Network Economics

Network services are realized by multiple players such as network operators, content providers (CPs), and users, and the interactions among these players determine how content flows over the network, which in turn affects service demand, service quality, user experience, and the profit of each provider.

It is also important for the healthy development of the content distribution system to have systems and regulations that allow individuals and small businesses with new technologies and service ideas to provide services freely, without monopolizing the profits of any particular business.

Therefore, we are engaged in research on the institutions and regulations of network services that take into account the interaction among multiple players in order to clarify the institutions and regulations that promote the spread of new network technologies and the healthy development of content delivery systems, focusing on the following themes.

Ecosystem Analysis of Information-Centric Networking

Althogh the introduction of Information-Centric Networking (ICN) will change traffic exchange patterns among Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the introduction of ICN will affect revenue of ISPs because they pay transit fees based on the amount of traffic between ISPs. Therefore, in order to clarify the potential for ICN deployment, it is necessary to quantitatively analyze the impact of ICN deployment on the revenue of ISPs.

To this end, we are working on a study to analyze the impact of ICN deployment on ISP revenues by modeling the amount of traffic exchange between ISPs when ICN is deployed for hierarchical ISP topologies and by multi-agent simulation using actual topologies between ISPs. We are also engaged in research on measures to promote the widespread use of ICN.

Influence Analysis of Zero Rating by Mobile Virtual Network Operator

The emergence of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), which provide mobile communication services by renting communication facilities from mobile network operators (MNOs), has diversified the choice of mobile communication services for users. This has contributed to the expansion of the market.

MVNOs are trying to increase the number of users by developing a variety of service plans, and Zero Rating (ZR) that excludes from billing traffic generated by the delivery of content from a specific content provider (CP) has been widely used by MVNOs.

However, ZR may conflict with network neutrality because it differentiates the traffic of a particular operator from other traffic, and ZR is regulated in some countries. In order to clarify the desirable institutional design, including regulation of ZR, it is necessary to analyze the impact of ZR on the users who enjoy the service.

To this end, we analyze the dynamics of the market for mobile communication services by modeling the market dynamics of MVNOs that use either the low price or ZR strategy using evolutionary games, a dynamic theoretical system that can analyze changes in social conditions expressed in terms of strategy distribution. Moreover, we are engaged in research to identify the desirable regulatory regime for ZR.