nep-ict New Economics Papers
on Information and Communication Technologies
Issue of 2023‒10‒30
twenty-two papers chosen by
Marek Giebel, Universität Dortmund

  1. The Characteristics and Geographic Distribution of Robot Hubs in U.S. Manufacturing Establishments By Erik Brynjolfsson; Catherine Buffington; Nathan Goldschlag; J. Frank Li; Javier Miranda; Robert Seamans
  2. The Impact of Shared Telecom Infrastructure on Digital Connectivity and Inclusion By Houngbonon, Georges V.; Ivaldi, Marc; Palikot, Emil; Strusani, Davide
  3. Regulation of Big Tech in the EU By Windekilde, Iwona; Henten, Anders
  4. ICT use for learning and students' outcomes: Do the country's development level matter? By Vargas-Montoya, Luis; Gimenez, Gregorio; Fernández-Gutiérrez, Marcos
  5. The Political Economy of Broadband Cost Recovery: South Korea, USA and EU By Layton, Roslyn; Potgieter, Petrus
  6. Artificial intelligence, complementary assets and productivity: evidence from French firms By Flavio Calvino; Luca Fontanelli
  7. Comparative Techno-Economic Evaluation of 5G Infrastructure Sharing Business Models in European Rural Areas By Ioannou, Nikos; Kokkinis, Dimitris; Katsianis, Dimitris; Varoutas, Dimitris
  8. European Gigabit Society progress: how to stimulate further deployments of high-speed broadband networks? By Ferrandis, Jesús; Ramos, Sergio; Feijóo, Claudio
  9. Techno-nationalism/-globalism/-socialism over information and communication technology (ICT): The International Political Economy of U.S.-China Technological Hegemony and EU's Social Shaping By Kawamata, Takahiro
  10. The Extent of Innovation in Philippine Business and Industry: Results of the 2021 PIDS Survey of Innovation Activities By Serafica, Ramonette B.; Albert, Jose Ramon G.; Quimba, Francis Mark A.; Vizmanos, Jana Flor V.; Muñoz, Mika S.; Andrada, Abigail E.; Moreno, Neil Irwin S.; Hernandez, Angelo C.
  11. Anticipating High-Speed Broadband Penetration: A Multi-Country Pre-Launch Forecasting Study By Petre, Konstantin; Chipouras, Aristides; Katsianis, Dimitris; Varoutas, Dimitris
  12. Mobile Network Operators' Business Risks in Next-Generation Public Safety Services By Savunen, Tapio; Kekolahti, Pekka; Mähönen, Petri; Hämmäinen, Heikki; Kilkki, Kalevi
  13. A 6G Techno-Economic Framework for evaluating the feasibility of the proposed technology enablers and business models By Kokkinis, Dimitris; Ioannou, Nikos; Katsianis, Dimitris; Varoutas, Dimitris
  14. Exploring the heterogeneous link between broadband investment and coverage expansion using Unconditional Quantile Regressions By Jung, Juan; Katz, Raúl
  15. Virtualised and open RAN role in overhaul of mobile network sharing regulation in Europe for 5G rollout By Földes, Gábor
  16. Hedonic price comparison of fixed broadband services: a Hungarian case study By Papai, Zoltan; McLean, Aliz; Bukur, Tamas
  17. Working Without Borders: The Promise and Peril of Online Gig Work By Datta, Namita; Rong, Chen; Singh, Sunamika; Stinshoff, Clara; Iacob, Nadina; Nigatu, Natnael Simachew; Nxumalo, Mpumelelo; Klimaviciute, Luka
  18. Space related school project to improve digital competences for high school teachers and students: CanSat Spain case study By Escutia-Muñoz, Domingo; Martín-García, Rodrigo; Ruiz-Rúa, Aurora
  19. Smart City Logistics Enabled by Digital Twins and Semantic Technologies By Yu Liu; Shenle Pan; Pauline Folz; Thomas Hassan; Philippe Raipin- Parvedy; Eric Ballot
