Cross-border Investment Location Choices and Competitive Interactions of Mobile Network Operators in Sub-Saharan Africa

Research summary

Spurred by the quest for improved performance, industrial firms have often embraced the international market, consequent to which they are continually embroiled in cross-border competitive rivalries in multiple markets. Against this backdrop, this study explores the cross-border investment location choices and competitive interactions of mobile network operators (MNOs) in Sub-Saharan Africa, with particular focus on the 16 such firms that had proven significant presence across multiple countries in the region as of 2014.


The major findings from the first of the three papers (note that the study is for my PhD dissertation), reflect that institution-related factors (such as colonial ties and level of corruption) and firm’s international experience play important roles in the cross-border investment location decisions of MNOs in the 49-country region. Similarly, the second paper shows that the MNOs engage both in aggressive head-to-head competition and mutual avoidance strategies. Finally, the third paper reveals that the MNOs employ price undercutting as the main weapon for their aggressive action-response strategies, with the smaller later entrants often being the initiators. As these findings either support or contradict the extant literature, the study provides useful empirical insights for extending our present understanding of the cross-border expansion and competitive rivalries of service-sector firms from the perspective of the MNOs in the fast emerging SSA regional market.

Research info

Research title
Cross-border Investment Location Choices and Competitive Interactions of Mobile Network Operators in Sub-Saharan Africa

Research timeline
1.9.2012 - 1.5.2017

Competitive Interactions Cross-border Expansion Mobile Network Operators sub-Saharan Africa


Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Congo, The Democratic Republic Of The, Cote D'ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome And Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, United Republic Of, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Aalto University School of Business
Management Studies
Helsinki, Finland

Funding instrument

Head of research
Professor Elizabeth L. Rose

Contact information

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