Mobile Data Service Adoption and Use from a Service Supply
An Empirical Investigation
Krassie Petrova, Stephen G. MacDonell and Dave Parry
School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, Auckland University of Technology,
55 Wellesley St. E., Auckland 1010, New Zealand
Keywords: Mobile Services, Mobile Applications, Service Supply, Stakeholder Views, Thematic Analysis.
Abstract: The paper presents the findings of an empirical study of the views of a selection of mobile data service
(MDS) supply chain participants about anticipated MDS customer requirements and expectations, and about
the MDS environment. Applying an inductive thematic analysis approach, the study data are first
represented as a thematic map; the thematic map is then used to formulate propositions that contribute an
MDS supplier perspective to models investigating MDS customer adoption and use.
Mobile data services (MDS) are designed,
developed, provided and consumed within a mobile
service ecosystem in which MDS suppliers and
MDS customers interact and create service value
Becker et al., (2012), (Basole and Karla, 2012;
Dennehy and Sammon, 2015). The MDS ecosystem
has a complex structure. On the one side, it includes
mobile technology providers (e.g., mobile network
operators – MNOs and mobile device vendors), and
MDS developers and providers such as banks
offering mobile banking services, and mobile
application (“app”) developers distributing their
apps through mobile app marketplaces (Petrova and
MacDonell, 2010; Ryu et al., 2014). On the other
side, the MDS ecosystem comprises a highly
heterogeneous customer space, with customer
segments determined by both demographic and
attitudinal factors (Floh et al., 2014).
1.1 MDS Customers
The extant literature is rich in empirical studies of
MDS adoption and use from a customer perspective.
MDS customer decisions to adopt, use , and
continue to use an MDS have been studied
extensively applying existing and well-validated
technology adoption models (Sanakulov and
Karjaluoto, 2015; Ovčjak et al., 2015). However, a
number of more recent studies consider MDS
adoption from a service, rather than from technology
perspective (Thong et al., 2011). The approach is
based on the premise that mobile technology use is
subsumed by MDS use (Becker et al., 2012) as the
technology users conceptualized in traditional
information systems research have become instead
“service consumers” (Tuunanen et al., 2010).
Consequently, customer perceptions about service
value and service quality have been studied as
important factors influencing customer intention to
adopt, use, and continue to use MDS (Kuo et al.,
2009; Tojib and Tsarenko, 2012; Kim et al., 2013).
Perceived service value reflects customer
perceptions regarding the overall utility of a service
based on the customer’s assessment of the perceived
service benefits and disadvantages, and perceived
service-associated “sacrifices” (cost of acquisition)
(Schilke and Wirtz, 2012). Therefore, in order to
ascertain a particular service’s potential to generate
customer demand (leading to actual service use), it is
important to understand what specific value the
different customers of a particular MDS attach to it
(Bouwman et al., 2009).
According to Bina et al. (2007), customers value
mobile services that enhance both the utilitarian and
the hedonistic aspects of the their everyday life style.
However, it is also observed that demographically
different customer groups may have different
preferences with respect to MDS type, content and
Petrova, K., MacDonell, S. and Parry, D.
Mobile Data Service Adoption and Use from a Service Supply Perspective - An Empirical Investigation.
DOI: 10.5220/0005966100860097
In Proceedings of the 13th International Joint Conference on e-Business and Telecommunications (ICETE 2016) - Volume 2: ICE-B, pages 86-97
ISBN: 978-989-758-196-0
2016 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
interface (Lee et al., 2009; Constantiou et al., 2007),
and that the demographic segments are relatively
narrow (Oh et al., 2008).
Service use, in particular, may be also
significantly influenced by perceived service quality.
Akter et al., (2013) define perceived mobile service
quality as an overall judgment about a service’s
“excellence”. Customer perceptions about service
quality (i.e., perceptions about how the service
performs with respect to content, interface,
navigation, and visual appeal) have been found to
influence both perceived service value, and
perceived post-use satisfaction (Kuo et al., 2009).
Overall, throughout the process of MDS
adoption and continued use, customers make
decisions significantly influenced by their
perceptions about service value, and by their
experiences with service performance and quality.
Through actions based on these decisions (i.e.,
considering a service, using it occasionally or
regularly, or discontinuing use) MDS customers
interact with MDS suppliers; MDS customers may
even have an impact on the regulatory environment
through their participation in consumer groups
(Camponovo and Pigneur, 2003).
