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Mobile network competition, customer ignorance and fixed-to-mobile call prices

  • Gans, Joshua S.
  • King, Stephen P.

This paper examines the influence of mobile network competition on the prices of fixed-to-mobile calls. Because fixed line customers cannot, in general, distinguish the identity of a specific mobile network, these networks have market power when setting termination charges for calls from fixed lines. We show that: (1) unregulated mobile termination charges will result in higher than monopoly call prices; (2) the regulation of termination charges and prices downward will affect mobile subscription rates and may lower these rates; and (3) regulation of any mobile carrier's termination charges can reduce fixed to mobile prices but will result in an increase in unregulated carriers' termination charges. When fixed line consumers can distinguish between the different mobile networks they are calling, fixed to mobile call prices will fall relative to their level under customer ignorance. Direct mobile charging for termination also exerts downward pressure on the total fixed to mobile call price. A low cost method of lowering fixed to mobile charges would be to facilitate the identification of carriers by consumers and to restructure billing so that mobile networks are able to directly charge fixed line consumers for termination services.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Information Economics and Policy.

Volume (Year): 12 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 301-327

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Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:12:y:2000:i:4:p:301-327
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505549

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  1. Baron, David P., 1989. "Design of regulatory mechanisms and institutions," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 24, pages 1347-1447 Elsevier.
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  3. Doyle, Chris & Smith, Jennifer C., 1998. "Market structure in mobile telecoms: qualified indirect access and the receiver pays principle," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 471-488, December.
  4. Gans, Joshua S & Williams, Philip L, 1999. "Access Regulation and the Timing of Infrastructure Investment," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 75(229), pages 127-37, June.
  5. Armstrong, M. & Doyle, C. & Vickers, J., 1995. "The access pricing problem: a synthesis," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9532, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  6. King, Stephen P. & Maddock, Rodney, 1999. "Light-handed regulation of access in Australia: negotiation with arbitration," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-22, March.
  7. Perry, Martin K., 1989. "Vertical integration: Determinants and effects," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 4, pages 183-255 Elsevier.
  8. Armstrong, Mark, 1998. "Network Interconnection in Telecommunications," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 545-64, May.
  9. David P. Baron & Roger B. Myerson, 1979. "Regulating a Monopolist with Unknown Costs," Discussion Papers 412, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Michael Carter & Julian Wright, 1999. "Interconnection in Network Industries," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 1-25, February.
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