  20. What do telecommunications policy academics have to fear from GPT-3? By Howell, Bronwyn E.; Potgieter, Petrus H.
  21. Singapore's Smart Nation Program and potential lessons for the European Union's Digital Decade program By Pereira, Francis; Lee, Bernard; Fife, Elizabeth
  22. Cluster Initiatives and Economic Resilience: Evidence from a Technology Cluster in Argentina By Díaz de Astarloa, Bernardo; Tacsir, Ezequiel

  1. By: Erik Brynjolfsson (Stanford University and NBER); Catherine Buffington (U.S. Census Bureau); Nathan Goldschlag (U.S. Census Bureau); J. Frank Li (Stanford University); Javier Miranda (Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH), and Friedrich-Schiller University Jena); Robert Seamans (New York University)
    Abstract: We use data from the Annual Survey of Manufactures to study the characteristics and geography of investments in robots across U.S. manufacturing establishments. We find that robotics adoption and robot intensity (the number of robots per employee) is much more strongly related to establishment size than age. We find that establishments that report having robotics have higher capital expenditures, including higher information technology (IT) capital expenditures. Also, establishments are more likely to have robotics if other establishments in the same Core-Based Statistical Area (CBSA) and industry also report having robotics. The distribution of robots is highly skewed across establishments’ locations. Some locations, which we call Robot Hubs, have far more robots than one would expect even after accounting for industry and manufacturing employment. We characterize these Robot Hubs along several industry, demographic, and institutional dimensions. The presence of robot integrators and higher levels of union membership are positively correlated with being a Robot Hub.
    Keywords: robot, technology adoption, manufacturing, labor
    Date: 2023–10–05
  2. By: Houngbonon, Georges V.; Ivaldi, Marc; Palikot, Emil; Strusani, Davide
    Abstract: A substantial number of individuals remains unconnected to the Internet despite an increasing emphasis on infrastructure-based competition. This paper investigates the impact of shared telecom infrastructure on digital connectivity and inclusion using a new dataset on mobile tower sharing transactions between 2008 and 2020, i.e., acquisitions of towers by independent companies from mobile network operators to be rented back to all operators. Estimates based on differencein- differences with different timing of treatment suggest that these transactions resulted in a significant drop in the price of mobile connectivity as well as an increase in availability and uptake of mobile Internet, especially by rural households and women. Our findings suggest that increased competition intensity through reduced market concentration appears to be the main driver of these outcomes.
    Keywords: Mobile Telecommunications, Vertical Integration, Digital Technology Adoption
    JEL: L96 L14 O14
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Windekilde, Iwona; Henten, Anders
    Abstract: During the past few years, there has been a steeply increasing political interest in regulating Big Tech companies and digital platforms in general. For many years, from the establishment of the first Internet-based IT companies and onwards, the dominant political view has been that policymaking should, to a large extent, stay away from regulating or only lightly regulate the Internet-based industries. The risk of doing more harm than good would be too high - not having sufficient knowledge on how these industries would develop and risking constraining the innovativeness of the Internet-based industries. This has clearly changed today. In Europe as well as the US and elsewhere around the world, policy initiatives are taken to regulate Big Tech and the Internet-based industries in general. This applies to the protection of individuals/users/consumers as well as regulating competition. The reason is that a consensus has been gaining ground that we now have sufficient experience not only with the benefits to the economy, to users, and society as such of the developments of Internet and Internet-based industries but also with the downsides in terms of harm to individuals/users/consumers and social and political relations and institutions and to small and upcoming innovative companies. This has led to an increasing surge in rules and regulations for the protection of individuals as well as the competitive conditions on markets. The aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the ongoing and upcoming trends in Big Tech regulation with a focus on EU. Emphasis is on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) though it is well understood that there are other kinds of regulation that also affect digital platforms including Big Tech companies. (...)
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Vargas-Montoya, Luis; Gimenez, Gregorio; Fernández-Gutiérrez, Marcos
    Abstract: The use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) in educational systems has become a policy priority over the last decades. However, empirical evidence is inconclusive on whether there is a positive relationship between ICT use and students' outcomes. The literature has largely ignored the role that the country context, and in particular the country's development level, may play in shaping this relationship. This paper empirically addresses whether the relationship between ICT use for learning at school and students' outcomes differs from developed to developing countries. We employ data for 236, 540 students attending 10, 193 schools in 44 countries, obtained from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA 2018). We use two alternative measures to classify the countries by their development level: The Gross National Income (GNI) per capita and the Human Development Index (HDI). The estimations, based on a Hierarchical Linear Model, show a negative relationship between ICT use for learning at school and students' outcomes. This negative relationship is more negative for students from developing countries than for those from developed countries. These findings imply that policymakers should be cautious about replicating interventions and technological applications from developed to developing countries (and vice versa).
    Keywords: ICT use, education, development, income, PISA
    Date: 2023
  5. By: Layton, Roslyn; Potgieter, Petrus
    Abstract: The United Nations in pursuit of global connectivity estimates a gap in broadband investment of $2 trillion and the stalling of internet adoption for lack of access and affordability. To ensure broadband access and affordability for end users, policymakers now explore broadband cost recovery, a rational, linear process to account for and attribute network traffic and cost to its source and the associated augmentation of financing to ensure the economic sustainability of broadband networks. The political economy of the evolving cost recovery approaches in South Korea, the United States, and the European Union are compared for philosophy, shortfall, goal, policy instrument, and legislation. The categories of recovery solutions (market-based, regulatory, or technological) are described with associated policy instruments (market-based negotiation, contributions to universal service etc.). Broadband Cost recovery is pursued for more than the nominal need to address market shortfalls, but for social goals such as affordability, fundamental rights, and the legitimacy of the state itself. As digitization and broadband-enabled technologies become increasingly integrated, the set of broadband regulatory policies is an important activity of government. Nations increasingly consider broadband cost recovery policy in light of their connectivity goals and attempt to optimize the business models of the digital economy to resolve shortfalls in broadband investment, adoption, and affordability. European regulatory policymaking is explored as something more than merely serving political interests but in delivering the larger goal of European Union legitimacy within the global sphere. European Union appears to increasingly call upon fundamental rights as justification for state intervention. This is contrasted with the US approach of pragmatism in technology policy, where the role of "rights" frequently vitiates regulation and state intervention. South Korea appears to maintain its approach of strengthening its long-standing framework to deliver global broadband technology leadership.
