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The Biggest Auction Ever: the Sale of the British 3G Telecom Licenses

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This paper reviews the part played by economists in organizing the British third-generation mobile-phone licence auction that concluded on 27 April 2000. It raised £22 1/2 billion ($34 billion or 2 1/2% of GNP) and was widely described at the time as the biggest auction ever. We discuss the merits of auctions versus "beauty contests", the aims of the auction, the problems we faced, the auction designs we considered, and the mistakes that were made.

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File URL: http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/economics/papers/2002/w4/biggest29nov.pdf
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Paper provided by Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford in its series Economics Papers with number 2002-W4.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2001
Date of revision: 01 Sep 2001
Handle: RePEc:nuf:econwp:0204
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.nuffield.ox.ac.uk/economics/

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  9. Roger B. Myerson & Mark A. Satterthwaite, 1981. "Efficient Mechanisms for Bilateral Trading," Discussion Papers 469S, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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  14. Richard Engelbrecht-Wiggans & Charles M. Kahn, 2005. "Low-Revenue Equilibria in Simultaneous Ascending-Bid Auctions," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 51(3), pages 508-518, March.
  15. Bulow, J. & Klemperer, P., 1999. "The Tobacco Deal," Economics Papers 1999-w11, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
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  17. Börgers, Tilman & Dustmann, Christian, 2001. "Strange Bids: Bidding Behaviour in the United Kingdom's Third Generation Spectrum Auction," CEPR Discussion Papers 3072, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Klemperer, Paul, 1998. "Auctions with almost common values: The 'Wallet Game' and its applications," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 757-769, May.
  19. Paul Klemperer (ed.), 2000. "The Economic Theory of Auctions," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 1669.
  20. Sandro Brusco & Giuseppe Lopomo, 1999. "Collusion via Signalling in Open Ascending Auctions with Multiple Objects and Complementarities," Working Papers 99-05, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
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  22. R. Preston McAfee & John McMillan, 1996. "Analyzing the Airwaves Auction," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 159-175, Winter.
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