiltrated by hackers or other unknown parties. properly presenting content in the network infrastructure of mobile service providers and seamlessly interconnecting content information with mobile devices are important in providing value-added services to the end customers. Description of mobile value-added services strategies There are different strategies to establish mobile value-added services in the collaborative business model. Due to this unequal business value proposition. This. Finally.1. four strategic alternatives are identified and briefly described in the following. integration.

g.-T. however. mobile service providers will offer network infrastructure. mobile service providers can spend less effort in educating some of the small content providers in the network interface or addressing technical issues. They can devote more time and resources to developing a market strategy with content aggregators to penetrate into a new value-added service business potentially. marketing. However. its impact on multiple dimensions must be considered [40].Z. Service providers will also provide back-office operation support functions such as billing. The mobile service provider works with the content aggregator In this model. The gateway provider will handle content management and billing issues. The mobile service provider creates content and directly provides digital content to the subscriber In this strategy. unless content providers have other distribution channels. and customer relationship management (e. some criteria may have some interdependencies and cannot be . In addition. business and service management (e. a gateway provider will also work with content providers to aggregate content for various value-added services for the end customers and help content providers resolve any network access and management issues. mobile service providers could run the risk of only collecting a flat fee and being unable to enjoy the growth of a value-added service business. content categorization. Content aggregators will look for innovative and content-rich providers. gateway. the lack of innovation and market-driven content service could jeopardize the success of the value-added business. the content providers will focus on creating value-added services for the end customers and worry less about network delivery and management issues. In this model. operations management. a gateway provider is most likely to work with content providers directly or with content aggregators. depending on how the value-added service revenues would be shared. Table 1 summarizes the pros and cons of each strategy for a mobile service provider. In addition. At the same time.g. fertilizing. the content aggregator will also play the role of supporting. as content creation is generally not the core capability of a mobile service provider. display. Part of the reason for having mobile service providers work with content aggregators and not directly with content providers is to minimize the effort in administering potential high numbers of content providers. while mobile service providers can focus on their own (network infrastructure management). being a total solution provider. 4.2. content provider growth could also be hindered by the lack of capability in the network infrastructure. A gateway provider will provide all the necessary functions to work with a mobile service provider network infrastructure and service delivery. Building the ANP-based model When making a multi-objective decision. 4. Contrary to AHP. To offer value-added service content. Cheng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693 created by the content providers. and related content management functions for service delivery. In this model. a mobile service provider could potentially capture the full benefit of the mobile value-added service business growth. By working with service providers. Chen.. mobile service providers will also create some mobile value-added services content.g. customer relationship management [CRM] and contract management). because the content aggregator is in the content business. mobile service providers will work with a gateway provider to offer mobile value-added services. as some of the content providers can be relatively small and lack experience in interworking with mobile service providers. content management.1. billing. The service provider works with the gateway provider In this model. ANP provides a more generalized model in decision making without making assumptions about the independency of the higher-level elements from lower-level elements and of the elements within a level [31]. as well as aggregate and package various contents and services for the end customers. sales. mobile service providers will collaborate with content aggregators to provide subscribers with mobile valueadded service. Each dimension has its own various evaluation criteria. However.. offer content management capability (e.3. By working with a gateway provider. In this model. and support function to facilitate the overall content delivery. mobile service providers will greatly benefit from working with content aggregators to enhance the effectiveness of the overall operations and business. In particular. and community promotion and management). in addition to providing network infrastructure management. By working with a finite number of content aggregators. as well as supply mobile service content and related business services and functions. Specifically. At the same time.682 P. which form a hierarchical multi-tiered problem structure [41]. 4. content providers can devote their resources to their core business (content creation). Model construction 5..4. Traditional AHP assumes that the system elements are independent. and guiding their content providers. they will have minimal effort in managing the network access and management issues. Mobile service providers will only offer network infrastructure for service delivery. 5. and security). J. advising. In the selection of mobile value-added services strategies. mobile service providers will offer network delivery and management services. this model will limit growth opportunity for mobile service providers in the emerging mobile multimedia value-added service market.