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Flavio Calvino; Luca Fontanelli
    Abstract: In this work we characterise French firms using artificial intelligence (AI) and explore the link between AI use and productivity. We relevantly distinguish AI users that source AI from external providers (AI buyers) from those developing their own AI systems (AI developers). AI buyers tend to be larger than other firms, while AI developers are also younger. The share of firms using AI is highest in the ICT sector, which exhibits a particularly high share of developers. Complementary assets, including skills, digital capabilities and infrastructure, play a key role for AI use, with AI buyers and developers leveraging different types of human capital. Overall, AI users tend to be more productive, however this appears largely related to the self-selection of more productive and digital-intensive firms into AI use. This is not the case for AI developers, for which the positive link between AI use and productivity remains evident beyond selection, suggesting a positive effect of AI on their productivity.
    Keywords: Technology Diffusion; Artificial Intelligence; Digitalisation; Productivity.
    Date: 2023–10–13
  7. By: Ioannou, Nikos; Kokkinis, Dimitris; Katsianis, Dimitris; Varoutas, Dimitris
    Abstract: The deployment of 5G standalone (5G SA) broadband networks in European rural areas lags behind urban and suburban regions due to high infrastructure costs and the unique characteristics of these areas. However, the advancements in 5G and Beyond-5G (B5G) telecommunication networks have presented new opportunities for cost-effective network deployment through infrastructure sharing. This paper conducts a comprehensive techno-economic study to determine the most cost-effective infrastructure sharing business model for providing affordable broadband in European rural areas, taking into account the specific attributes of each country. By examining real data from EU statistics and considering diverse infrastructure sharing scenarios, the study aims to bridge the research gap regarding the evaluation of 5G infrastructure sharing models on a per-country basis. The study applies a bottom-up model based on Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) analysis, encompassing both Mobile Broadband and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) use cases. Leveraging the Eurostat database for geographical and demand data, the research utilizes logistic models to forecast demand based on the diffusion characteristics of broadband telecom services. The techno-economic analysis is adjusted for different infrastructure sharing models, including Single Host Network (SHN), Multiple Host Network (MHN) via Passive Sharing and Active Sharing, and Neutral Host Network (NHN). The paper presents total cost results, CAPEX/OPEX outcomes, Net Present Value (NPV), Return on Investment (ROI), and payback periods for each infrastructure sharing model in each country group consisting of European countries with similar density characteristics. Sensitivity and risk analyses are conducted to identify the most influential factors affecting the investment viability for each model and case. Moreover, the study examines the profitability of each scenario, considering the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) and demand conditions necessary for investment sustainability. The discussion encompasses the reuse of existing infrastructure, network slicing implications, and regulatory policy considerations.
    Keywords: techno-economic feasibility, 5G Standalone, rural, infrastructure sharing, network slicing, neutral host, business models
    Date: 2023
  8. By: Ferrandis, Jesús; Ramos, Sergio; Feijóo, Claudio
    Abstract: This paper examines the challenges and progress in meeting the European Gigabit Society's (EGS) targets for high-speed broadband networks and explores the implications of the new targets set for the Digital Decade (DD). With a focus on the availability of gigabit connectivity and 5G networks, the study analyses the existing gaps and their evolution from June 2017 to June 2021. The analysis highlights the significant disparity in broadband deployment, particularly in rural areas, where network operators and private investors face financial constraints and uncertainty regarding returns on investment. By utilizing the latest available data, this research estimates the remaining investment gap to achieve the EGS and DD targets and identifies areas where the gaps are most pronounced. Furthermore, the study assesses the probability of closing these gaps within the specified timeframe. The lack of transparency regarding specific areas and populations without coverage is identified as an additional hurdle for stakeholders and public-private initiatives seeking to initiate actions. In addressing these challenges, the paper proposes alternatives to facilitate network rollouts in rural areas, aiming to bridge the gaps and bring coverage closer to the EGS and DD objectives. This research sheds light on the state of broadband deployment, highlighting areas that face higher risks and challenges. By doing so, it contributes to our understanding of the feasibility of achieving the EGS and DD targets and provides valuable insights to inform strategies aimed at enhancing connectivity in underserved regions.