1.2 MDS Suppliers
There has been limited work to date that considers
MDS adoption and use from an MDS supplier
perspective. The opinions of MDS providers with
respect to MDS success/failure are investigated in
(Carlsson and Walden, 2002; Scornavacca and
McKenzie, 2007). Further examples include service-
specific explorations such as Okazaki’s (2005)’s
study of the perceptions of senior executives about
using mobile technology as an advertising channel,
analyses of merchants’ attitudes towards mPayment
(Mallat and Tuunainen, 2008; Hayashi and
Bradford, 2014), and a study of managers
perceptions about SMS-based marketing (Li and
McQueen, 2008). A comparative analysis of the
views of MDS suppliers and customers is provided
in Xinyan et al., (2009) and Akesson’s (2007)
investigations of mPayment and mobile media
content provision, respectively.
The reviewed studies indicate that perceptions
about customer needs and behaviour, and
perceptions about the context in which the service is
offered influence MDS supplier decisions about
investment in service development. In addition, the
findings of the last two studies indicate that
customer and service provider opinions and views
with respect to the importance and role of MDS
adoption factors may differ; corroborating results
(from a study of mobile communication services) are
reported in (Abu-El Samen et al., 2013). The
findings form the literature provide support for the
assumption that underpins the research presented
here, namely, that MDS supplier perceptions about
customer demand for MDS influence the MDS
development and provision.
More specifically, it is contended that MDS
supplier perceptions about the targeted customer
group requirements and expectations affect the MDS
value proposition with respect to service
functionality, design, and pricing model, and that
perceived customer demand represents MDS
supplier knowledge and understanding of both
existing and potential customers’ needs for MDS,
their quality of service expectations and daily
lifestyle related requirements, and the relevant
service and regulatory environment.
1.3 Research Aim and Questions
Based on the analyses above it is suggested that a
better understanding of MDS supplier perceptions
about customers may contribute to a better
understanding of supplier–customer interactions in
the MDS ecosystem, including the development of
the MDS value proposition and its acceptance by
customers. The research presented here aims to
propose an MDS supplier perspective on MDS
customer adoption, as supported by the outcomes of
an empirical investigation of the views of MDS
suppliers about customer demand for MDS. Three
specific research questions guide the empirical
1. What are MDS supplier views about customer
expectations, requirements, and attitude drivers?;
2. What are MDS supplier views about the value of
customer mobility support features of MDS?
3. What are MDS supplier views about the mobile
service supply and regulatory environments?
As asserted earlier in (Petrova and MacDonell,
2010), an MDS supplier perspective on what
customers need, want, expect, and get from MDS
may complement prior studies that mainly looked at
MDS adoption and use from a customer perspective.
The current study that contributes a set of
propositions that can be used to extend MDS
adoption and use models.
The rest of the paper is organised as follows: the
next section outlines and justifies the research
approach, and describes the data gathering, coding
and analysis processes. Sections 3 and 4 present and
Mobile Data Service Adoption and Use from a Service Supply Perspective - An Empirical Investigation
discuss the findings. Section 5 highlights the study
contributions and limitations, and suggests
directions for further research.
The study aims to achieve an understanding of a
phenomenon (i.e., how MDS supplier perceptions
about customers may influence MDS adoption) from
the view point of the research participants; therefore,
it was considered appropriate to apply a qualitative
investigating approach that followed a “from the
ground up” (Creswell, 2007) logic. As the MDS
supplier space includes different types of
organisations, the adopted research method was
collective case study (Onwuegbuzie and Leech,
2007); because of the exploratory nature of the
investigation the data were analysed inductively
(Patton, 2002). An inductive thematic analysis
process (Braun and Clarke, 2006) was developed;
applied systematically and interactively, it allowed
to identify the patterns and the themes emerging
across the data set. Thematic networks (Attride-
Stirling, 2001) were constructed and used to
organise the emerging themes in a thematic map,
and interpret the findings further.
2.1 Study Setting
The empirical investigation took place during the
period 2010-11 in Bulgaria. At the time of the study
the mobile telecommunications sector included three
MNOs (subscriber penetration rate of 141% -
The MNOs had already started offering MDS
such as mobile payment (mPayment)
7-08-02&article=5980) while a number of software
houses had engaged in developing mobile games and
other mobile entertainment applications
( The regulatory
and legislative infrastructure included the provisions
of the Communications Regulation Commission
(Pook, 2008) and specific pieces of legislation such
as the Law on electronic commerce and the Law of
fund transfers, and electronic payment instruments
and payment systems.
2.2 Research Instrument and Sample
Semi-structured interviews (Myers, 2009) were
adopted as the primary method for data gathering,
chosen because of the need for flexibility while
talking to a diverse range of participants. The
questionnaire was tested in a pilot study; the work of
Tilson et al., (2008) provided a useful reference. The
final version contained five background questions
and 12 knowledge/opinion/value judgment questions
about MDS value proposition, anticipated customer
attitude and MDS acceptance behaviour, and the
service and regulatory environment.