Strategy Pros Mobile service provider provides open interface Can leverage content providers capability to provide to work with content provider innovative services and to share revenue with content providers Mobile service provider creates content Could potentially capture all market potential in the and provide digital content to mobile multimedia value-added service market subscriber directly Mobile service provider works with Only need to work with limited number of content content aggregator aggregators to minimize administration effort Service provider works with gateway provider Require minimal network and content administration effort Cons Need to spend effort in helping content providers to manage network related issues.Z. we use the ANP method instead of the popular AHP approach to evaluate the strategy of mobile service provider in providing mobile services. Three evaluation aspects are identified and described as follows. ANP-based model for evaluating mobile service provider's strategy in providing mobile services in NGN. …. Under the aspect of innovative services. and 3) offer differentiated services. we defined three evaluation criteria: 1) offer end-to-end QoS on digital content. Ci. 2. 2) offer end-to-end security on digital content. where (aij) represents the relative significance of Ci to Cj. 2. n: n Fig. We also brainstormed with the domestic experts/scholars in the telecommunications arena to determine what is expected from a valueadded services strategy. Under the “digital content cost and ease of content access” aspect. 5. 2. ð1Þ .P. In this research. j = 1. Therefore. Calculating the relative weight for each criterion We conduct four steps to calculate the relative weight for each criterion [42]. we defined two evaluation criteria that could be used to measure the extent to which the aspect is satisfied: 1) digital content cost and 2) ease of content access. ∀i. Chen.2.-T. the ANP model was developed based on the literature review and a series of informal discussions with several academicians and industry experts. Calculating the maximum eigenvalue and eigenvector of the pairwise comparison matrix Eight criteria in this research are denoted as (C1. the approximate weight Wi of Ci is then calculated as Wi = ∑nj = 1 ðaij = ∑ni = 1 aij Þ . Cheng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693 683 Table 1 The pros and cons of each strategy for a mobile service provider. respectively. and the pairwise comparison matrix is A = (aij). The evaluation criteria for a service provider to provide digital content to the subscribers were established based on the interviews with industry experts and the literature review. we defined three evaluation criteria: 1) offer innovative services. …. may need to deal with a large number of content providers Content creation is not mobile service provider's core competence and may not be able to create market-driven and innovative services May not be able to fully capture the full potential of mobile value-added service market potential Only play a minimal role in the mobile value-added service value chain captured by the AHP method. …. and 3) provide secure network billing service. Step 1. C8). as described in Section 3. Under the network QoS and security aspect. 2) create large revenue potential for digital content industry. By using the row vector average normalization proposed by Saaty [32]. We learned why Japanese mobile service providers chose content services strategies.2 and shown in Fig. J.

we can say that a higher score indicates a better business strategy. With respect to each criterion. If the matrix does not conform to the principle of column stochastic. If an interdependent and feedback relationship exists among the criteria. (2) will no longer be equal to n. the consistency index (CI) of matrix A is shown as follows: CI = λmax −n : n−1 ð4Þ The consistency ratio (CR) of the pairwise comparison matrix needs to be calculated as in Eq. Consistency test The consistency test is designed to ensure the consistency of judgments by the decision makers throughout the decisionmaking process. The suggested CR of less than 0.32 8 1. Limiting the weighted supermatrix for the weights The ANP develops a “supermatrix” to obtain the composite weight to deal with the relationship of feedback and interdependence among the criteria. The application of the ANP model to obtain the performance data can be summarized in the following steps. (5). then such value will no longer be 0. J. Using the ANP methodology described above. 1. The ranking of business strategies was completed based on these calculated weights for the four business strategies. the relative weight of each business strategy was then calculated (Table 5). integrating the evaluations of each business strategy with five groups of experts in Taiwan.1 is acceptable. Calculate criteria relative weight. Each evaluator was asked to conduct pairwise comparisons for the three aspects and eight criteria listed in the questionnaire (Appendix A). the relative weights of three aspects and eight criteria were calculated (Table 4). When inconsistencies exist in the pairwise comparison matrix A. each survey respondent was asked to conduct pairwise comparisons for the four business strategies. Using the ANP model. It will then become a weighted supermatrix M. (2) and (3) are applied to obtain the approximate value of the maximum eigenvalue λmax: AW = λW λmax = ð2Þ 1 n ðAWÞi ∑ n i = 1 Wi ð3Þ Step 2. criteria.41 9 1. then the pairwise comparison value will be 0. a ranking can be generated based on the scores. N RI 1 0 2 0 3 0. we convened five groups of Table 2 Random indexes (RI) [42].90 5 1. in which the random index (RI) can be obtained from Table 2 [43]. (6) and allow the gradual convergence of the interdependent relationship to obtain the accurate relative weights among the criteria: k M* = lim M : ð6Þ k→∞ Step 4. We then obtain the limited weighted supermatrix M* based on Eq. and business strategy ranking were compared among the five different groups (Table 6). and an unweighted supermatrix M’ will be obtained. Cheng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693 When some minor inconsistency occurs in the process of decision making. 