    Date: 2023
  9. By: Kawamata, Takahiro
    Abstract: The struggle for technological supremacy between the U.S. and China that has emerged over the 5G mobile network has spread to various aspects of the international community, ranging from issues of national security to the protection of personal information. Originally, information and communication technology were closely related to national military technology, and it can be said that the development of this technological field has changed the form of warfare in the past world wars and in the postwar Cold War structure. Today, this field is being extended to include not only outer space but also cyberspace as a new area of conflict. On the other hand, in the economic realm as well, real space is becoming more integrated with virtual space, and as virtual space is swallowing up real space, VR, AR, and the world of the metaverse are becoming more expansive. This struggle for hegemony over the information and communication technology (ICT) domain is transcending national frameworks and revealing a structure in which global markets incorporate local climates, creating geopolitical and economic conflicts of principles and values. Bloomer (2021) describes a geopolitical situation in which big tech companies are emerging as players in the U.S.-China conflict and the world order, where "globalism" (Apple, Google, Facebook) and "nationalism" (Amazon, Microsoft / Alibaba, ByteDance, Huawei) and "techno-utopianism" (Tesra). In addition to these players, however, suppliers of digital products, services, and information flows to build information and telecommunications infrastructures include Ericsson and Nokia in Europe, Samsung in Korea, Huawei in China, and the semiconductor industry supply chain in Taiwan, as well as in Europe, the United States, Japan, and China. The supply chain of Taiwan's semiconductor industry, along with those of Europe, the U.S., Japan, and China, is also influencing technonationalism. This paper analyzes and discusses the balance of power among nations over technological hegemony in the industrial ecology and geopolitical economics power structure issues of information and communication technology using an international political economy approach.
    Keywords: Technological Hegemony, International Political Economy, Structural Powers, "Big Tech (Platformers)", GPT (General Purpose Technology), "Technosocialism"
    Date: 2023
  10. By: Serafica, Ramonette B.; Albert, Jose Ramon G.; Quimba, Francis Mark A.; Vizmanos, Jana Flor V.; Muñoz, Mika S.; Andrada, Abigail E.; Moreno, Neil Irwin S.; Hernandez, Angelo C.
    Abstract: Following Schumpeter’s ideas, the Oslo Manual defines innovation as “the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organizational method in business practices, workplace organization or external relations”. With the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, governments have become even more cognizant of innovation as a major driver of economic performance, from output to productivity and competitiveness. The Philippine government acknowledges its role in establishing and maintaining a conducive policy environment to encourage innovation and support the country’s innovation ecosystem. Examining innovation and its relation to economic growth, the study involves the conduct and analysis of the 2021 PIDS Survey of Innovation Activities (PSIA). Unlike the first PSIA undertaken in 2015 and a pilot of the survey conducted in 2009, the 2021 PSIA provides a nationally representative reading of the entire Philippine business and industry. The survey suggests that as of 2021, a third (33.6%) of firms are innovation active, with innovation practiced more among medium and large establishments than micro and small ones. Moreover, innovation is much more prevalent in Mindanao, among major islands, and in information and communications technology firms (and least in agriculture). Aside from the information on innovation activities, data on the use of digital platforms by Philippine businesses were also gathered in the 2021 PSIA in recognition of the expanding markets arising from rising digitalization and more rapid use of the internet, even by micro, small and medium enterprises. The survey results of the 2021 PSIA are expected to be inputs on how government can be more successful in mainstreaming innovation in the country. Comments to this paper are welcome within 60 days from the date of posting. Email
    Keywords: innovation;product innovation;process innovation;organizational innovation;marketing innovation;Fourth Industrial Revolution;platform economy;digital platforms;micro, small, and medium enterprises;MSMEs
    Date: 2023
  11. By: Petre, Konstantin; Chipouras, Aristides; Katsianis, Dimitris; Varoutas, Dimitris
    Abstract: The objective of this study is to develop a new approach for pre-launch forecasting of the highspeed broadband diffusion among European community countries. However, producing such forecasts is a complex and challenging task mainly provided that past time series data concerning the relative telecom services are unavailable. Besides, multiple factors can affect adoptions such as customer heterogeneity as well as macro-economic and technological conditions. So, a multicountry method that incorporates well known diffusion models is proposed. By econometric assistance, our approach aims to capture more reliable projections in cases where the penetration is extremely immature due to lack of data. Concerning the broadband penetration in terms of download speed, rates as 100 Mbps or more seems to be mature in most countries. However, even for countries as Sweden and Romania, where penetration reached too high in downlink category (1000 Mbps or more), safe and accurate predictions cannot be deployed, as the diffusion of innovation theory argues that the level of penetration must be at least above the turning point. This area of research is important for telecom operators, as the overestimating of the demand can lead to excess inventory, while an underestimation can incurs significant opportunity costs and reduced market share.
