Competition and Regulation in Wireless Services Markets

Omer Korcak, George Iosifidis, Tansu Alpcan, Iordanis Koutsopoulos

We consider a wireless services market where a set of operators compete for a large common pool of users. The latter have a reservation utility of U0 units or, equivalently, an alternative option to satisfy their communication needs. The operators must satisfy these minimum requirements in order to attract the users. We model the users decisions and interaction as an evolutionary game and the competition among the operators as a non cooperative price game which is proved to be a potential game. For each set of prices selected by the operators, the evolutionary game attains a different stationary point. We show that the outcome of both games depend on the reservation utility of the users and the amount of spectrum W the operators have at their disposal. We express the market welfare and the revenue of the operators as functions of these two parameters. Accordingly, we consider the scenario where a regulating agency is able to intervene and change the outcome of the market by tuning W and/or U0. Different regulators may have different objectives and criteria according to which they intervene. We analyze the various possible regulation methods and discuss their requirements, implications and impact on the market.

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