The study participants were recruited from
amongst the employees of companies and
organizations involved in MDS design, development
and provision. To ensure that participants were able
to offer well-informed opinions, the study sought to
recruit individuals with significant expertise who
were both knowledgeable about the area of the
investigation, and were involved in decision making
at their respective place of employment.
A total of 52 individuals matching the profile
above, from 13 organizations, were issued
invitations; eventually, 12 individuals from eight
organizations accepted to be interviewed. Nine
participants were employed by “large” companies
(staff above 250) while three worked for “small”
ones (staff between 50 and 250, applying the
European Union definitions for small and medium
enterprises). It occurred that five participants (MD1-
MD5) were involved predominately in roles related
to software development and MDS design, while the
remaining seven participants (MP1-MP7) were more
closely associated with MDS content development,
provision, and aggregation. The sample size was
deemed adequate for a single case study; it exceeded
significantly the four to five participants
recommended by Creswell (2007) but allowed to
represent the different MDS supplier types.
2.3 Data Coding and Analysis
The interviews were transcribed (six transcripts were
translated from Bulgarian into English) and stored
electronically. The coding started with developing a
set of deductive codes based on the research topic
and applying them in order to gain an initial
understanding of the data. Next the data were
interpreted and coded inductively employing in vivo
coding (Saldaña, 2012). A rigorous iterative coding
protocol was developed and followed in order to
preserve traceable links between data, interpreted
data meanings, and data codes. The coded data were
organised into a multilevel data dictionary.
Ultimately, 413 data meanings were extracted,
interpreted and assigned a code; the code labels and
definitions were kept close to the data meanings.
ICE-B 2016 - International Conference on e-Business
Similarly coded data were grouped together under a
“super code”. The final version of the data
dictionary contained data supporting 99 super codes
grouped in five mutually exclusive groups of related
coded meanings (categories): (i) CUSTOMERS
(perceptions about customer space characteristics
including attitudes, behaviours, requirements, and
expectations), (ii) SERVICE SUPPLY & DEMAND
(perceptions about MDS supply space characteristics
including service value and viability), (iii)
TECHNOLOGY (perceptions about technology
opportunities and limitations), (iv) REGULATORY
ENVIRONMENT (perceptions about the regulatory
environment), and (v) UNCERTAINTY (what
participants felt uncertain about).
The coded data were iteratively and systematically
re-examined in order to identify and define an initial
set of emerging themes. The emerging themes were
organised into a thematic map, and the key points
made by the participants were extracted.
3.1 Emerging Themes
The emerging themes were identified through
pattern coding, searching for semantically related
super codes; the super codes were methodically
considered with respect to forming discernible
patterns that may be interpreted as a coherent theme.
The set of semantic relationships (adapted from
Gibson and Brown, 2009) included “Associated
with”, “Aspect of”, “Cause of/Result of”, “Contrast
with”, and “Attribute of”.
As shown in Table 1 (first column), a total of 13
themes emerged; the themes did not overlap across
the data, as each super code could be associated with
one theme only. Brief theme descriptions are
provided in the Appendix; the labels of the super
code associated with each theme highlight the
theme’s key characteristics.
At the next step of the analysis the data
supporting the emerging themes were searched for
similarities or shared ideas that could be used to
interconnect the themes. Six similarity clusters were
identified and used to define six higher level
“organizing” themes (Table 1, second column).
Finally, the supporting data were examined again
in order to determine the top-level theme grouping -
the overarching “global” themes epitomizing the key
points, or main meanings of the data. Figure 1 shows
the overall outcome of the analysis: a thematic map
representing the original data set as two related
thematic networks, each centred on one of the two
global themes described below; the illustrating data
codes are referenced to the cited participants.
Table 1: Emerging and organising themes.
Emerging themes Organizing Themes
Difficult customers;
Customer segmentation
Customers differ
Attractive services;
User friendly services
Customers require
Need for service;
Service value
Customers expect
Personal goals;
Free services
Customers prefer
Optimistic providers;
Service innovation;
Reg. environment opportunistic
Opportunities and
Operators as a barrier;
Operators threatened
3.2 Global Theme “Customers
Global theme “Customers demand” pertains to the
characteristics and behaviour of potential and actual
MDS customers as perceived by the study
participants, and the effect of these perceptions on
MDS supply. Organising theme “Customers differ”
(for data quotes, see Table 2) reveals that MDS
suppliers perceive customers as distrustful and
conservative in their attitude, while having a wide
range of different requirements and expectations.
