Title: The disruptive potential of Wi-Fi in the German hotspot market

Authors: Stefan Husig, Christiane Hipp

Addresses: Chair for Management of Innovation and Technology, University of Regensburg, 93040 Regensburg, Germany. ' Chair of Organisation, Human Resource Management and General Management, Cottbus Department of Economics and Business Administration, Brandenburg University of Technology, Building No. 10, Erich-Weinert-Strasse 1, 03046 Cottbus, Germany

Abstract: The disruptive potential of Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) is investigated in an empirical study of the German public hotspot market in 2003-2006. The results of our study suggest that primarily the incumbent Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have taken advantage of the opportunity provided by Wi-Fi and the commercial hotspot market and dominated this submarket of wireless/mobile data services in Germany. Therefore, we categorise Wi-Fi as a sustaining technology based on the disruptive technology theory by Christensen (1997). These findings contradict the earlier predictions of Christensen et al. (2004) and others regarding Wi-Fi and suggest that the business model of stand-alone Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) will not be sustainable given the trend in the German commercial public hotspot market.

Keywords: mobile communications; wireless fidelity; wi-fi; wireless LANs; local area networks; WLAN; IEEE 802.11; mobile network operators; MNOs; wireless ISPs; internet service providers; WISPs; public hotspots; disruptive technology; Germany.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMC.2009.025534

International Journal of Mobile Communications, 2009 Vol.7 No.6, pp.615 - 631

Published online: 22 May 2009 *

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