Find out more about our work on leading economic and policy issues.

Implications of 5G Deployment for Future Business Models

We examine key technologies and services that 5G may bring, and the obstacles and enablers for success

5G promises not just greater bandwidth, but also lower latency, lower power consumption and greater reliability. It offers the opportunity for new deployment models and innovative services, substantially expanding the traditional mobile ecosystem.

The regulatory framework that applies to 5G may help these promises turn into sustainable business cases, but it may also be a hindrance. It is therefore important for regulators to understand the key technologies and services that may emerge and the obstacles and enablers for success.

This report, prepared together with Axon Partners Group for the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), looks at the implications of 5G deployment for market structure, market dynamics, business models, value chains and competition in telecommunications and adjacent markets (e.g. automotive, manufacturing, agriculture).

The study can be downloaded here.

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Research and development in broadcasting

The costs and benefits of the BBC's R&D work over the Charter Period 2007 - 2016.

Innovation in broadcasting creates new experiences for viewers and listeners, helps broadcasters to save costs or develop further revenue opportunities and can generate spill-over benefits for the wider audio-visual sector. Investing in applied research and development is an important part of the BBC’s remit and accounts for an annual spend of around £20m.

We examined the benefits of the BBC’s R&D activities using bottom-up microeconomic techniques on a selection of the BBC’s projects. Based on these case studies, we estimated the benefits of the BBC’s R&D investment across its entire project portfolio. Our conservative estimate suggests that every pound spent by the R&D department creates benefits in the range of £5 – £9. The report is available here.

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Europe’s Next Generation Networks: the role of pro-competitive access regulation

We look at the role of access regulation in promoting investment and protecting competition

Telecoms liberalisation in most of Europe has been a success story, with facilities-based competition extending further and further throughout the network. As competition has spread, regulation has been pulled back. With the growing need for upgrading access networks, arguments that regulatory obligations on incumbent telecommunications operators to provide access to
their network infrastructure discourages the much needed investment have become louder.

In this report for the Internet Economy Foundation we look at the importance of pro-competitive access regulation in providing the right incentives for investment in next generation access networks without losing the benefits from competition supported by access to bottleneck infrastructure.  The report can be downloaded here.

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DS3 system services auction design report

This report recommends auction rules for an electricity system services market.

Energy markets need to be backed up by a suite of system services, such as reserve and stability services, to ensure that the energy system can function reliably. The Single Electricity Market Committee (SEM-C) in Ireland needs to procure availability of system services by offering contracts with both short and long durations, to cater for existing capacity and encourage investment.

We were commissioned by the SEM-C to come up with auction rules suitable for a high level framework it had already set out. Our report covered specific provisions of these rules, such as ‘package bidding’ to help bidders manage risk, as well as the contractual obligations that help tie in the systems services with related markets, and is available here.

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E-commerce and competition policy

Our report for the Competition Commission of Singapore covers the risks and benefits of e-commerce to competition.

E-commerce presents consumers with a broad range of suppliers that they can search between much more easily than they could by visiting brick and mortar establishments. However, it also allows these suppliers to collect data on consumers that they might use for new forms of price discrimination or lead to tacit collusion through algorithmic pricing.

Competition authorities need to consider whether their existing frameworks can address e-commerce cases. We examined trends in the adoption of e-commerce for the Competition Commission of Singapore and argued that existing frameworks can cope with these cases, provided authorities are aware of the new competition risks and benefits that arise from e-commerce. The report is available here.

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Commercial use of Consumer Data

For the UK Competition and Markets Authority, we looked at how businesses collect and use consumer data,

Many of the services that are available apparently ‘for free’, are in fact paid for by the data their users provide. Consumer data collected by businesses have become a key asset in the digital economy.

Understanding how businesses go about collecting consumer data and how they use it is important to asses how these practices affect consumers, businesses, competition and the wider economy.

As part of its wider project to understand the role played by consumer data, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) commissioned us to examine the commercial use of consumer data three sectors that together cover a variety of digital business models – motor insurance, clothing retail and gaming applications (apps).

The report summarising our findings is available here and can also be downloaded from the CMA’s website.

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