Diffussion of ICT-products and "five Russias"
The authors explored the potential of new information and communications technologies (ICT) absorption in Russian regions primarily on an example of mobile communication. ICT-sector is rapidly growing, especially in consumer market, and it is an ideal object for diffusion research because it is fast spreading, and it can be obtained by almost all parts of a social system. The purpose was to classify regions by the rate of innovativeness, including the speed of diffusion and the share of innovators in the structure of regional communities. The level of saturation for mobile phone usage (active SIM cards per 100 people) was used as a proper indicator on the first stage of the research. All regions were classified according to rates of diffusion from 1999 to 2011, and five clusters were identified, corresponding to stages of diffusion by E. Rogers: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards. There are four stages of mobile communication diffusion, according to the spatial diffusion theory of T. Hagerstrand, which are determined by several factors. The most influential factors are income, price of services and competition. Mobile phone usage in most Russian regions reached 100% saturation (one active SIM card per capita) in 2006-2007. Later development of cellular communication was determined not by demand for phone connection, but by the demand for internet connection, which is easily provided by mobile systems in smartphones, tablets, and other devices in comparison with other internet sources, which are less developed in most of Russian regions. To assess the innovativeness of regional communities, or their ability to absorb new products, cluster analysis, based on the threshold values of Bass model parameters, was performed. The results were similar to those obtained earlier, but for several regions the early appearance of innovators in communities did not increase the total number of users. Both previous methods of classification can be biased regarding special features of mobile communication diffusion. That is why, in the last stage an integral index of innovativeness was introduced, including rate of diffusion for several ICT-products on the early period of their introduction. The analysis proved that hierarchical model of diffusion from the main centres to secondary prevails in Russia. Factor of geographical location also play an important role. The research showed the significant difference in the rate of diffusion between Russian regions. Five stable clusters were identified, which is corresponding with idea of “five Russias” existence. Moscow and Saint Petersburg’s rate of diffusion is higher than in most countries, but there is a widespread periphery.
geography of innovation, diffusion of innovation, Russian regions, mobile communication, logistic curve, Bass model, regions-innovators, index of innovativeness