Therefore, the customer market is perceived as very
segmented and hard to satisfy; the situation is
exacerbated by a certain lack of sufficient
understanding of what customers really want. From
an MDS supplier perspective, the mobile service
industry may not be offering the services customers
need, or expect, i.e., there may exist a misalignment
between MDS supply and MDS demand.
Figure 1: Thematic map.
Customers prefer
Customers differ
Customers require Customers expect
Opportunities &
Mobile Data Service Adoption and Use from a Service Supply Perspective - An Empirical Investigation
Further insights into MDS supplier perceptions
about MDS customer requirements and expectations
are offered by the organising themes “Customers
require”, “Customers expect” and “Customers
prefer” (data quotes related to each theme are
provided in Tables 3, 4 and 5). First, the data
indicate that according to MDS suppliers, customers
would be interested in new services that were not
just innovative but also engaging, easy to access and
use, and well supported. From an MDS supplier
perspective, significant effort is required in order to
overcome the inherent technology limitations and
develop MDS attractive enough to compete with
similar services developed for personal computers.
Table 2: “Customers differ” - data quotes.
“security first…the majority of users don’t easily
rely on innovations”;
“Inertia of older consumers, expressed in fear and
resistance against innovations and
“it is difficult to persuade customers to break with
the old routines and influence them towards
adopting new innovative products if the need to do
so is not urgent”;
“Yes, there are [segments] and their expectations
are different”;
“Consumers can be divided into groups of
expectations …some seek security and usability,
other entertainment, facility, etc.”;
“to offer something new and better... not an easy
task…there are no clear criteria exactly what the
market wants… mobile applications are relatively
new, but despite this… the ‘saturation’ effect is
“Development of new services is going ahead of
Table 3: “Customers require” - data quotes.
“Interesting ideas that would motivate people to
use new development”;
“The service has to be ‘modern’:
“contribute to a richer user experience”;
“user-friendly…easy and fast accessibility and
support 24 hours a day”;
Developers… are restricted by the limited
resources of the mobile device… so, with much
less options an application has to be developed
that does not defer drastically to those, made for
“Innovations are needed so that the application is
[made] attractive”.
Second, MDS supplier perceive customers as
expecting services of high value and with a clear
value proposition that balances quality and cost.
Perceived customer expectations include well
designed services that meet specific customer needs,
make innovative use of connectivity, offer
compatibility across devices and platforms, provide
privacy protection, and are reasonably priced.
Furthermore, customer judgement is perceived as
influenced by external factors such as peer opinion,
and the [lack] of sufficient knowledge about MDS.
From an MDS supplier perspective, the challenge is
to make sure that customers understand the MDS
value proposition and associate it with a perceived
service need.
Table 4: “Customers expect” - data quotes.
“added value… has direct impact on the
“Customer attitude is affected [by] does it add
value to the service”; "Internet banking now
works well and customers want it on their mobile
“for health apps, customers are …willing to pay
more and price is not such a big issue”;
"…offer connection to any kind of other devices –
TVs, cars to be operated via mobile phone”;
“good mobile software performance”;
“information about the availability of such a
service and how to use it”;
“Compatibility with various OS as Android,
Windows Mobile”;
“safety of the personal information and the user’s
“price and quality”;
“Can only be convinced by opinions …friends who
have good impressions”; Becoming aware of the
need for a certain service…implied need through
Specific MDS service characteristics that
(according to MDS suppliers) customers perceive as
adding value to MDS include meeting personal
requirements for convenience and availability (e.g.,
saving time) , being able to choose from a range of
services, and opportunities for customer
involvement. Furthermore, customers are perceived
as preferring functionality over feature overload,
with service availability and high network
performance quality the other top preferences. From
an MDS supplier perspective, the viability of
developing and providing value-adding MDS is
affected by customer attitude towards paying for
MDS. Here, participants differed in their views:
according to some, customers would be willing to
pay for a service they felt was valuable while others
saw customers as not prepared to pay “too much” for
a service anyway.
The uncertainty affects MDS supplier decisions
about how to approach service design and
implementation – to invest significantly in MDS that
satisfy customer requirements and expectations
ICE-B 2016 - International Conference on e-Business
about service value, or to offer less valuable, low
cost service versions that are more likely to be
accepted and may help create a critical customer
mass. However, participants expressed reservations
about the acceptance of free MDS: they perceived
potential MDS customers as discerning and likely to
consider a free MDS as one of a lesser value.
Table 5: “Customers prefer” – data quotes.
