Convergence, Conflicts, and Control Points: A Systems-theoretical Analysis of Mobile VoIP in the UK

Jan D. Herzhoff, Silvia M. Elaluf-Calderwood, Carsten Sørensen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


The convergence of mobile telephony networks with the Internet has resulted in an increasing number of conflicts - so-called tussles - between different stakeholders within the mobile network ecosystem. These tussles can be characterised by socio-economic as well as technical conflicts of interest, accompanied by concrete interferences and blocking activities leading to inefficiencies (e.g. through the deployment of parallel architectures) and network system failures. Infrastructure architects in the computer science discipline have developed the concept of "design for tussle" to deal with this phenomenon in the debate around the nextgeneration Internet. This paper applies the tussle concept in the context of mobile information infrastructure design. It argues for a systemic understanding of tussles based on Luhmann's Theory of Social Systems. The paper discusses the introduction of mobile VoIP in the UK as an example of an emerging conflict system within the mobile network ecosystem. The empirical findings are based on an extensive case study conducted from 2007 to 2009. The case study includes 39 expert interviews aiming to illustrate the way in which these tussles in the context of mobile VoIP take place. The contribution of this paper to mobile information infrastructure design is a systems-theoretical tussle framework based on Luhmann's notion of conflict aiming to provide designers with a systemic understanding of tussles.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2010 Ninth International Conference on Mobile Business/2010 Ninth Global Mobility Roundtable, ICMB-GMR 2010
Number of pages9
Place of PublicationLos Alamitos, CA
Publication date2010
Article number5494839
ISBN (Print)9780769540849, 9781424474233
ISBN (Electronic)9781424474240
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event2010 9th International Conference on Mobile Business/2010 9th Global Mobility Roundtable, ICMB and GMR 2010 - Athen, Greece
Duration: 13 Jun 201015 Jun 2010
Conference number: 9


Conference2010 9th International Conference on Mobile Business/2010 9th Global Mobility Roundtable, ICMB and GMR 2010


  • Convergence
  • Design for tussle
  • Mobile infrastructures
  • Mobile voip
  • Systems theory

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