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Welfare Analysis of Regulating Mobile Termination Rates in the UK with an Application to the Orange/T-Mobile Merger

  • David Harbord
  • Steffen Hoernig

We present a calibrated model of the UK mobile telephony market with four mobile networks; calls to and from the fixed network; network-based price discrimination; and call externalities. Our results show that reducing mobile termination rates broadly in line with the recent European Commission Recommendation to either "pure long-run incremental cost"; reciprocal termination charges with fixed networks; or "Bill & Keep" (i.e. zero termination rates), increases social welfare, consumer surplus and networks' profits. Depending on the strength of call externalities, social welfare may increase by as much as £ 990 million to £ 4.5 billion per year, with Bill & Keep leading to the highest increase in welfare. We also apply the model to estimate the welfare effects of the 2010 merger between Orange and T-Mobile under different scenarios concerning MTRs, and predict that consumer surplus decreases strongly.

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Paper provided by Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia in its series FEUNL Working Paper Series with number wp571.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:unl:unlfep:wp571
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  1. Hoernig, Steffen, 2006. "On-Net and Off-Net Pricing on Asymmetric Telecommunications Networks," CEPR Discussion Papers 5588, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Harbord David & Pagnozzi Marco, 2010. "Network-Based Price Discrimination and `Bill-and-Keep' vs. `Cost-Based' Regulation of Mobile Termination Rates," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-46, February.
  3. Hermalin, Benjamin E & Katz, Michael L, 2006. "Customer or Complementor? Intercarrier Compensation with Two-Sided Benefits," Competition Policy Center, Working Paper Series qt9vf0k91t, Competition Policy Center, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Wright, Julian, 2002. "Access Pricing under Competition: An Application to Cellular Networks," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 289-315, September.
  5. Luke Froeb & Gregory Werden, 2000. "An Introduction to the Symposium on the Use of Simulation in Applied Industrial Organization," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(2), pages 133-137.
  6. Cabral, Luis, 2009. "Dynamic price competition with network effects," IESE Research Papers D/843, IESE Business School.
  7. Gans, J.S. & King, S.P., 2000. "Mobile Network Competition, Customer Ignorance and Fixed-to-Mobile Call Prices," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 734, The University of Melbourne.
  8. Genakos, Christos D. & Valletti, Tommaso, 2009. "Testing the "Waterbed" Effect in Mobile Telephony," CEPR Discussion Papers 7611, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Michael Carter & Julian Wright, 1999. "Interconnection in Network Industries," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 1-25, February.
  10. Berger, Ulrich, 2005. "Bill-and-keep vs. cost-based access pricing revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 107-112, January.
  11. Wolfgang Briglauer & Anton Schwarz & Christine Zulehner, 2011. "Is fixed-mobile substitution strong enough to de-regulate fixed voice telephony? Evidence from the Austrian markets," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 50-67, February.
  12. Ralf Dewenter & Justus Haucap, 2008. "Demand Elasticities for Mobile Telecommunications in Austria," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 228(1), pages 49-63, February.
  13. Luis López, Ángel, 2011. "Mobile termination rates and the receiver-pays regime," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 171-181, June.
  14. Cambini, Carlo & Valletti, Tommaso, 2005. "Information Exchange and Competition in Communications Networks," CEPR Discussion Papers 5031, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Hoernig, Steffen, 2008. "Tariff-Mediated Network Externalities: Is Regulatory Intervention Any Good?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6866, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Calzada, Joan & Valletti, Tommaso, 2005. "Network Competition and Entry Deterrence," CEPR Discussion Papers 5381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Gans, Joshua S. & King, Stephen P., 2001. "Using 'bill and keep' interconnect arrangements to soften network competition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 413-420, June.
  18. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Patrick Rey & Jean Tirole, 1998. "Network Competition: II. Price Discrimination," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(1), pages 38-56, Spring.
  19. Mark Armstrong & Julian Wright, 2009. "Mobile Call Termination," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(538), pages F270-F307, 06.
  20. Oliver Budzinski, 2008. "A Note on Competing Merger Simulation Models in Antitrust Cases: Can the Best Be Identified?," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200803, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  21. Ulrich Berger, 2004. "Access Charges in the Presence of Call Externalities," Industrial Organization 0408009, EconWPA, revised 31 Aug 2004.
  22. Berger Ulrich, 2005. "Access Charges in the Presence of Call Externalities," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
  23. Patrick Degraba, 2003. "Efficient Intercarrier Compensation for Competing Networks When Customers Share the Value of A Call," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(2), pages 207-230, 06.
  24. Oliver Budzinski & Isabel Ruhmer, 2009. "Merger Simulation in Competition Policy: A Survey," Working Papers 82/09, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Environmental and Business Economics.
  25. Steffen Hoernig, 2008. "Market Penetration and Late Entry in Mobile Telephony," Working Papers 08-38, NET Institute, revised Oct 2008.
  26. Armstrong, Mark & Wright, Julian, 2007. "Mobile call termination in the UK," MPRA Paper 2344, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  27. Hoernig, Steffen, 2010. "Competition Between Multiple Asymmetric Networks: Theory and Applications," CEPR Discussion Papers 8060, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  28. Armstrong, Mark, 2001. "The theory of access pricing and interconnection," MPRA Paper 15608, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  29. Ralf Dewenter & Justus Haucap, 2005. "The Effects of Regulating Mobile Termination Rates for Asymmetric Networks," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 185-197, September.
  30. Michael Carter & Julian Wright, 2003. "Asymmetric Network Interconnection," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 27-46, February.
  31. Tommaso Valletti & George Houpis, 2005. "Mobile Termination: What is the “Right” Charge?," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 235-258, November.
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