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In recent years, with the evolution of new and content-rich Internet services, mobile network operators face the challenging task to guarantee ubiquitous access to their customers, while minimizing network deployment costs. In order to foster the opportunistic utilization of unexploited Internet connections of residential users, the authors propose a new marketplace where mobile network operators can rent the unused capacity of residential users' access devices (e.g., wireless access points or femto-cells) when the traffic demand of their mobile customers exceeds the operator's network capacity. They formulate the allocation problem as a combinatorial reverse auction, which prevents market manipulation, and they further propose a greedy algorithm that finds efficient allocations in polynomial time, even for large-size network scenarios.
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