Mobile telecommunication firms have increasingly found Sub-Saharan Africa to be a favorable location for business and investment. We explore the competitive actions and responses of the multinational MNOs in three of the leading sub-regional markets: Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa based on the conventional content analysis of online-sourced data from the time the first major competitive move was made in each market until 2015. Our findings suggest that smaller, later-entrant operators seeking enhanced subscriber bases and competitive positions often initiated competitive rivalries. Defensive responses from mainly the main market leaders only resulted in further attacks, with response speed and intensity depending on the pervasiveness of the initial attack and firm strategy. The ability to preempt rivals’ potential moves offered a competitive advantage whereas price undercutting, new technologies and government protection served as the main competitive weapons. Neither the initial attackers nor market defenders emerged as the absolute winner in the aggressive competitive rivalries, which also negatively affected the subscribers.
Key words: Competition, Competitive rivalries, Actions and responses, Mobile network operators (MNOs), Sub-Saharan Africa.
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