    Keywords: Multi-country diffusion, Multi-generation diffusion, Pre-launch forecasting, Bass model, Multivariate linear regression
    Date: 2023
  12. By: Savunen, Tapio; Kekolahti, Pekka; Mähönen, Petri; Hämmäinen, Heikki; Kilkki, Kalevi
    Abstract: Field of research - This research is in the field of public safety communications in mobile broadband 4G/5G networks. Its specific focus is mobile network operators and their business risks in the public safety market. Purpose - This research is intended to provide a qualitative model of MNOs' business risks in the public safety business. The risk assessment covers the business model used in European public safety mobile broadband projects, which is used in three of five ongoing projects. Methods and data - A qualitative method was used for the current research. The risk model is an influence diagram, which is a directed graph consisting of nodes and arcs. The risk model uses the causal taxonomy of risk, which is commonly used for qualitative and quantitative causal models based on Bayesian networks. An expert panel and the Delphi method were used to create the risk model. The expert panel's risk assessment was conducted using a case study that followed the model of European public safety projects. Findings - The risk model shows that business risks are a threat to the financial goals of MNOs' public safety business. The potential consequences of the risks are additional costs, contractual penalties, and lost service revenue. They can also have a negative impact on the MNO''s regular business, which in the worst case can lead to a loss of market share and revenue. All of these have a negative impact on the MNOs' financial results. Value - This research brings new knowledge about MNOs' business risks in next-generation public safety services. Procurement authorities can use the results when planning public procurements in the field of mobile broadband public safety services. MNOs can benefit from these results by gaining a better understanding of potential risks, their consequences, and their control and mitigation in public safety projects.
    Keywords: mobile network operator, public safety, business risk, risk model, mobile broadband
    Date: 2023
  13. By: Kokkinis, Dimitris; Ioannou, Nikos; Katsianis, Dimitris; Varoutas, Dimitris
    Abstract: The last years have witnessed a surge in research papers focusing on the visions, enabling technologies, use cases, business models, and applications of 6G Wireless Communications Networks. While the technological advancements have garnered significant attention, the technoeconomic feasibility of these proposed solutions remains unanswered. Due to the performance improvements over 5G and the necessary network densification, the implementation of a new 6G network is anticipated to incur significant infrastructure expenses. However, these expenditures can be reduced with careful planning and a smooth transition from 5G to 6G. It is crucial to study this transition and the interplay between parameters such as anticipated technologies, applications, services, business models, and policies to ensure the affordability of 6G systems. This research aims to provide a first, comprehensive technoeconomic framework capable of evaluating proposed technologies, use cases, and business models for the evolution of 6G wireless communications, in comparison to 5G deployments. The framework seeks to address fundamental questions such as the cost-effectiveness of adopting specific technologies in the deployment phase and the feasibility of proposed business models in terms of revenue generation and demand assumptions. Such knowledge is invaluable to researchers, engineers, regulators, and other industry actors as it enables quantification and assessment of different 6G deployments and investments. Additionally, it paves the way for an open, cross-industry dialogue on the economic prospects of 6G within a clear framework. Assessing various technology combinations prior to the standardization of 6G offers a significant advantage in terms of globally economical, high-capacity, and low-latency road mapping for broadband access. By developing a technoeconomic framework that considers both technical and economic aspects, this research contributes to the understanding and planning of 6G networks. The framework aids in the evaluation and selection of technologies and business models that align with cost-effective deployment strategies. Ultimately, it enables stakeholders to make informed decisions regarding the future development and deployment of 6G wireless communication networks.
    Keywords: 6G mobile communication, Business models, Techno-economic analysis, 5G mobile communication, Technology enablers, Feasibility
    Date: 2023
  14. By: Jung, Juan; Katz, Raúl
    Abstract: One of the primary challenges of the telecommunications industry is to address the broadband connectivity divide. Policy makers, regulators, and network operators are in need to understand the amount of capital required to address this gap and generate solid evidence upon which policy options and regulatory remedies should be discussed. To date, most studies aimed at estimating the investment associated with broadband deployment have consisted in ad-hoc approaches based on cost modelling based on average estimations, which lack rigor in terms of considering differences in technologies, topography, and population density. In this paper we propose a general approach, based on the use of Unconditional Quantile Regressions (UQR), that addresses the heterogeneities that arise from considering differentiated coverage targets and investment required across the different deployment phases. Our tool was found to successfully account for the increasing investment to fulfil coverage targets. Moreover, it can be applicable to a wide range of countries, as robustness checks conducted provided evidence of being suitable, to some extent, for countries with more geographic challenges (e.g., mountains, forests, etc.). On this basis, the estimated UQR coefficients were also used to simulate 4G, 5G and FTTH expansion for scenarios of accelerated deployments in Latin America, by trading off cost and target network quality requirements. We simulated some coverage goals above the current trends for 2030, targeting on average 98% of the population covered by 4G, 80% of the population covered by 5G, and two-thirds of households passed by FTTH. For the overall Latin America region, the extra capital needed above current investment trends accounts for $17, 101 million over the period 2023-2029. Considering this challenge, potential regulatory remedies are considered.
