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The role of regulation in the mobile operator business in Finland

Kimmo Laakso (Based at the Department of Information Technology, Tampere University of Technology, Pori, Finland)
Anita Rubin (Senior Research at the Finland Futures Research Center, University of Turku, Turku, Finland)
Hannu Linturi (Director, Metodix, Mikkeli, Finland)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 13 April 2012




Mobile communication has grown beyond its original scope and scale, and mobile operators have played a significant role in this phenomenon. Since the mobile operator business is highly regulated, the authors aim to analyze the effects of regulation on the industry during the period 1985‐2009. They also aim to consider its potential effects in the years 2010‐2015.


The method selected for this research was the Delphi method. The challenge was that this method was originally created to assess experts' opinions about the course of development of a certain technology or phenomenon in the future, and then by using for example a scenario technique, to draw conclusions about its possible futures. Here the authors used the Delphi method for estimating past development also, i.e. experts' opinions of the causes and effects of laws and other regulations in the past few decades.


According to this research the ultimate goals of the regulator, set as early as in the middle of the 1980s, have been actualized: in Finland there are several competing nationwide mobile operators and the use of mobile phones is cheap compared to many other countries. One significant finding of this study is that the regulatory framework for the mobile operator business has become more complex over the years and that this complexity is also likely to grow in the future.

Practical implications

Dynamic regulation has enabled strong competition in Finland's mobile operator market and at the same time a very high service level for subscribers. The Delphi method is proven to be a powerful tool also when examining past events, and the authors recommend Delphi for use in studies related to other sectors of administration and fields of business.


This paper enables better monitoring of the changes in regulatory framework over a long period in which several changes have been made, compared to previous studies which focus on a single regulatory action.



Laakso, K., Rubin, A. and Linturi, H. (2012), "The role of regulation in the mobile operator business in Finland", Foresight, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 154-167.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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