3.53 13 1.51 12 1. Hence. CR = CI RI ð5Þ Step 3.12 6 1. Chen. Conduct pairwise comparison. the decision-maker can provide the weights to adjust it into a supermatrix that conforms to the principle of column stochastic. Calculating the weights of the whole hierarchy After obtaining the relative weights of all criteria.24 7 1. the maximum eigenvalue lmax in Eq.49 11 1.Z. Based on the different players in the mobile service collaborative business model. If no interdependent relationship exists among the criteria. Eqs. 6.45 10 1.57 . 2.58 4 0. and multiplying the scores of each criterion by the total relative weights.-T. The survey results were further categorized into five different groups based on the professional organization to which the respondent belongs.684 P. Empirical study and discussion This survey was intended to be comprehensive and to cover most of the perspectives of every relevant type of expert in the telecom industry. Eventually. Rank the business strategies.56 14 1. The aspect.

144 (2) 0. 6.609 (1) 0.378(2) Note: The numbers in parentheses represent the order of importance.g. Table 4 The criteria weight for evaluating business strategies.143 (3) 0. The 35 survey respondents were categorized into five groups.134 (4) 0. the “network QoS and security” aspect received the highest score (0. economics. 10 were scholars from the telecommunications engineering sector. it will be difficult to attract users to subscribe to new value-added services. non-technical scholar. Based on the obtained weights. their answers to the questionnaires were deemed representative.423 (2) 0. resulting in an 88% return rate.Z.160) among all criteria “creates large revenue potential for digital content industry. it still represented a well balanced view of both industry and academic perspectives on the mobile value-added service issue because of the professional credentials and management positions of the 35 survey respondents. We received 40 responses. Cheng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693 685 Table 3 Survey respondent groups and their positions. J. and content provider. and content providers.211 (8) 0. Without basic service quality and security. Type of survey group Position Telecom service providers Directors Managing Director Managers Directors Consultant and Researchers Professors Professors Consultant and Researchers Directors Senior Managers Director Managers Scholars from the telecommunications engineering sector Scholars in the non-technical sector Gateway/platform providers Content providers experts knowledgeable in telecom technologies and services in Taiwan: telecom service providers. scholars in non-technical fields such as management. 13 were from the telecom service providers sector. . and law. telecom service providers. Thirty-five responses were complete and acceptable. scholars in telecommunications engineering. Evaluating the criteria/objective weights Based on the ANP method. and the remaining 5 were from the content providers sector.316 (6) 0. gateway/platform providers.-T. general management. technical scholar. gateway/platform provider. as they properly reflected sound business strategies.P.313 (7) 0. Although this empirical study did not have a large number of survey response. an ANP-based model was constructed to analyze the results. Our study analyzed the overall respondent group result and each individual group respondent result. namely.” This result shows that a strong financial incentive is needed for the content industry players to participate aggressively in this value-added service collaborative business model. Based on the survey responses.236(3) Weighting factors of evaluation criteria within an aspect Weighting factors of evaluation criteria across aspects 0.355 (5) 0.122 (5) 0.084 (8) 0. Although some people might have received duplicate questionnaires from more than one source. Among the 35 survey respondents.1.386(1) 0.160 (1) 0. The average industry experience of the survey respondents was about seven years. 5 of which were discarded because they were incomplete. we derived the weight (importance) through the aforementioned five decision-making groups. and legal). The interdependent relationships between the criteria and the strategies were also considered in the ANP model. The criteria weights are shown in Table 4. This result shows that “network QoS and security” is the fundamental component for a successful business and service implementation. which are listed in Table 3. The criterion receiving the highest weight (0.371 (6) 0. economics.. they responded only once. Aspects/evaluation criteria Weighting factors of aspects Digital Content Cost and Easiness of Content Access Digital content cost Easiness of content access Network QoS and Security Offer end-to-end QoS on digital content Offer end-to-end security on digital content Provide secure network billing service Innovative Services Offer innovative services Create large revenue potential for digital content industry Offer differentiated services 0. 4 were scholars in the non-technical sector (e. Chen.391 (3) 0. Hence.092 (7) 0. This result also reflects the fact that “QoS and security” is the service foundation for all service providers. 3 were from the gateway/platform providers sector.121 (6) 0.386) among all evaluated aspects.