    Keywords: Broadband, 4G, 5G, FTTH, Coverage, Investment, Digital Divide
    Date: 2023
  15. By: Földes, Gábor
    Abstract: There is an investment gap to reach EU Digital Decade 2030 connectivity targets, requires from operators to provide full broadband fixed and mobile coverage. The reason is the lack of economies of scale, therefore return on investment often lags behind cost of capital in fragmented European national markets. Operators argue for market consolidation in form of horizontal merger, or at least market cooperation, like mobile network sharing. Operators accept horizontal production agreement network sharing as a second best solution, however the bottleneck is the regulatory approval of urban full (active and passive) radio access network (RAN) sharing. Regulators still insist on parallel infrastructure-based competition instead of service-based competition on the same infrastructure. Virtualisation and open RAN technology enablers of mobile 5G transform the industry from closed to open market organisations, where multivendor upstream market competition also strengthen operator downstream and end-user retail market competitions. The research question focused on how virtualized and open RAN with open market multivendor concept could mitigate regulatory anticompetitive concerns of network sharing in high density urban areas in end-user mobile services downstream market competition. The research methodology built on qualitative techniques due to new technology development and limited available data. Exploratory analysis covers relevant academic, research institutes and consultancy papers. Secondary market insight data used for market development analysis. The main finding is that, virtualised and open RAN intensifies competition, differentiation and innovation at vendor upstream market that has similar spillover effect to operator downstream and end-user retail markets. Due to network function virtualisation, software-based competition would permit higher economies of scale via network sharing at least in the physical hardware infrastructure segment, not only in passive, but also for active assets. The novelty of the paper to focus on the bottleneck of mobile network sharing approval in case of urban active RAN sharing and connects with open RAN as a potential mitigation opportunity to resolve regulatory uncertainty and promote an issue of new regulatory guidance on mobile network sharing, helping both operators and customers, resulting a social welfare increase.
    Keywords: network sharing, competition regulation, virtualisation, open RAN, 5G, cost efficiency, economies of scale
    Date: 2023
  16. By: Papai, Zoltan; McLean, Aliz; Bukur, Tamas
    Abstract: This study examines the changes in consumer prices within the fixed broadband market in Hungary between 2020 and 2022, a period marked by unprecedented market consolidation. Leveraging a hedonic price regression methodology, we inspect price changes in the context of internet service provider (ISP) differences, inflation, and various service features offered in broadband plans. The hedonic method allows for quality-adjusted price tracking over time, in addition to offering insights into the intrinsic value placed on various plan characteristics by consumers. The overall hedonic price index calculated in this study shows a 9.9% decrease in quality-adjusted prices over two years, suggesting enhanced value-for-money for customers. This is striking next to over 20% inflation, as shown by the consumer price index. Moreover, our results show that there are no significant price differences between the wellestablished ISPs, while the challenger third player has continued to exert strong competitive pressure by applying significantly lower quality-adjusted prices. However, given this player's involvement in the recent market consolidation, we anticipate that their pricing will align more closely with other ISPs' in the future. The estimated intrinsic prices of the various fixed broadband plan characteristics are consistent with previous literature. The study underlines the utility of the hedonic methodology in providing nuanced insights into ISP pricing behaviour and fixed retail telecom market dynamics. The study opens up potential areas for future research, such as extending the analysis to television and voice telephony and monitoring future trends in light of the recent changes in market structure.
    Keywords: hedonic regression, telecommunications, fixed broadband, pricing, Hungary
    Date: 2023
  17. By: Datta, Namita; Rong, Chen; Singh, Sunamika; Stinshoff, Clara; Iacob, Nadina; Nigatu, Natnael Simachew; Nxumalo, Mpumelelo; Klimaviciute, Luka
    Abstract: Jobs are crucial for individual well-being. They provide a livelihood and, equally important, a sense of dignity. They are also crucial for collective well-being and economic growth. Over the past decade, technology has fundamentally shifted traditional work patterns, creating new ways in which work is contracted, performed, managed, scheduled, and remunerated. New business models, digital platform firms, are allowing the effects of technology to reach more people more quickly, bringing economic opportunity to millions of people who do not live in industrialized countries or even industrial areas, simply with access to broadband and a digital device (World Bank 2019). Digital labor platforms play a role in the process of structural transformation especially by triggering organizational and occupational transformations, for example, by enhancing labor productivity and formalization in service sectors (Nayyar, Hallward-Driemeier, and Davies 2021). New forms of work, known as gig jobs, enabled by digital platforms, have now gained momentum (Eurofound 2020).
