Mobility

Mobile Termination, Network Externalities, and Consumer Expectations

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Executive Summary

The authors re-examine the literature on mobile termination in the presence of network externalities. Externalities arise when firms discriminate between on- and off-net calls or when subscription demand is elastic. This literature predicts that profit decreases and consumer surplus increases in termination charge in a neighborhood of termination cost. This creates a puzzle since in reality they see regulators worldwide pushing termination rates down while being opposed by network operators. They show that this puzzle is resolved when consumers' expectations are assumed passive but required to be fulfilled in equilibrium (as defined by Katz and Shapiro, AER 1985), instead of being rationally responsive to non-equilibrium prices, as assumed until now.

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