SDP research papers can be roughly categorized by the different types of pricing that they investigate. We consider 15 such topics here. If you know of a paper we missed, let us know.

Shared data plans (4)

Shared data plans are another variant on usage-based pricing and are offered for mobile data by many service providers in the U.S. Such plans allow users to “share” data by charging them a fixed monthly fee for a maximum amount of data usage across several different devices (e.g., parents sharing data on their devices with their children’s cell phones). In wired networks, most data plans are "shared" in the sense that data flowing through home Internet gateways can support multiple devices, e.g., multiple laptops on local WiFi networks.

Secondary Markets for Mobile Data: Feasibility and Benefits of Traded Data Plans

L. Zheng, C. Joe-Wong, C. W. Tan, S. Ha and M. Chiang  Proceedings of IEEE INFOCOM, 2015

The growing volume of mobile data traffic has led many Internet service providers (ISPs) to cap their users' monthly data usage, with overage fees for exceeding their caps. In this work, we examine a secondary data market in which users can buy and sell leftover data caps from each other. China Mobile Hong Kong recently introduced such a market. While similar to an auction in that users submit bids to buy and sell data, it differs from traditional double auctions in that the ISP serves as the middleman between buyers and sellers. We derive the optimal prices and amount of data that different buyers and sellers are willing to bid in this market and then propose an algorithm for ISPs to match buyers and sellers. We compare the optimal matching for different ISP objectives and derive conditions under which an ISP can obtain higher revenue with the secondary market: while the ISP loses revenue from overage fees, it can assess administration fees and take the differences between the buyer and seller prices. Finally, we use one year of usage data from 100 U.S. mobile users to illustrate that the conditions for a revenue increase can hold in practice.

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Smart data pricing: To share or not to share?

Y. Jin and Z. Pang  Proceedings of the 3rd IEEE International Workshop on Smart Data Pricing (SDP), 2014

This paper studies a monopoly telecom operator’s decision on the adoption of shared data plans. A shared data plan allows sharing data quota among multiple devices or users, while conventional single device data plans only allow the use of a single device. We devise analytical models and compare a simple shared data plan (also called bundling pricing) to single device data plans (also called partitioned pricing). When consumer valuations (utilities) of different devices are independent, we find a threshold on the unit usage cost below which the shared data plan yields more profits than single device data plans. The optimal price for the shared data plan is less than the sum of the single device data plans. If consumers’ valuations for different devices have different distributions, this disparity reduces the relative value of the shared data plan against the single device data plans. We also show that shared data plans increases the social welfare and consumer surplus when it yields a higher profit. We further extend the analysis to complementary valuations on different devices: a consumer’s valuation for using both devices may be higher than the sum of his utilities on the devices when only one device is used. We identify a threshold on the unit usage cost below which the shared data plan yields more profits. The price of the shared data plan is larger than the sum of the single device data plans for very strong complementariness, while it’s always less with independent valuations. We also show numerically that a strong complementariness shrinks the range of the unit

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The economics of shared data plans

S. Sen, C. Joe-Wong, and S. Ha  Proceedings of the Workshop on Information Technologies and Systems (WITS), 2012

The demand for mobile broadband is doubling every year, forcing ISPs to use pricing as a congestion control mechanism. The largest US ISPs, AT&T and Verizon, have already terminated unlimited offerings in favor of “cap and meter” pricing plans with $10/GB overages. More recently, both ISPs have introduced shared data plans in which multiple devices share a data cap. However, such measures to curb demand can have adverse implications for mobile commerce and online content consumption. Hence, a study of the role of overage fees, usage caps, and shared data plans on the consumer’s utility is needed. In this work, we introduce an analytical framework for studying the economics of such shared data plans and model the consumer utility of choosing between shared and separate (individual) data plans for their devices. We utilize usage data from a trial of 34 iPhone and iPad users to explore this tradeoff, and show that the choice between individual and shared data plans depends heavily on consumer’s willingness to reduce usage upon exceeding the data cap. Our work creates a framework to study this dependency and indicates the importance of analyzing the impact of such data plans on consumer choice.

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Who’s hogging the bandwidth: The consequences of revealing the invisible in the home

M. Chetty, R. Banks, R. Harper, T. Regan, A. Sellen, C. Gkantsidis, T. Karagiannis and P. Key  Proceedings of ACM SIGCHI, 2010

As more technologies enter the home, householders are burdened with the task of digital housekeeping-managing and sharing digital resources like bandwidth. In response to this, we created and evaluated a domestic tool for bandwidth management called Home Watcher. Our field trial showed that when resource contention amongst different household members is made visible, people's understanding of bandwidth changes and household politics are revealed. In this paper, we describe the consequences of showing real time resource usage in a home, and how this varies depending on the social make up of the household.

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