“the convenience to be able to do whatever you
want, whenever and wherever you want -
something very important because it saves time”;
“Innovation is very important in this sector; the
customer has the choice how to get something
“customer to be able to control, monitor and act
pro-actively…the product features and the
product flexibility always prevail vs. the ‘fashion
design’…24/7 service availability and support”;
“Accessibility at any time and from anywhere to
information resources as well as speed in
obtaining information”.
“What really matters is the value that the mobile
product brings and how desired the solution is”;
Private users usually are not ready to pay a
considerable price and the cost-value relation is
an especially important part of their motivation
to purchase the product”;
“I firmly believe that a given free product can
give much more profit with its popularity, than a
product that is paid and because of this – less
used/less known”;
“free applications attract the interest of people,
but if they are not well made and sufficiently
functional, as is usually the case with free stuff,
the user would rather not use that application or
would consider buying the paid version, which
will have a much better good maintenance”.
3.3 Global Theme “Service Providers
In global theme “Service providers face”
participants talk about the dynamics of the MDS
supply sector and the MDS supply environment. The
focal points are the opportunities and challenges in
developing and offering new MDS, the barriers
faced by MDS providers, and the role of MNOs.
According to organizing theme “Opportunities
and challenges” (for data quotes, see Table 6), the
increased affordability of smart phones and the
relatively supportive regulatory environment create
opportunities for MDS development (e.g., services
targeting niche areas of customer needs, services
that complement existing ones). The MDS supply
environment is dynamic and competitive, therefore,
profitability should be considered from a strategic
perspective. Both being innovative and staying
ahead of competitors, and following successful
innovators are viable options, provided that the
service offers a satisfactory customer experience.
However, MDS development faces two major
challenges. The first challenge relates to the still
considerable inherent limitations of the mobile
technology. While these limitations can be overcome
by innovative service design, MDS developers need
a better knowledge of the targeted customer segment
(as discussed in the first global theme) in order to
align the level of service interface sophistication
with the level of customer comfortableness with the
technology. The second challenge is specific to the
case context. The relatively small local market may
not be conducive to developing innovative services
as there exists an uncertainty about service viability
exacerbated by the segmented customer market and
customer attitude towards paid MDS (also discussed
in the first global theme).
Table 6: “Opportunities and challenges” – data quotes.
“with…smartphones…becoming cheaper, mobile
technologies will get more attractive”;
“the regulatory environment is relatively
supportive, except for … private data abuse in
terms of location based services and private
person location information”;
“a forthcoming boom …is to be expected”;
“it is often easy for the developers of a mobile
application to fill a ‘niche’ in the market”;
“[good] user experience always brings more
benefit and affects the customer’s satisfaction”;
“where a product is similar to other offered by
other providers, its competitiveness requires
more added value and more specific and
eloquent advantages”;
“In Bulgaria our mobile service is among the
first ones which makes it especially valuable for
“as companies are striving to be the best, they
develop services not orientated mainly towards
…profit, but … important for the image”;
“Having in mind the limitations of mobile
devices [that…still do exist], it is important to
know who exactly the users… will be…the
…service has to be in precise conformity with
their technical knowledge and potentialities”;
“The Bulgarian mobile market is small in
comparison to bigger countries with a larger
number of users… new solutions are offered
relatively late here”.
According to organizing theme “Barriers” (for
data quotes, see Table 7), mobile operators are not
too interested in providing and/or supporting MDS
and prefer to focus instead on their traditional
services. The still relatively high mobile data cost
represents a significant barrier to MDS development
Mobile Data Service Adoption and Use from a Service Supply Perspective - An Empirical Investigation
and provision as it affects negatively MDS customer
adoption and MDS viability. However, the
environment is becoming more competitive; fearing
revenue loss, MNOs may become more interested in
MDS development and provision.
From a MNO’s point of view mobile operators
should sustain their leadership role in the MDS
supply sector; an inherent impediment to the
implementation of innovative ideas is the lack the
flexibility caused by organizational complexity and
slow internal processes This increases the risk
associated with MNOs involvement in MDS
development and provision.
Table 7: “Barriers” – data quotes.
“Operators are rather in the way of mobile
applications distribution… internet traffic has the
lowest priority in mobile devices in comparison with
telephony… Who would want an application that
would work only if it had free resources not used for
telephony…Mobile internet prices…are making the
use of applications expensive and thus
unattractive…the investment in mobile applications
is still not very profitable”;
“The highest profit is made by standard
services…because of competition prices are falling
down and the operator has to be innovative and
constantly work on its services”;
“facing the treat to lose the customers loyalty and
become only the transport link to the end-user
services…the telecom operators should have the
leading role having in mind that the connectivity is
important” ;
“new services may be useful as well as a threat and
that is why they need to have a role in these
“The time needed for planning and designing a
mobile application is too long…the service is no
longer attractive or needed in the time of its
launching … there are other similar services”.
