The Biggest Auction Ever: The Sale of the British 3G Telecom Licences
University College London - Department of Economics
University of Oxford - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
Economic Journal, Vol. 112, pp. C74-C96, 2002
This paper reviews the part played by economists in organising the British third-generation mobile-phone licence auction that concluded on 27 April 2000. It raised 22 and a half billion British Pounds ($34 billion or 2 1/2 % of GNP) and was widely described at the time as the biggest auction ever. We discuss the merits of auctions versus "beauty contests", the aims of the auction, the problems we faced, the auction designs we considered, and the mistakes that were made.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 7, 2003
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