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Rationalizing the UMTS Spectrum Bids: the Case of the UK Auction

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  • Tilman Boergers
  • Christian Dustmann

Abstract

This paper considers bidder behaviour in the United Kingdom’s UMTS spectrum auction. Evidence is reviewed which shows that some bidders in this auction did not bid straightforwardly in accordance with fixed valuations of the licenses. We go on to consider more speculative hypotheses about bidders’ behaviour, such as the hypotheses that bidders revised their valuations in the light of other bidders’ behaviour, or that bidders’ valuations of licenses depended on which other companies appeared likely to win a license. We find weak evidence in favor of some of these hypotheses, but no hypothesis is supported by strong direct evidence. We conclude that the rationalization of bidding in the United Kingdom’s UMTS auction remains problematic. As a consequence we are cautious regarding the success of the auction in achieving an e.cient allocation of licenses.

Suggested Citation

  • Tilman Boergers & Christian Dustmann, 2002. "Rationalizing the UMTS Spectrum Bids: the Case of the UK Auction," CESifo Working Paper Series 679, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_679
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo_wp679.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter Cramton, 2002. "Spectrum Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 01hte, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 16 Jul 2001.
    2. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Multiproduct Firms, Product Differentiation, and Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Cramton & Andrzej Skrzypacz & Robert Wilson, 2007. "Revenues in the 700 MHz Spectrum Auction," Papers of Peter Cramton 07rev700, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2007.
    2. Matthias Sutter & Martin Kocher & Sabine Strau?, "undated". "Individuals and teams in UMTS-license auctions," Working Papers 2007-23, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.

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