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The mobile industry increases its contribution into a development of the world’s economy. In 2018 all sectors linked with the mobile industry created jointly $3,9 trillion and reached the level of 4,5% of the global GDP. By 2023 they will produce $4,8 trillion and will increase its contribution to the global economy up to 4,8% (GSMA, 2019). One may expect that in the era of the 5G technology and other technological advances the value added to the global economy will (systematically) increase even further.
In this paper we focus on the European market which explores the most a mobile industry potential. Nowadays, 85% of Europeans use mobile services which are mostly delivered via 4G solutions. In the majority of the cases, an access to sophisticated services is possible only by smartphones. In Europe the share of smartphones has reached a record high level of 72% of the total number of customers (GSMA, 2019).
Setting a fair price for a frequency band reservation becomes an important task for national market regulators. Each country has a limited range of frequencies at a market regulator’s disposal. What is more, in order to provide high quality, the services mobile operators demand the exclusive right for a reserved frequency band. As a consequence, the number of operators present on each market ought to be limited, and for this reason, market regulators need to license frequency usage. Besides the above arguments, licensing charges becomes an important revenue stream for government budgets. Nevertheless, the goal of an auction is not just to maximize revenue stream but to efficiently use a frequency band (i.e. lower the risk of not providing potential benefits to society) which in this context is treated as a public good (Cave and Webb 2015, p. 42).