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Research note on auction formats updated

Our auction formats research note has been updated to reflect some recent developments in auction design.

| Jonathan Watson

It says national regulators have started using a range of slightly different auction formats. This is because governments are moving away from the idea that auction price is the key mechanism for setting spectrum efficiency.

They are now looking more closely at the social welfare aspects of spectrum, such as quality of service and coverage. This often means there is a renewed focus on coverage obligations. In a recent Austrian auction, mobile operators could get spectrum more cheaply if they agreed to cover additional underserved areas.

In Uganda, the successful bidders had to promise to offer mobile Internet at a specific price. In Costa Rica, an upcoming auction includes conditions that effectively exclude Chinese companies.

The research note is available to Spectrum Research Service subscribers as part of our Spectrum Auctions Dossier.

The dossier includes research into why spectrum auctions are so widely used to assign spectrum, why some of them have been challenged in the courts and whether auction fees are passed onto end-users in the form of higher pricing.

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