4. Meanwhile. the service providers should focus on their core network management and service delivery. “Service provider provides an open interface to work with the content provider” and “service provider works with the content aggregator” ranked first (0. Table 5 summarizes the utility score for each strategy and its respective ranking. iPhone subscribers can access AppStore to download various applications at different fees.2526 (3) Note: The numbers in the parentheses are rankings within the same survey group. Apple worked with AT&T in the United States on an exclusive business arrangement. it should be noted that the content provider group selected “service provider works with the content aggregator” as the highest-ranking strategy.319 (1) 0. J. Apple is apparently embracing the open-access concept for their AppStore and is acting like a content aggregator in the business model.2.178 (4) 0.Z. 3. Amazon earned as much revenue from other products as it did from its traditional media products.g. This result shows that in a mobile service collaborative business model.242 (2) 0. However.242 (3) 0.254 (2) 0. In 1997. . Amazon sold nothing but CD and books to consumers. Aside from the telecom service provider group. In addition.260 (2) 0. Table 6 Utility scores of four digital content and services provisioning business strategies by different survey groups. Apple was penetrating the value-added service market through its iPhone and AppStore offering and approach [44].206 (4) 0. Only through an open collaboration can the mobile value-added service “pie” be jointly expanded and enlarged. 3.260 (2) 0. Both Amazon and AppStore demonstrate the power of collaborative business model for business growth.254 (2) 0. There are more than 10. respectively. all players can contribute their respective business strengths to make the value-added service a success. Although telecom service providers have the resources to create content. service providers may need to employ different strategies to promote value-added service. By working with content aggregators.239 (4) 0. 0. The opinions of the survey respondents were further categorized into five different groups for analysis. Ranking the business strategies and discussions By averaging the utility scores of the four service provisioning strategies by all subjects.2288 0.314 (1) 0.000 applications and software available for download in the AppStore. The business transformation lies in the decision to open its platform to those third-party merchants [45]. Initially. “service provider provides an open interface to work with the content provider” is selected as the highest-ranking strategy for entering the mobile multimedia service market. Overall. It is believed that Amazon makes more money from third-party sellers than it does from direct selling. Instead. content providers can focus on their core capability of creating content and allow content aggregators to work with the service providers on the end-to-end service delivery issues.686 P.2612 (1) 0. The utility scores of the four value-added services business strategies for each group and the overall respondent results are summarized in Table 6. The key findings from each group of survey respondents are as follows: 1.218 (3) 0.278 (1) 0.2574 0.-T. this study shows that it will not be in their best interest to create and offer digital content to subscribers.2612 0. Depending on content industry maturity. content aggregators can perform marketing functions by developing different plans for different market segments and aggregating them for the end customers. Digital content and services provisioning business strategies Utility scores (rankings) 1. and create a collaborative business model to promote the mobile value-added service market. Cheng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693 Table 5 Utility scores by all survey respondents. Chen. 2. 2.241 (3) 0.306 (1) 0. it is difficult for one player to capture all business values. “service provider creates content and provides digital content to subscribers directly strategy” receives the lowest score among all the respondent groups.287 (1) 0.2574 (2) 0. we derived the utility scores of the four service provisioning strategies. As we were conducting this research.2574) in the utility scores. under which iPhone was bundled with AT&T mobile service. Revenue-sharing arrangement between Apple and AT&T was not made to the public.2288 (4) 0.2612) and second (0. Survey groups/services business strategies Service provider provides open interface to work with content provider Service provider creates content and provide digital content to subscriber directly Service provider works with content aggregator Service provider works with gateway provider Telecom service providers Group Technical Scholars Group Non-technical Scholars Group Gateway/platform providers Content providers Overall Survey Respondents 0. In this collaboration model. several mobile service providers (e. This result reflects what content providers perceive the need for content aggregators to be a part of the collaborative business model.202 (4) 0.2526 Service Service Service Service provider provider provider provider provides open interface to work with content provider creates content and provide digital content to subscriber directly works with content aggregator works with gateway provider (1) (4) (2) (3) 6. in 2009.197 (4) 0. This finding indicates that establishing an open environment that content providers can easily interwork with service providers can ultimately be the best strategy to generate business value and efficiency.237 (3) 0. Verizon and Orange SA) are also taking AppStore-like initiatives to work with third parties to offer new services..266 (2) 0. However.

