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Abstract

This research examines digital wireless phone adoption among nations and regions that will help to provide a picture of the current global "digital divide." The data are drawn from 43 countries. We present a new theoretical perspective for IS research: a regional contagion theory of technology diffusion. We examine the efficacy of the new theory using empirical regularities analysis, and a vector autoregression and variance decomposition approach to establish information about the strength of the regional contagion links between countries in digital wireless phone diffusion. We found that faster growth of digital wireless phones occurs when a country has: a more well-developed telecommunications infrastructure, more competition in the wireless market, lower wireless network access costs, and fewer wireless technology standards. We also obtained a reading on cross-national influence of wireless diffusion. The countries we studied fell into three regional contagion groups: high, medium and low. The Asia Pacific countries revealed a pattern of homogeneously high regional contagion links, while Western European countries were divided across the three groups. Our findings are supported by a descriptive analysis of diffusion patterns and mini-case assessments.

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