Market Competition between LTE-U and WiFi

Xu Wang*, Randall A. Berry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


LTE-U is an extension of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard for operation in unlicensed spectrum. LTE-U differs from WiFi, the predominant technology used in unlicensed spectrum in that it utilizes a duty cycle mode for accessing the spectrum and allows for a more seamless integration with LTE deployments in licensed spectrum. There have been a number of technical studies on the co-existence of LTE-U and WiFi. In this paper, we instead investigate the impact of such a technology from an economic perspective. We consider a model where an incumbent service provider (SP) deploys a duty cycle-based technology like LTE-U in an unlicensed band along with operating in a licensed band and competes with one or more entrants that only operate in the unlicensed band using a different technology like WiFi. We characterize the impact of a technology like LTE-U on the market outcome and show that the welfare impacts are subtle, depending in part on the amount of unlicensed spectrum and number of entrants. The difference in spectral efficiency between LTE and WiFi also plays a role in the competition. Finally, we investigate the impact of the duty cycle and the portion of unlicensed spectrum used by the technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9328192
Pages (from-to)765-779
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • LTE-U
  • WiFi
  • network economics
  • price competition
  • wardrop equilibrium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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