Furthermore. mobile carriers can avoid overlooking significant business and collaboration issues while establishing their respective business strategies. It should be noted that this phenomenon is consistent with our research finding. making them unable to enjoy the digital content revenue potential. subscribers need to be involved in the early service development stage to collect feedback early. and scheduling a service launch are important. Based on the results of the study. A closed system will only hinder the development of the mobile value-added market. as identified in this study. This paper discussed how to apply the ANP to evaluate different digital content and service provisioning business strategies in a complicated environment.378 in weight.Z. our research findings can also serve as a guide for the Taiwan telecom industry to establish a new business paradigm. As each player in the collaborative business model has different objectives and interests.3. Although the progress for mobile service providers to establish an open collaborative platform has been slow. there have been several initiatives in Taiwan to promote mobile value-added services.g. digital content cannot be easily delivered to the subscribers for their enjoyment. Thus. However. a proper evaluation of a value-added business strategy in a complicated and fuzzy environment has become a critical issue for mobile service carriers. J. Conclusions and suggestions Evaluating the business strategy of mobile service providers in providing mobile value-added services in the NGN era is complex. This empirical study is based on the results of a generalized model evaluating the mobile service market strategies in a business environment.P. highlighting the importance of fundamental service quality and security in offering value-added services. the “network QoS and security” aspect received the highest score (0.. Cheng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693 687 The jury is still out on whether these initiatives will be successful or not. From the overall ranking of the digital content and service provisioning business strategies. if any player in the collaborative model is unwilling to work with other parties. the value chain in the collaborative business model includes the consumers.g. we can conclude that creating a collaborative business model is the best approach to promoting this market. an appropriate regulation policy to ensure a fair competition environment is also required to foster industry and market growth. especially the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Finally. a joint telecom industry forum comprised of all the players should be reestablished to discuss business and technical concerns in each party. 6. content providers. to promote the collaborative business model effectively. indicating that “innovative service” is also critical in attracting the attention of customers while attempting to launch mobile value-added services. Secondly. “innovative service” received 0. and many other potential players in the mobile and telecom industry. Taiwan National Communications Commission) should intervene by setting up a proper policy to foster the establishment of a collaborative industry business model. The Taiwan government. there is a need to create an open environment for all stakeholders to promote the value-added services to an emerging market.-T.. of which five were discarded. Follow-up research is therefore necessary in these areas to serve as acceptable extensions of this research. Based on the recent history of the value-added service development in Taiwan. operators. Given that this is the first attempt to address the mobile value-added service business strategy by using the ANP. content providers and aggregators conducted forums to promote the creation of digital content for the emerging broadband network. Thirdly.386). The “Network QoS and security” aspect also underscored the importance of establishing a sound network infrastructure in creating value-added services. . 7. Compared with the weight of “network QoS and security” (0.386). From the results. sharing the key service implementation criteria.” Currently for mobile value-added services. a win–win business model such as revenue sharing and growth opportunity is critical in realizing the above strategy. Chen. This can be accomplished by creating a telecom open-access regulation or by providing a tax incentive. Although these initiatives helped generate various forms of digital content. One of the main concerns for service providers to maintain a close system is to avoid being a “pipe connection” service provider. For example. Forty survey responses were received. A small service trial is also required to ensure customer acceptance. Issues in and analysis of mobile value-added service strategy implementation In the past few years. a government regulator (e. which only collects a fixed connection subscription fee. For example. the lack of participation of service providers in these forums and initiatives made the overall collaborative business model incomplete. We constructed an ANP-based model to evaluate business strategy alternatives available for mobile service providers. in facilitating the establishment of an open environment. Using this method. The goal of the joint forum would be to develop a win–win business model for all involved parties. also identified digital content as a strategic industry for future government investment. In voice communications. 40 experts and scholars in the telecommunications industry in Taiwan were surveyed to determine their priorities with respect to these aspects and the evaluation criteria. subscribers provide their own “content. Comparing our research results with the ongoing developments confirms our finding that collaborative business model in the mobile broadband environment is the key to capture the potential value-added revenue in the future. In this study. CHT in Taiwan) to organize such forum. it is understandable as the challenges are formidable. the government could ask the incumbent carrier (e. As a first step. with all the involved value-added service players to achieve milestones for value-added services. Without service provider distribution channels. it is believed that significant insights have been provided and a foundation for future research has been established. the proposed method appears to be appropriate and effective in addressing the qualitative issues in a complicated business environment.

