This paper studies the dynamics of the mobile telecommunications market and the factors responsible for the deployment and growth of mobile infrastructure in the context of developing countries. Our analytical framework treats the mobile telecommunications market as a socio-technical system. Specifically, we define the telecommunications market as being composed of technology standards and three sets of social actors that include government institutions, network and service providers, and users. We show how this model can be used to analyse the telecommunications sector in developing countries by using a specific case study.
The study examines the case of Pakistan's mobile telecommunications market. It concludes that social actors together determine the adoption of standards and services, and thus shape the trajectory of the market. Our case study provides evidence that a pro-competition policy is imperative for mobile telecommunications development in developing countries, and that an independent regulator is critical in promoting technological innovation.