Technology leapfrogging is a term used to describe the bypassing of technological stages that others (other countries) have gone through. Technology leapfrogging is ‘bypassing some of the processes of accumulation of human capabilities and fixed investment in order to narrow down the gaps in productivity and output that separate industrialized and developing countries'. Leapfrogging involves the technical aspects of implementing new technologies in the existing technological environments. It involves the economic, including financial, aspects, the power and broader social interests related to existing and new technology systems, and a wide range of other socio-economic factors. However, the prospects of technology leapfrogging in the ICT area seem relatively good in relation to backbone infrastructures as well as access infrastructures and the services delivered, for instance the fast growth of mobile telephony in many developing nations in comparison with fixed-line telephony.
Leapfrogging does not necessarily mean that countries which are technologically weak will bypass the other countries hitherto in the lead. An example is load sharing among prepaid mobiles, where one user can give small units to another user directly from one mobile phone to another. Some of the innovations that one will see in low-ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) countries are different from the innovations seen in high-ARPU countries. Often, technology leapfrogging means the catching up by skipping some of the intermediate technology stages. It can potentially lead to situations where the new technologies become dominant in developing countries while having a more complementary role in the economically more developed nations. The reason is that countries with large legacy systems can have inertia problems in switching to new technology systems. In countries with well-established infrastructures, new technologies are often implemented in manners complementary to the existing infrastructure elements. In countries with less developed infrastructures, new technologies may, to a larger extent, substitute older technologies.
 This is the definition used by Edward Steinmueller in a paper on the subject: ’ICTs and the Possibilities for Leapfrogging by Developing Countries’, International Labour Review, vol. 140, no. 2, 2001, p. 194. Another often cited paper on the issue is ‘Technology Leapfrogging in Developing Countries – An Inevitable Luxury?’ by Robert Davison, Doug Vogel, Roger Harris and Noel Jones, The Electronic Journal on Information Systems in Developing Countries (EJISDC), vol. 1, no. 5, 2000, pp. 1-10. A further publication is J.P. Singh: ‘Leapfrogging Development?: The Political Economy of Telecommunications Restructuring’, State University of New York Press, Albany, New York, USA, 1999.