Purpose – Several studies of the telecommunications industry have focused on government regulation and structural conditions, suggesting that initial order of entry and network effects create strong first-mover advantages for GSM companies. This paper seeks to change the focus to managerial capabilities and to investigate how an early mover on the Turkish market manages the phase of vigorous competition following the early-regulated period.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper is a case study of one leading firm in the context of the Turkish telecommunications market development. The most important sources for data are Telepati Telekom Journal, Turkcell Annual Reports, Telecommunications Authority of Turkey's publications, the reports of investment institutions, web pages of operators, and previous publications about the Turkish telecom industry.
Findings – The paper finds that the early mover, Turkcell, has used a mix of differentiated marketing strategies, innovative and diversified product development and increased service quality to defend its position in an era of increased competition with new operators, a high number of pre-paid customers and number portability.
Originality/value – On the basis of this case, the paper argues that studies of the telecommunications industry need to expand their analyses of industry structures to also include firm-specific strategies and management capabilities.
Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd. , 2011. Vol. 13, no 2, 72-84 p.