The Biggest Auction Ever: The Sale of the British 3g Telecom Licences

35 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2002

See all articles by Kenneth Binmore

Kenneth Binmore

University College London - Department of Economics

Paul Klemperer

University of Oxford - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: February 2002

Abstract

This paper reviews the part played by economists in organizing the British third-generation mobile-phone licence auction that concluded on 27 April 2000. It raised 22.5 billion pounds ($34 billion or 2.5% 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.

Keywords: Auctions, telecommunications, spectrum auctions, mobile phones, 3G, UMTS, bidding

JEL Classification: D44, L96

Suggested Citation

Binmore, Kenneth and Klemperer, Paul, The Biggest Auction Ever: The Sale of the British 3g Telecom Licences (February 2002). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=303205

Kenneth Binmore (Contact Author)

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

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London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
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Paul Klemperer

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

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Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom
+44 1865 278 588 (Phone)
+44 1865 278 557 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

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