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Government awards of radio spectrum have provided an extraordinary laboratory for auction design over the last 35 years. Auctions of spectrum licenses have facilitated the development of mobile communication networks while generating billions of dollars in revenue for governments. The perceived effectiveness of these auctions has encouraged their adoption in other economic sectors, such as electricity generation, wind power, and corporate procurement. NERA Senior Managing Director Richard Marsden's book describes the many formats of these auctions (e.g., sealed bid, SMRA, clock, combinatorial) and identifies the circumstances in which specific designs have been more successful or controversial than others.

This insightful book charts the rise of spectrum auctions worldwide across five generations of mobile technology, examines their relationship with spectrum pricing and mobile broadband coverage, and anticipates their further evolution in the 6G era. Notably, it explores the role of mobile industry change and politics, alongside innovation in auction design, in driving regulator preferences for auction formats. Mr. Marsden presents detailed statistics on the global adoption of different auction formats and the evolution of prices paid for radio spectrum since the 1990s, as well as case studies of spectrum award “successes” and “failures” from around the world.

Round-by-Round is essential reading for practitioners engaged in implementing auctions or developing bid strategy for bidders. And for students of game theory and mechanism design, it provides real-world insights to complement the extensive scholarly literature on auction formats and rules.

This book is available for download on this page. A paperback version is also available for purchase from Amazon.


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