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Strange Bids: Bidding Behaviour in the United Kingdom's Third Generation Spectrum Auction

  • Börgers, Tilman
  • Dustmann, Christian

This Paper studies bidding behaviour in the auction of radio spectrum for third generation mobile telephone services which took place in the United Kingdom in the spring of 2000. We show that several companies’ bidding behaviour deviates strongly from theoretical predictions. In particular some companies’ evaluation of the added advantage of having a large license rather than a small license seemed to change dramatically during the auction for no obvious reason. We conclude that it is less well understood than previously believed how spectrum auctions work, and whether they lead to an efficient allocation of spectrum.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3072.

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Date of creation: Nov 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3072
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  1. Ken Binmore & Paul Klemperer, 2001. "The Biggest Auction Ever: the Sale of the British 3G Telecom Licenses," Economics Papers 2002-W4, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, revised 01 Sep 2001.
  2. Paul Klemperer, 2000. "What Really Matters in Auction Design," Economics Series Working Papers 2000-W26, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Martin J Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 2009. "A Course in Game Theory," Levine's Bibliography 814577000000000225, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
  5. Jehiel, Philippe & Moldovanu, Benny, 2000. "License Auctions and Market Structure," CEPR Discussion Papers 2530, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Grimm, Veronika & Riedel, Frank & Wolfstetter, Elmar, 2001. "The third generation (UMTS) spectrum auction in Germany," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,70, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  7. Peter Cramton & Jesse Schwartz, 2002. "Collusive Bidding in the FCC Spectrum Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 02collude, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 04 Dec 2002.
  8. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  9. Paul Klemperer, 1997. "Auctions with Almost Common Values: The Wallet Game and its Applications," Economics Series Working Papers 1998-W03, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  10. Milgrom, Paul, 1998. "Putting auction theory to work : the simultaneous ascending auction," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1986, The World Bank.
  11. Peter Cramton, 1995. "Money Out of Thin Air: The Nationwide Narrowband PCS Auction," Papers of Peter Cramton 95jems, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
  12. Plott, Charles R. & Salmon, Timothy, 2002. "The Simultaneous, Ascending Auction: Dynamics of Price Adjustment in Experiments and in the U.K. 3G Spectrum Auction," Working Papers 1155, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  13. Emiel Maasland & Sander Onderstal, 2007. "Auctions with Financial Externalities," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 551-574, September.
  14. Lawrence M. Ausubel & Peter Cramton & R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1998. "Synergies in Wireless Telephony: Evidence from the Broadband PCS Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 97jems, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Jun 1998.
  15. Peter Cramton & Jesse Schwartz, 2000. "Collusive Bidding: Lessons from the FCC Spectrum Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 00jre, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 09 Mar 1999.
  16. Peter Cramton, 2002. "Spectrum Auctions," Papers of Peter Cramton 01hte, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 16 Jul 2001.
  17. Peter Cramton, 1997. "The FCC Spectrum Auctions: An Early Assessment," Papers of Peter Cramton 97jemsfcc, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 12 Jul 1998.
  18. John McMillan, 1994. "Selling Spectrum Rights," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 145-162, Summer.
  19. Demange, Gabrielle & Gale, David & Sotomayor, Marilda, 1986. "Multi-Item Auctions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 863-72, August.
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