chapter  4
8 Pages

Spectrum Auctions Become the Default Assignment Mechanism

The success of auctions was a boost for the spectrum liberalisers’ worldview. They argued that spectrum should be seen as a commercial input like any other, and this could be distributed in the same way as other scarce resources, through a price mechanism.*

An auction is the price mechanism in its simplest form: whoever pays the most wins. As discussed in Chapter 2, the huge sums paid at auction in the United States and in Europe from 1995 to 2000 confirmed the benefits of treating spectrum as a commercial input and encouraged other countries to take this approach.