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A Stylized Model of the German UMTS Auction

  • Moldovanu, Benny


    (Department of Economics, University of Mannheim, Germany)

  • Ewerhart II, Christian


    (Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

This paper discusses some economic aspects of the recent German and Austrian UMTS license auctions. We consider a stylized model of the open ascending auction with incomplete information and market externalities. It is shown that, if the dominant incumbent is not successful in pushing the weakest entrant out of the market, he will face ex-post spurious price increments. We argue that this feature of the German auction design caused a significant risk for the bidding firms. In particular, being aware of these risks, an incumbent may be willing to accommodate the entrant earlier than what one would expect from the valuations alone. We compare our predictions with the observed outcomes.

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Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim in its series Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications with number 02-07.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 11 Jan 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:02-07
Note: The authors are grateful to Tilman Börgers, Holger Müller and seminar participants in Gerzensee for useful comments. We also thank Mathias Meisel, portfolio manager at Zurich Invest, for insightful discussions about the telecommunications industry. Financial support by the Sonderforschungsbereich 504 is gratefully acknowledged.
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  1. Eric van Damme, 2002. "The Dutch UMTS-Auction," CESifo Working Paper Series 722, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Richard Engelbrecht-Wiggans & Charles M. Kahn, 1998. "Multi-unit auctions with uniform prices," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 227-258.
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