    Keywords: Gig jobs; youth employment; women; skills; technology; jobs; social protection; labor transformation; digital platforms.
    Date: 2023–07–24
  18. By: Escutia-Muñoz, Domingo; Martín-García, Rodrigo; Ruiz-Rúa, Aurora
    Abstract: Digital competences refer to the skills and knowledge needed to understand, use, and communicate with digital technologies. In terms of public policies, promoting digital competences has become a priority as it is considered crucial for the economic and social development of countries. In the educational field, digital competences are vital for student learning and training, as well as for teacher training and improving educational quality. Furthermore, the lack of digital competences can perpetuate the digital divide and social exclusion. Teachers play a crucial role in developing students' digital competences, essential for student success. To this aim, training in digital competences and a proactive attitude towards their use in the classroom must be boosted, as teachers' role in fostering digital competences. In order to meet such demands, professional digital competence is required as an important issue for teacher education to be addressed (Lindfors et al., 2021). The present study aims to investigate the transformative effects of digital competency development on teachers of secondary education level. Through a comprehensive literature review, this study seeks to provide understanding of how digital competences can positively impact educational outcomes, such as student achievement and teacher performance. We set the focus on specific teacher training courses, as CanSat school project. By examining the specific context of space-related resources, we will analyse the potential benefits of teacher training process and teacher network learning communities, teaching methods, such as project-based learning, the recognition of teaching activity and the level of student participation, to optimize educational practices in an increasingly digital world. Afterwards, we will perform an adaptation of the questionnaire used in "SELFIEforTEACHERS" tool. This will allow us to carry out an analysis of the perception of the level of digital competence used by teachers through a mixed, quantitative and qualitative methodology on a further stage. The evaluation of teachers' digital skills will allow us to improve and personalize teacher trainings in order to meet their needs properly, in line with what is described in Basilotta-Gómez-Pablos et al. (2022). In addition, as another key objective, we also expect to identify space related content as a suitable and motivational tool to let teachers put their knowledge into practice, addressing the shortcomings identified by Prieto-Ballester et al. (2021). (...)
    Keywords: Digital Skills, DigCompEdu, secondary education, teacher training, ICT, CPD, space-based STEM education, CanSat, ESERO
    Date: 2023
  19. By: Yu Liu (Mines Paris - PSL (École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris) - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres, CGS i3 - Centre de Gestion Scientifique i3 - Mines Paris - PSL (École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris) - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - I3 - Institut interdisciplinaire de l’innovation - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Shenle Pan (Mines Paris - PSL (École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris) - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres, CGS i3 - Centre de Gestion Scientifique i3 - Mines Paris - PSL (École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris) - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - I3 - Institut interdisciplinaire de l’innovation - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Pauline Folz (Orange Innovation); Thomas Hassan (Orange Innovation); Philippe Raipin- Parvedy (Orange Innovation); Eric Ballot (Mines Paris - PSL (École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris) - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres, CGS i3 - Centre de Gestion Scientifique i3 - Mines Paris - PSL (École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris) - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - I3 - Institut interdisciplinaire de l’innovation - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: This research explores sustainable city logistics, emphasizing the hurdles associated with scarce urban resources, including their under-and misutilization due to a lack of real-time information on the available infrastructure and intense competition between companies. To face these challenges, there is a crucial need to improve the visibility of urban resources and logistics assets, as an enabler of effective and efficient resource allocation and orchestration of resource utilization and logistics operations. The advent of Smart Cities provides innovation opportunities, leading to the concept of Smart City Logistics (SCL). SCL will offer dual benefits: firstly, it improves resource visibility by profiting from the various fundamental technologies of Smart Cities, i.e., IoT and ICT, to collect and transfer the data of the ever-changing state of resources. Second, enhanced by Digital Twins, the real-time objects' states can be synchronized and mirrored, which will support the decision-making in SCL to guide the allocation of urban resources to provide energy-efficient, cost-effective logistics services dynamically and responsively. This research primarily focuses on SCL's conceptualization and modeling, while discussing potential future advancements.
