Previous research, assuming linear pricing, has argued that telecommunications networks may use a high access charge as an instrument of collusion. I show that this conclusion is difficult to maintain when operators compete in nonlinear pricing: (i) As long as subscription demand is inelastic, profits can remain independent of the access charge, even when customers are heterogeneous and networks engage in second-degree price discrimination. (ii) When demand for subscriptions is elastic, networks may increase profits by agreeing on an access charge below marginal cost (relative to cost-based access pricing). Welfare is typically increased by setting the access charge above marginal cost.
RAND Journal of Economicsvol.
34, (January 01, 2003):