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

23 Pages Posted: 7 May 2003

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)

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Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Binmore, Kenneth and Klemperer, Paul, The Biggest Auction Ever: The Sale of the British 3g Telecom Licences. Economic Journal, Vol. 112, pp. C74-C96, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=312199

Kenneth Binmore (Contact Author)

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom
+44 20 7380 7804 (Phone)

Paul Klemperer

University of Oxford - Department of Economics ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
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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