The relationship between mobile and fixed-line communications: A survey
The dramatic worldwide increase in mobile communication that has led to more than 4 billion users has over the last few years been accompanied in wealthy countries by a significant decline in fixed network subscriptions. Such fixed-to-mobile substitution (FMS) is at the center of this literature survey. Theoretical models explaining FMS are scarce and are inconclusive regarding the balance between substitution and complementarity of the fixed and mobile sectors. Empirical explanations hinge on the interaction of positive cross-elasticities of demand and reductions in mobile relative to fixed communications prices. FMS is also supported by relative declines in mobile network costs, network effects in demand and quality improvements of mobile services. The policy consequences of FMS stem from the potential reductions in market power of operators in fixed-line markets and from the ability of mobile operators to enable universal service. The survey reveals ample opportunity for further empirical and theoretical research in the area of FMS.
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