The findings of the data analysis highlight the key
points made by participants. We explore them
further by addressing the research questions and
developing propositions for a follow up empirical
investigation of MDS adoption and use. With
respect to positioning the propositions within the
extant literature on MDS customer adoption and use
we refer both to empirical work, and to work that
critically reviews prior results. As already mentioned
the literature on MDS supplier perceptions with
respect to MDS adoption is scarce; therefore, we
compare our findings to the outcomes of Shieh et
al.’s (2014) investigation. Shieh et al. examined the
relevant literature, extracted a range of factors found
to be affecting MDS customer adoption, and asked a
group of mobile telecommunication experts,
knowledgeable about MDS, to rank the factors
according to their perceived importance; the authors
report on factors ranked from one (most important)
to ten only.
The key points made in first global theme allow
to address explicitly the first two research questions
(i.e., MDS supplier views about customer
expectations, requirements, and attitude drivers, and
about the value of customer mobility support
features of MDS). Overall the data suggest that
according to MDS suppliers, customer attitude
towards MDS adoption and use is driven by
perceptions of service value, based on customers’
considerations about how much they need a
particular service, and how well the service is
expected to perform (or has performed).
In prior empirical research about customer
adoption of MDS perceived value is considered as
directly influencing customer intention to use and
actual use of MDS. Two dimensions - mobility
support and mobile technology performance related
features are identified in (Johansson and Andersson,
2015) and in (Al-Debei and Al-Lozi, 2014; Ervasti,
2013), respectively.
Our data indicate that customers are perceived as
not differentiating between the technologies used
rather considering mobile services as a specific new
type of online (Internet) services. Furthermore,
customers are perceived as evaluating the service
proposition according to their needs; while they
would expect services to take advantage of
innovative features such as anywhere/any time
access customers assess services primarily with
respect to meeting their specific requirements and
personal goals. These findings are similar to Shieh et
al., (2014) – in their study the factors related to
mobility support (“service accessibility” and “real-
timeliness”) are at the bottom of the ranking table (in
and 9
position, respectively).
While perceived service need varies with
individuals’ lifestyles, and also according to the
characteristics of specific customer market
segments, the dimensions of perceived service
quality are more uniform and include service
delivery quality (i.e., service availability and
support), and service performance quality (i. e.,
service functionality and service design, including
the user-friendliness of the interface). Partial
corroboration of these findings can be found in
(Shieh et al., 2014) where “network coverage”, and
“comprehensive customer service” are ranked 6
and 4
, respectively. However the constructs service
ICE-B 2016 - International Conference on e-Business
design and service functionality are not explicitly
included in the models reviewed.
We formulate the following propositions that
reflect MDS supplier views on customer attitudes
and expectations with respect to service value:
P1: Perceived service value influences positively
attitude towards MDS adoption.
P1.1: Perceived service need influences
positively perceived service value.
P1.2: Perceived mobility support influences
positively perceived service need.
Empirical research about customer adoption and
use of MDS also includes system quality (related to
performance quality) as an indirect factor
influencing (Ovčjak et al., 2015). In (Shieh et al.,
2014) two related factors – signal quality and
transmission speed, are ranked 2
and 7
respectively. We formulate the following
propositions that reflect MDS supplier views with
respect to service quality:
P2.1: Perceived service delivery quality
influences positively perceived service value.
P2.2: Perceived service performance quality
influences positively service value.
It was shown that two opposing views emerge
with respect to customer acceptance of service cost:
according to some, customers would be prepared to
accept the service cost if the service meets their
expectations and requirements while according to
others, customers will always prefer a low cost/free
service to a paid one regardless of the perceived
value. Furthermore, in the case of MDS that
compete with similar services offered through other
channels, customers have a choice, and may prefer a
non-mobile version of the service based on cost
Extant research has been inconclusive about the
role of perceived cost in MDS adoption and use. For
example, perceived cost is not explicitly included in
the model proposed by Troshani and Hill (2008)
which is based on a synthesis of prior research; in
the review by Sanakulov and Karjaluoto (2015),
while perceived cost is not found to influence MDS
adoption and use in mobile banking and mobile
learning studies, it is found to affect MDS adoption
and use in studies that do not focus on particular
services. Furthermore, in (Ovčjak et al., 2015)
perceived cost is part of the proposed conceptual
model for the adoption of mobile information
services but is not a factor in the mobile
entertainment, and mobile transaction conceptual
adoption models. However, the participants in
(Shieh et al., 2014) consider cost important
(“handset prices and transmission fees” are ranked
).We formulate the following propositions that
reflect MDS supplier views on customer attitude
towards MDS cost:
P3.1: Perceived service cost influences perceived
service value.
