Platform-Based Business Models in Future Mobile Operator Business

Purpose: As an emerging field, the fifth generation, 5G, mobile communications technologies related business models have only been discussed to a limited extent in the literature, and platform business models in general have seldom been examined. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to explore how to understand and capture the evolution of future platform-based ecosystemic business models in 5G?Approach: With roots in economics and engineering, this study has an intrinsically dualistic perspective to platform business utilizing the 4C ecosystemic framework and the as a Service (aaS) digital service business model typologies. This research follows a cyclical process of research-oriented action research, collecting data in two phases from the future-oriented World Cafe workshops held at Nokia RadioActive! user group event in Espoo in November 2017 and 6G Wireless Summit in Levi in March 2019.Findings: The paper uncovers the extended ecosystemic platform architecture for the business model and ecosystem research consisting of components, interfaces, data and algorithms.Value: We are currently lacking a coherent approach for researching platform-based ecosystemic business models as the extant discussions tend to focus either on ecosystem(ic) features of business models or platform business models that, however, share common characteristics. The study adopts a value-based and service-dominant lens focused on business model research at the ecosystemic level. For the first time, the study introduces the extended ecosystemic platform architecture, investigating how this business framework can enable the transformation of the 5G.