Testing the "Waterbed" Effect in Mobile Telephony
AbstractThis paper examines the impact of regulatory intervention to cut termination rates of calls from fixed lines to mobile phones. Under quite general conditions of competition, theory suggests that lower termination charges will result in higher prices for mobile subscribers, a phenomenon known as the "waterbed" effect. The waterbed effect has long been hypothesized as a feature of many two-sided markets and especially the mobile telephony industry. Using a uniquely constructed panel of mobile operators’ prices and profit margins across more than twenty countries over six years, we document empirically the existence and magnitude of this effect. Our results suggest that although regulation reduced termination rates by about 10%, this also led to a 5% increase in mobile retail prices. We also provide evidence that both competition and market saturation, and most importantly their interaction, affect the overall impact of the waterbed effect on prices.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7611.
Date of creation: Dec 2009
Date of revision:
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Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ
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Other versions of this item:
- Christos Genakos & Tommaso Valletti, 2008. "Testing the “Waterbed” Effect in Mobile Telephony," CEIS Research Paper 110, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 11 Jul 2008.
- Christos Genakos & Tommaso Valletti, 2007. "Testing the "Waterbed" Effect in Mobile Telephony," CEP Discussion Papers dp0827, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- L4 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies
- L9 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities
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