P3.2: Perceived service cost influences attitude
towards MDS adoption.
Global theme “Service providers face” provides
insights into the third research question (i.e., MDS
supplier views about the mobile service supply and
regulatory environment). We look at how MDS
supplier views about the service and regulatory
environment relate to the propositions developed
earlier, and allow to formulate new propositions.
First, participants are well aware of the
complexity of the customer market and the need to
deal with the high customer expectations but are
somewhat uncertain about what customers really
want. However participants are relatively optimistic
about the future of MDS seeing it as driven by rapid
technological progress that generates need for new
services. These views provide support for
proposition P1.1 developed earlier.
Second, an MDS supply environment related
factor affecting MDS adoption is the high network
access cost (supporting propositions P3.1.and P3.2).
Mobile technology limitations also play a role as
they make it difficult to achieve service design
comparable (in terms of design quality) with other
online services (supporting proposition P2.2).
Third, participants consider MDS viable in the
long term and see market opportunities such as
developing very specialized services (supporting
proposition P1) and taking advantage of innovative
technology opportunities to distribute services and
reach the target customer market (supporting
proposition P2.1).
Furthermore, participants identify offering an
innovative service ahead of other competitors as an
opportunity to develop a financially viable service.
While customers’ personal attitude towards
innovation is considered in empirical work, e.g., in
mobile banking adoption studies (Shaikh and
Karjaluoto, 2015); similarly personal innovativeness
is included in the conceptual model for mobile
transaction services adoption in (Ovčjak et al.,
2015), but not in their mobile information and
mobile entertainment conceptual adoption models.
We formulate the following proposition reflecting
MDS supplier views about the role of innovation as
a service design characteristic:
P2.3: Innovative service design and functionality
influences perceived service need.
Mobile Data Service Adoption and Use from a Service Supply Perspective - An Empirical Investigation
Finally, mobile network operators are seen as
reluctant to support MDS; the implications related to
perceived quality of service delivery are captured by
proposition P2.2. The regulatory environment is
seen as mature (with some applicable legislation
already in place), and relatively supportive, or at
least not presenting any significant obstacles to
MDS development and deployment. It may be
inferred that according to participants there is no
need for any specific further development in the
regulatory environment space.
The propositions developed above contribute
towards the development of an MDS customer
adoption model that takes into account the views of
MDS suppliers. The introduction of a new variable
(service need). in proposition P1, and service
specific variables (service delivery quality as
determined by perceived service availability and
support, and service performance quality as
determined by perceived service design and
functionality in propositions P2.1 and P2.2,
respectively) is in line with suggestions that there is
a need for new constructs and relationships when
studying the adoption and use of advanced
technologies (Sanakulov and Karjaluoto, 2015).
Propositions P2.1 and P2.2 can be considered as
a specific instance of the relationship between
quality and value as synthesised in (Cronin et al.,
2000); proposition P2.3 refers to service
innovativeness as a catalyst to service adoption
through its influence on perceived service need and
is, therefore, a facilitating condition (Rao and
Troshani, 2007). Last, the dual approach to
considering perceived service cost as both a value
forming factor (proposition P3.1), and an attitude
driver (proposition P3.2), may lead to a better
explanation of its role specifically with respect to
MDS adoption.
In this paper we present the findings of an empirical
study that looks at MDS provision and adoption
from the view point MDS suppliers, based on a
single case study. The study contributes to the
understanding of how MDS supply stakeholders
develop the related service value proposition – a
direction for further research suggested by Shaikh
and Karjaluoto (2015). More specifically, this study
develops propositions that may add an MDS supply
perspective to existing MDS customer adoption and
use models by considering customer perceived
service need, and delivery and performance quality
as major drivers of customer perceived service
With respect to practical implications, the
findings of the study imply that MDS need to be
developed with one or more specific customer
segments’ existing or potential needs in mind, and
with focus on overall service performance, customer
experience, and customer engagement. Second,
MDS suppliers should seek partnerships and
collaborations with infrastructure providers (e.g.,
MNOs) in order to develop more affordable
services, and increase customer service awareness.
The study has two major limitations. First,
empirical data were collected in 2010; however there
is evidence to suggest that the context of the study
has not changed significantly compared to 2010
(e.g., Kraleva et al., 2016, Otuzbirov and Aleksiev,
2015); therefore, the findings may still be relevant.
