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Understanding B2B customer loyalty in the mobile telecommunication industry: a look at dedication and constraint

Shuiqing Yang (School of Information, Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, Hangzhou, China)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 2 March 2015




This paper attempts to investigate the simultaneous effects of dedication and constraint factors on business-to-business (B2B) customer loyalty in the context of transforming the mobile telecommunication industry. Maintaining a successful inter-organizational relationship with the key players becomes increasingly critical to the performance and competitiveness of the mobile network operator (MNO) in the mobile telecommunication industry.


A dual customer loyalty model which reflected both dedication-based and constraint-based mechanisms is developed and empirically tested against data collected from 129 content providers (CPs) which currently have business relationships with China Mobile.


The structural equation modeling partial least squares analysis indicates that dedication-based (e.g. customer satisfaction, trust in MNO and MNO’s relationship-specific investments) and constraint-based (e.g. switching costs, dependence on MNO and CP’s asset specificity) mechanisms simultaneously, yet differentially, influence CP’s loyalty toward the MNO.

Practical implications

To obtain CP’s loyalty, MNOs should consider both the dedication and constraint factors. In particular, they need to focus more on the constraint-based mechanism, as it exerts stronger influences on CP’s loyalty than the dedication-based mechanism.


This research advances our theoretical understanding of the dual nature of customer loyalty behavior in the B2B context and offers practical implications for MNOs to leverage these two contrasting causal drivers.



This work was partially supported by the grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71472163). This work was also supported by the grants from the Humanity and Social Science Youth foundation of Ministry of Education of China (13YJC630203), Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (LY14G020009), and Zhejiang Provincial Educational Commission Foundation (Y201326670).


Yang, S. (2015), "Understanding B2B customer loyalty in the mobile telecommunication industry: a look at dedication and constraint", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 30 No. 2, pp. 117-128.



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