Professional background 2. Seniority in the industry: ____________ years ⊚ E-mail address: ________________________ Section 2: Compare the relative importance of each item. Your inputs will help the telecommunications industry choose the appropriate business development strategies. please compare the relative importance of the different aspects in pairwise. content. Chen. billing. please provide us with your e-mail address. Cheng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693 Acknowledgments We are very grateful to the anonymous referees for their valuable comments and constructive suggestions. . Therefore. Sincerely yours. Please evaluate the importance of each criterion relative to each business strategy. and network S2: Service provider creates content and provides digital content directly to subscriber: SP offers gateway. Appendix A Analyzing mobile service provider's strategy in providing mobile services in NGN Questionnaire Dear Sir. network. This research was supported by the National Science Council under grant number NSC98-2410-H-214-009. network. We need your help and expertise to answer this questionnaire. J. (Please check the mark “ˇ” in the appropriate location) From a scale of 1 to 9.688 P. The definition and explanation of the ANP assessment scale is described in the following table. The purpose of this questionnaire is to find out the importance of the aspects and criteria SPs (service providers) would consider while providing digital content and services to users. Descriptions of each Alternative/Strategy: S1: Service provider provides open interface to work with content provider: SP offers gateway. content management. Please take your time to compare the relative importance of each item.-T. content management. and content management S4: Service provider works with gateway provider: SP offers network infrastructure Section 1: Respondent Information 1.Z. The result of this research will be made available to you at the end of this research. and billing S3: Service provider works with content aggregator: SP offers gateway.

1. Ratio of relative importance (9: extremely more important . Chen. Make pairwise comparisons with respect to “digital content cost and availability” Ratio of Relative Importance (9: extremely more important .1. Make pairwise comparisons with respect to “innovative services” Ratio of relative importance (9: extremely more important . Criteria comparisons 2. 1: equally as important) 9:1 8:1 7:1 6:1 5:1 4:1 3:1 2:1 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:9 Offer end-to-end QoS on digital content Offer end-to-end QoS on digital content Offer end-to-end security on digital content Offer end-to-end security on digital content Provide secure network billing service Provide secure network billing service 2.2.2.2. 1: equally as important) 9:1 Offer innovative services Offer innovative services Create large revenue potential for digital content industry 8:1 7:1 6:1 5:1 4:1 3:1 2:1 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:9 Create large revenue potential for digital content industry Offer differentiate services Offer differentiate services . Make pairwise comparisons with respect to “network QoS and security” Ratio of relative importance (9: extremely more important .P.-T. 6. 1: equally as important) 9:1 8:1 7:1 6:1 5:1 4:1 3:1 2:1 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:9 Digital content cost and availability Network QoS and Security 2.Z. J. Cheng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693 689 Definition and explanation of the ANP assessment scale. 8 Equal Moderate Strong Very strong Extremely Strong Median of adjacent scales The contribution of two options are equally important Experience and judgment show a slight preference to one particular option Experience and judgment show a strong preference to one particular option (Strong) Show a very strong preference to one particular option Sufficient evidence to support one particular option A tradeoff between two options 2. Aspect comparisons Compare the relative importance with respect to the goal. 4.2. 1: equally as important) 9:1 8:1 7:1 6:1 5:1 4:1 3:1 2:1 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:9 Provide cost effective content Easy access to digital content 2. Assessment Scale Definition Description 1 3 5 7 9 2.3.2.

