AT&T, BT and NTT: A Comparison of Vision, Strategy and Competence

Martin Fransman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AT&T, BT, and NTT are the largest telecommunications service providers in the USA, UK, and Japan, respectively, and until the mid‐1980s, the three companies were monopoly suppliers of telecommunications services in their own national markets. But then all three companies were confronted by similar changes in their environments: more specifically, as a result of changing beliefs on the part of their governments and regulatory authorities, they all faced competition from vigorous new entrants. At the same time, their legal status was changed, with AT&T being divested of and separated from the regional Bell operating companies, and BT and NTT being partly privatized. Simultaneously, the companies had to deal with the maturation of the market for telephone services––the growing importance of new telecommunications services, and the rapid globalization of both service and equipment markets. This chapter looks at: how the three companies have responded to these similar changes in their environment; whether they have constructed similar visions in order to deal with the threats and opportunities resulting from the changes; what differences there are in the strategies developed and in their beliefs regarding the necessary in‐house competences to take advantage of their changing circumstances; and what role should be played by research and development (R&D), and how this should be organized within the company.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 137-153
Number of pages17
JournalTelecommunications Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • USA
  • vision
  • change
  • beliefs
  • AT&T
  • BT
  • companies
  • competence
  • firms
  • globalization
  • Japan
  • market competition
  • monopolies
  • NTT
  • path dependency
  • privatization
  • research and development
  • strategy
  • telecommunications service providers
  • UK


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