Evaluating Wireless Carrier Consolidation Using Semiparametric Demand Estimation

Patrick Bajari, Jeremy T. Fox, Stephen Ryan

NBER Working Paper No. 12425
Issued in August 2006
NBER Program(s):   IO

The US mobile phone service industry has dramatically consolidated over the last two decades. One justification for consolidation is that merged firms can provide consumers with larger coverage areas at lower costs. We estimate the willingness to pay for national coverage to evaluate this motivation for past consolidation. As market level quantity data is not publicly available, we devise an econometric procedure that allows us to estimate the willingness to pay using market share ranks collected from a popular online retailer, Amazon. Our semiparametric maximum score estimator controls for consumers’ heterogeneous preferences for carriers, handsets and minutes of calling time. We find that national coverage is strongly valued by consumers, providing an efficiency justification for across-market mergers. The methods we propose can estimate demand for other products using data from Amazon or other online retailers where quantities are not observed, but product ranks are observed. Since Amazon data can easily be gathered by researchers, these methods may be useful for the analysis of other product markets where high quality data are not publicly available.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12425

Published: Patrick Bajari & Jeremy Fox & Stephen Ryan, 2008. "Evaluating wireless carrier consolidation using semiparametric demand estimation," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 299-338, December. citation courtesy of

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