1.-T.4. J.3. 1: equally as important) 9:1 8:1 7:1 6:1 5:1 4:1 3:1 2:1 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:9 S1 S2 2. Make pairwise comparisons with respect to “Provide cost effective content” aspect in the “Alternative strategy” criteria Ratio of relative importance (9: extremely more important . 1: equally as important) 9:1 8:1 7:1 6:1 5:1 4:1 3:1 2:1 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:9 S1 S1 S1 S2 S2 S3 S2 S3 S4 S3 S4 S4 2. Make pairwise comparisons with respect to “Easy access to digital content” aspect in the “Alternative strategy” criteria Ratio of relative importance (9: extremely more important .3.Z.3. 1: equally as important) 9:1 S1 S1 S1 S2 S2 S3 8:1 7:1 6:1 5:1 4:1 3:1 2:1 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:9 S2 S3 S4 S3 S4 S4 .3.2. Make pairwise comparisons with respect to “Offer end-to-end security on digital content” aspect in the “Alternative strategy” criteria Ratio of relative importance (9: extremely more important .3. Make pairwise comparisons with respect to “Provide secure network billing service” aspect in the “Alternative strategy” criteria Ratio of relative importance (9: extremely more important .3. Chen. 1: equally as important) 9:1 8:1 7:1 6:1 5:1 4:1 3:1 2:1 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:9 S1 S1 S1 S2 S2 S3 S2 S3 S4 S3 S4 S4 2. Alternative strategy comparisons 2. Cheng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693 2.690 P.

3:1 2:1 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:9 S2 S3 S4 S3 S4 S4 .5.3. Make pairwise comparisons with respect to “Create large revenue potential for digital content industry” aspect in the “Alternative strategy” criteria Ratio of relative importance (9: extremely more important . 1: equally as important) 9:1 8:1 7:1 6:1 5:1 4:1 S1 S1 S1 S2 S2 S3 We appreciate your help in filling out this questionnaire. Make pairwise comparisons with respect to “Offer differentiate services” aspect in the “Alternative strategy” criteria Ratio of relative importance (9: extremely more important . Chen. 1: equally as important) 9:1 8:1 7:1 6:1 5:1 4:1 3:1 2:1 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:9 S1 S1 S1 S2 S2 S3 S2 S3 S4 S3 S4 S4 2.6.8. 1: equally as important) 9:1 8:1 7:1 6:1 5:1 4:1 3:1 2:1 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:9 S1 S1 S1 S2 S2 S3 S2 S3 S4 S3 S4 S4 2.3. Make pairwise comparisons with respect to “Offer end-to-end QoS on digital content” aspect in the “Alternative strategy” criteria Ratio of relative importance (9: extremely more important . J.Z.7.3.-T. Make pairwise comparisons with respect to “Offer innovative services” aspect in the “Alternative strategy” criteria Ratio of relative importance (9: extremely more important . 1: equally as important) 9:1 8:1 7:1 6:1 5:1 4:1 3:1 2:1 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7 1:8 1:9 S1 S1 S1 S2 S2 S3 S2 S3 S4 S3 S4 S4 2. Cheng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693 691 2.3.P.

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Joe received his M.-T.Z. in 1984 and 2004. . He joined Bellcore as a Member of Technical Staff in 1984 and was involved in Network Planning and Technology. technology transfer. new services. Cheng / Technological Forecasting & Social Change 77 (2010) 678–693 693 Joe Z. and business partnership. respectively. Chen. Cheng is Executive Director of Asia Business Development at Telcordia Technologies. and Ph.D. J. degree in Technology Management from University of National Chiao-Tung University.S. His major responsibilities include developing business strategies for telecommunications deregulation. degree in Systems and Industrial Engineering from University of Arizona.P.