    Keywords: City Logistics, Smart Cities, Digital Twin, Semantics, Multi-modality, Sus-tainability, Micro-hubs, Crowdsourcing
    Date: 2023–09–28
  20. By: Howell, Bronwyn E.; Potgieter, Petrus H.
    Abstract: Artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT and GPT-3 have shot to prominence recently (Lin 2023), as dramatic advances have shown them to be capable of writing plausible output that is difficult to distinguish from human-authored content. Unsurprisingly, this has led to concerns about their use by students in tertiary education contexts (Swiecki et al. 2022) and it has led to them being banned in some school districts in the United States (e.g. Rosenblatt 2023; Clarridge 2023) and from at least one top-ranking international university (e.g. Reuters 2023). There are legitimate reasons for such fears to be held, as it is difficult to differentiate students' own written work presented for assessment from that produced by the AI tools. Successfully embedding them into educational contexts requires an understanding of the tools, what they are, and what they can and cannot do. Despite their powerful modelling and description capabilities, these tools have (at least currently) significant issues and limitations (Zhang & Li 2021). As telecommunications policy academics charged with the research-led teaching and supervising both undergraduate and research students, we need to be certain that our graduates are capable of understanding the complexities of current issues in this incredibly dynamic field and applying their learnings appropriately in industry and policy environments. We must be reasonably certain that the grades we assign are based on the students' own work and understanding, To this end, we engaged in an experiment with the current (Q1 of 2023) version of the AI tool to assess how well it coped with questions on a core and current topic in telecommunications policy education: the effects of access regulation (local loop unbundling) on broadband investment and uptake. We found that while the outputs were well-written and appeared plausible, there were significant systematic errors which, once academics are aware of them, can be exploited to avoid the risk of AI use severely undermining the credibility of the assessments we make of students' written work, at least for the time being and in respect of the version of chatbot software we used.
    Keywords: Artificial Intelligence (AI), ChatGPT, GPT-3, Academia
    Date: 2023
  21. By: Pereira, Francis; Lee, Bernard; Fife, Elizabeth
    Abstract: Although Singapore's Smart Nation initiative is relatively new, this paper will assess some of enablers, challenges and early successes of the program, with the view of potentially providing a roadmap for the European Union's Digital Decade program. Specifically, this paper will analyze; i) the infrastructure requirements necessary to support the services; ii) the legal reforms required to enable some of the services; iii) the effectiveness of government initiatives and subsides to encourage adoption of such services. In these respects, and in regards to Digital Decade program, health initiatives in the this paper also will examine, as a case-study, how one of the program's health initiatives was able to effectively deal with the SARS-CoV2 crisis, by rapidly allowing health-care providers to switch to tele-heath as an alternative delivery system. However, this was made only possible in part through two major government programs, the first initiated nearly 2 decades ago, and exemplifies the infrastructure and service platforms requirements necessary to support the Smart Nation Program. The various government policies created to accelerate adoption of this health initiative was guided by its experiences with past initiatives where it faced some challenges and obstacles to achieving the desired outcomes. Specifically, one of the programs, Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) is the technology agency for the public healthcare sector and was created in 2008 as a cohesive approach to the development and management of IT systems in public healthcare with the objective of improving the Singapore population's health and health administration by integrating intelligent, highly resilient, and cost-effective technologies with process and people. Currently, IHiS supports the operations of 46 public healthcare institutions including acute hospitals, specialty centers, and polyclinics, as well as over 1, 400 partners such as community hospitals, nursing homes, general practitioner clinics and voluntary welfare organizations. In November 2016, it merged with Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) Holding's Information Systems Division essentially assuming the role of the technology agency for Singapore healthcare1. In general, the experiences from past broadband and information infrastructure initiatives has helped instruct the Singapore government on the factors for successful implementation of the Smart Nation program, specifically i) public policies that stress user-centric design for the goal of universal inclusion; ii) Infuse Digital Literacy into National Consciousness; iii) Private-public partnerships that empower Community and Businesses to Drive Widespread Adoption of Technology; and iv) Promote Digital Inclusion by Design.
    Date: 2023
  22. By: Díaz de Astarloa, Bernardo; Tacsir, Ezequiel
    Abstract: In this paper, we study the role of a cluster initiative in fostering economic resilience among firms in a local technology cluster in Argentina. We focus on two aggregate shocks that hit the Argentine economy, including first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our analysis is based on interviews with authorities and members of the cluster initiative, local firms, and policy makers, as well as on firm-level administrative tax records. We find that the cluster organization provides members with resources that could foster resilience, including access to specialized human capital, information on business opportunities, and assistance in applying for government support programs. However, while members of the cluster organization appear to be more resilient than non-members, even within the same regional cluster, after conditioning on firm characteristics we find little evidence of a positive association between belonging to the cluster organization and economic resilience. Members of the cluster organization are neither less likely to exit nor adapt by switching their main economic activity and did not show statistically significantly higher revenue growth than nonmembers. Member firms do appear to have been more able than non-members to keep up with tax obligations during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Keywords: Cluster initiatives;Resilience;technology clusters;information technology industries;COVID-19 crisis
    JEL: R12 D22 D02
    Date: 2022–12

This nep-ict issue is ©2023 by Marek Giebel. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.