Second, the study is set in a specific country context,
and draws inferences from the interpretation and
inductive analysis of qualitative data; therefore,
extending the findings to other contexts and further
theory building may need conducting similar
investigations in different settings, based on the
same theoretical assumptions and applying the
methodology developed and tested, including the
data coding scheme.
Other directions for further research include
empirically validating the propositions, studying
factors that influence MDS supplier perceptions, and
investigating how MDS suppliers may see customers
as participants in the process of innovative service
value co-creation, for example, adapting the
consumer value co-creation framework proposed in
(Tuunanen et al., 2010). Finally, it would be of
interest to investigate how the prevailing MDS
business models facilitate the development of an
acceptable MDS value proposition, by integrating
the findings of this study with existing frameworks
e.g., Sharma and Gutiérrez’s (2010) mobile
commerce business model evaluation framework.
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Emerging Themes
“Difficult customers”
Customers difficult to satisfy, conservative.
Customer market difficult; Customers
conservative/inertia; Customers distrustful of innovation;
Customers distrustful of phones; Customers prefer well
known services; Segmentation by age – young customers;
Segmentation by attitude to innovation; Expectations
about quality high; Expectations difficult to meet;
Expectations for choice of services; Service to surpass
existing ones; Services not different from existing ones;
Lack of knowledge about customers.
Customer segmentation
Customer market very segmented
Segmentation by specificity of requirements;
Segmentation by age; Segmentation by self-efficacy;
Segmentation by socio-economic status; Segmentation is
multidimensional; Customers do not mix entertainment
and serious business; Decision influenced by cost – not;
Decision influenced by cost; Narrow customer base.
Attractive services
Appealing design and innovative features attract
Expectations for appealing service design; Expectations
for rich experience; Services that are attractive to
customers; Free trial increases popularity; Free services
attractive if modelled on successful paid ones; Paid
services less attractive; Customer motivation needed to
stimulate development.
Free services
Free services draw customer attention
Decision influenced by cost ongoing; Decision influenced
by service affordability; Expectations for low service
cost; Free services valued; Low cost service valued; Free
services not reliable; High service cost due to high data
cost; Free services profitable if very popular; Service
with some free functions may be successful; Cheap
applications already available.
Need for service
Services are viable if customers see them as meeting their
specific needs
Decision influenced by how much a service is needed;
Decision influenced by marketing; Service needs to be
meeting a need; Service not useful; Service not meeting a
need not valued; Attractive use scenarios exist.
ICE-B 2016 - International Conference on e-Business
Emerging Themes (cont.)
User friendly services
Customers require services to be ‘friendly
Customers require services to be friendly; Decision
influenced by ease of use; Service needs to be easy to use;
Usability valued.
Personal goals
Customers choose services based on personal goals
Service needs to focus on personal mobility; Service
needs to meet personal goals; Service saturation;
Anytime/anywhere services valued; Customer
empowerment; Services matching personal lifestyle
Service value
Customers look for service value
Decision influenced by added value; Decision influenced
by comparison; Decision influenced by compatibility;
Decision influenced by cost-effectiveness; Decision
influenced by service quality; Decision influenced by
social norm. Expectations for high service performance;
Expectations for service value; Expectations for support;
Service needs to be convenient; Connection with other
devices valued; Paid services with support valued;
Security fears.
Optimistic providers
Service providers believe in the future of mobiles services
Current use; Need for entertainment services; Changing
market; Competition; Environment; First on the market;
User experience; Viability potential; Successful models
Service innovation
Mobile technology offers potential that can be captured
through innovative approaches
Limitations due to device design; Technology not
available yet; Technology limits architecture; Service
needs to be technologically implementable; Potential
opportunities; Opportunities offered by device design;
Opportunities to distribute services; Opportunities to
support customers; Uncertainty about technology
Regulatory environment opportunistic
Regulatory environment not restrictive, offers
Regulations exist that are also applicable; No regulations;
Regulation needed – some; Regulatory environment - lack
of awareness; Regulatory environment supportive;
Regulatory environment moderately supportive;
Regulatory environment changing.
Operators as a barrier
Mobile network operators act as a barrier to mobile
service development
Operators as a barrier to service; High investment cost;
Lack of operator support for development; Low quality of
service due to lack of operator support.
Operators threatened
Mobile network operators are facing a threat
Loosing competitive advantage; [Other] Players;
Uncertainty about MNOs.
Mobile Data Service Adoption and Use from a Service Supply Perspective - An Empirical Investigation