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Business models of Internet service providers


A business model can be perceived as a simple, yet focused, representation of the related activities of a company, which describes how to create the value of the company in terms of information, products and services. Given the significance of the Internet service infrastructure in new Internet-based business logic, notably the positive relationship between the growth of the Internet service infrastructure and GDP growth, this paper elaborates on the business model of the Internet service providers (ISPs). Accordingly, the ISPs’ business model, in the scope of connectivity service providers, based on the selected meta model (Hedman and Kalling’s ontology) at the industry level is analyzed. For validation and generalization assessment, the business components of two ISPs at the instance level and the business components of other service providers in the telecom industry (beyond the scope of this research) are compared, point by point, with the proposed business model components, respectively. The results of this study will raise the awareness of ISPs’ executives and new entrants of different aspects of this business. The proposed business model can be considered as a basic model in the area of designing new business models, especially in the area of new Internet-based technologies.

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Appendix A: The results of content analysis using Atlas-ti software

To provide a logical segmentation of research studies, content analysis with an open coding method was conducted using the Atlas Ti software. The results of the implementation of the steps of the open coding method (see Section 3.1) are presented in Figs. 67 and 8.

Fig. 6
figure 6

Segmentation of previous research into eight different codes

Fig. 7
figure 7

Eight code explanations

Fig. 8
figure 8

Each of the eight code families

(The ISP business domain family consists of an economic role of an ISP business + an ISP business component + innovation in ISP BM + an ISP business environment + an ISP business opportunities family)

Appendix B: Interview process

As outlined in the third section of this research, in order to complete the business model based on the secondary data (see Fig. 4) and elaborate all ISP business model components, the results of interviews with the experts in the two areas of IT and CT were utilized. Information about the selected experts and the interview process are presented in Table 11.

Table 11 Characteristic of interview process

It should be mentioned that, reaching to consensus based on oral interviews is not simple, logical and acceptable. Hence, after conducting several oral interviews and failing to reach consensus, using the Delphi method, the experts reviewed the views of their counterparts. After raising their awareness, through studying the opinions of other experts, an overall consensus was reached.

Appendix C: Four areas of environmental analysis of Iranian ISPs

In this part, all four areas of environmental analysis of Iranian ISPs are examined in Table 12.

Table 12 Examining the four areas of environmental analysis of Iranian ISPs

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Hanafizadeh, P., Hatami, P. & Bohlin, E. Business models of Internet service providers. Netnomics 20, 55–99 (2019).

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  • Internet service providers
  • Business model
  • Telecom industry
  • Environmental analysis
  • Iranian ISPs