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What's in the Air: Interlicense Synergies in the Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Personal Communication Service Spectrum Auctions


  • Moreton, Patrick S
  • Spiller, Pablo T


In this article, we analyze the extent of synergies among wireless licenses using information from the first two broadband Personal Communication Service (PCS) spectrum auctions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). We use a reduced-form regression of the winning bid for each license on a set of regressors capturing the demographics of the license region, its regulatory environment, the degree of competition for it, and the network synergies among that property and other wireless licenses, both cellular and PCS. In both auctions, the winning bid for a license was higher when the second-to-last bidder had a large national cellular telephone network or when the license was located adjacent to other PCS licenses won by either the winning or second-to-last bidder. We also find strong evidence that the state or states in which a license was located affected bidding, and there is some evidence that these effects are related to state-level wireless regulation. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Moreton, Patrick S & Spiller, Pablo T, 1998. "What's in the Air: Interlicense Synergies in the Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Personal Communication Service Spectrum Auctions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 677-716, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:41:y:1998:i:2:p:677-716

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Greenstein, Shane & McMaster, Susan & Spiller, Pablo T, 1995. "The Effect of Incentive Regulation on Infrastructure Modernization: Local Exchange Companies' Deployment of Digital Technology," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 187-236, Summer.
    2. Peter Cramton, 1997. "The FCC Spectrum Auctions: An Early Assessment," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(3), pages 431-495, September.
    3. Philip M. Parker & Lars-Hendrik Roller, 1997. "Collusive Conduct in Duopolies: Multimarket Contact and Cross-Ownership in the Mobile Telephone Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(2), pages 304-322, Summer.
    4. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1996. "Analyzing the Airwaves Auction," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 159-175, Winter.
    5. John McMillan, 1994. "Selling Spectrum Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 145-162, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hong, Han & Shum, Matthew, 2003. "Econometric models of asymmetric ascending auctions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 327-358, February.
    2. Dakshina G. De Silva & Anuruddha Kankanamge & Georgia Kosmopoulou, 2005. "The Impact Of Change In Auction Format On Bidding Behavior," Microeconomics 0512009, EconWPA.
    3. Jeremy T. Fox & Patrick Bajari, 2013. "Measuring the Efficiency of an FCC Spectrum Auction," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 100-146, February.
    4. Joshua S. Gans & Stephen P. King & Julian Wright, 2005. "Wireless Communications," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-45, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    5. Oktay Günlük & Lászlo Ladányi & Sven de Vries, 2005. "A Branch-and-Price Algorithm and New Test Problems for Spectrum Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(3), pages 391-406, March.
    6. Marcelo Olivares & Gabriel Y. Weintraub & Rafael Epstein & Daniel Yung, 2012. "Combinatorial Auctions for Procurement: An Empirical Study of the Chilean School Meals Auction," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 58(8), pages 1458-1481, August.
    7. Thomas W. Hazlett & Roberto E. Muñoz, 2009. "A welfare analysis of spectrum allocation policies," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(3), pages 424-454.
    8. Thomas W. Hazlett & David Porter & Vernon Smith, 2011. "Radio Spectrum and the Disruptive Clarity of Ronald Coase," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(S4), pages 125-165.
    9. Thomas W. Hazlett, 2008. "Property Rights and Wireless License Values," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(3), pages 563-598, August.
    10. Tobias Scheffel & Georg Ziegler & Martin Bichler, 2012. "On the impact of package selection in combinatorial auctions: an experimental study in the context of spectrum auction design," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 15(4), pages 667-692, December.

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