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Switching Costs and Introductory Pricing in the Wireless Service Industry

Author

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  • Jorge Ale

    () (Department of Economics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Abstract

In this article I analyze the effects of a recent reform intended to decrease switching costs in the cellular industry. The reform, implemented in Chile in 2012, allowed cell phone users to switch operators without any contract restriction while keeping their wireless number. Its aim was the belief that lower switching costs would force incumbent companies to charge lower prices by introducing more competition among them. I test the empirical implications of models of switching costs using individual data on customers' bills and plans. I find that average price decreased by 7.2 percent. Moreover, my results provide evidence that the operators reacted primarily by decreasing the price of on-net plans and by offering handsets with data connectivity at a discounted rate. I also find a decrease in the introductory price discounts that operators offer to new customers. I interpret this result as due to the lower ability of the firms to lock-in customers.

Suggested Citation

  • Jorge Ale, 2013. "Switching Costs and Introductory Pricing in the Wireless Service Industry," Working Papers 13-17, NET Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:1317
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    4. Stole, Lars A, 1995. "Nonlinear Pricing and Oligopoly," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(4), pages 529-562, Winter.
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    6. Timothy H. Hannan & Robert M. Adams, 2011. "Consumer Switching Costs And Firm Pricing: Evidence From Bank Pricing Of Deposit Accounts," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 296-320, June.
    7. Yongmin Chen, 1997. "Paying Customers to Switch," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 877-897, December.
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    10. Beggs, Alan W & Klemperer, Paul, 1992. "Multi-period Competition with Switching Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(3), pages 651-666, May.
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    13. Kim, Moshe & Kliger, Doron & Vale, Bent, 2003. "Estimating switching costs: the case of banking," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 25-56, January.
    14. Jean-Charles Rochet & Lars A. Stole, 2002. "Nonlinear Pricing with Random Participation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 277-311.
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    16. Stole, Lars A., 2007. "Price Discrimination and Competition," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Switching Costs; Price Discounts; Number Portability; Wireless Industry; Telecommunications.;

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications

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