Miklos Sarvary

Pricing Practices and Firms' Market Power in International Cellular Markets

Coauthor(s): Dana Nunn.


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Previous studies on international marketing have typically asked the question: "how is the demand characterized across countries?" Such analysis is then used to provide guidelines for firms to enter new markets and/or to allocate marketing resources across countries. To provide such normative guidelines, however, one also needs to analyze the supply-side of the problem, i.e., ask: "what is the likely market power that firms will be able to command in different countries?" Building on the New Empirical Industrial Organization (NEIO) framework, recent research in marketing provides marketers with a variety of models to explore competitive interactions among firms in the context of a single market. The goal of this paper is to extend this literature to a multimarket/multinational context to help international marketers assess the likely market power they face when entering new countries. We illustrate the proposed method on the mobile telecommunications industry, using price and quantity data from 10 countries around the world, estimating firms' market power as a function of a number of country characteristics.

The results indicate that, while the simple presence of competition diminishes firms' market power, it does not lead to perfect competition. Interestingly, a higher number of competitors in a country does not seem to have significant incremental effect on market power. In contrast, the country's commitment to a severe antitrust policy has a significant negative effect, while the monopolist's lead-time before competition is allowed has a significant positive effect on market power. These findings, together with a change in price elasticities as a result of competition, suggest that market power in different countries may originate from two sources: (i) collusive pricing among cellular operators and (ii) consumers' switching costs across service providers. For international marketers, the findings imply that the attractiveness of wealthier countries (with usually faster diffusion rates and larger market potential) may be mitigated by higher levels of competition (as a result of developed antitrust regulation and more consumer exposure to competitive marketing practices). From a policy point of view, it suggests that (in contrast to the conventional wisdom) simple deregulation may not be enough to reduce prices to competitive levels. In addition, a severe antitrust policy is crucial to achieve this goal.

The PDF above is a preprint version of the article. The final version may be found at < http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijresmar.2004.09.001 >.

Source: International Journal of Research in Marketing
Exact Citation:
Nunn, Dana, and Miklos Sarvary. "Pricing Practices and Firms' Market Power in International Cellular Markets." International Journal of Research in Marketing 21, no. 4 (2004): 377-395.
Volume: 21
Number: 4
Pages: 377-395
Date: 2004