Characteristics of mobile technology diffusion - Quantitative research of mobile handset features

Antti Riikonen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


Rapid innovation in the mobile industry, and the consequent evolution of mobile handsets from basic phones to advanced multipurpose devices, causes new challenges for the research on mobile technology diffusion. Previous innovation diffusion research has focused on explaining how and why the mobile telephony and mobile handset generations spread. However, these levels of analysis provide limited understanding on the diffusion of individual technologies and product features. The purpose of this dissertation is to measure, conceptualize, and provide empirical evidence on how new mobile technologies spread. The focus is on mobile handset feature diffusion, and especially on factory-installed software and hardware features. For the research, several quantitative datasets were collected from Finland during 2003-2012. These data provide complementing viewpoints, from mobile handset sales volumes, prices, and device installed base to mobile service usage, enabling holistic analysis of the phenomenon. The research provides a methodological contribution by creating a framework for measuring the diffusion of complex technological innovations, and by comparing several methods and datasets. The results highlight the importance of using clearly defined measures when analyzing technology diffusion, due to the differences in the available datasets. Theoretical contributions of the research include applying well-known diffusion models to the new dataset and providing empirical evidence on the relationship of mobile handset features and lifetimes. The dissertation also provides domain-understanding on mobile technology diffusion patterns and their practical implications. Mobile technology diffusion follows an s-shaped pattern, with high variations in the duration of the introduction stage prior to the takeoff with fast growth. The research also found typical price levels for mobile technology and feature takeoff, and associations between mobile handset sales and prices to be relatively linear for the technologies. Overall, the traditional innovation diffusion research methods were found to be applicable for studying mobile technology and product feature diffusion.
Translated title of the contributionMobiiliteknologioiden leviämisen ominaispiirteet: Kvantitatiivinen tutkimus matkapuhelinten ominaisuuksista
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Hämmäinen, Heikki, Supervisor
  • Töyli, Juuso, Advisor
  • Smura, Timo, Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-7186-2
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-7185-5
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • Technological innovation
  • diffusion
  • mobile handset
  • product feature
  • Internet protocol

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