1st International Conference on Game Theory for Networks

Research Article

Provider-customer coalitional games

  • @INPROCEEDINGS{10.1109/GAMENETS.2009.5137400,
        author={Alireza   Aram and Saswati  Sarkar and Chandramani Singh},
        title={Provider-customer coalitional games},
        proceedings={1st International Conference on Game Theory for Networks},
  • Alireza Aram
    Saswati Sarkar
    Chandramani Singh
    Year: 2009
    Provider-customer coalitional games
    DOI: 10.1109/GAMENETS.2009.5137400
Alireza Aram1, Saswati Sarkar1, Chandramani Singh2
  • 1: Dep. of Electrical and Systems Eng., University of Pennsylvania.
  • 2: Dep. of Electrical Communications Eng., Indian, Institute of Science, Bangalore.


Efficacy of proliferation of commercial wireless networks can be substantially enhanced through large scale cooperation among different providers. If a group of providers cooperate by allowing customers to be served by the resources of the whole group rather than just those of their own providers, they have the potential to utilize their resources more efficiently and enhance the quality of service they can offer. This in turn can result in higher profits for the providers. Such cooperation can, however, be successfully implemented if providers in a coalition judiciously allocate the resources, such as spectrum and base stations, accesspoints, etc., in a way that the individuals payoffs are commensurate to the resources they offer to the coalition. Initially, we assume that providers do not share their payoffs. We formulate this problem as a nontransferable payoff coalitional game and show that there exists a cooperation strategy that leaves no incentive for any subset of providers to split from the grand coalition, i.e., the core is nonempty. To compute this cooperation strategy and the corresponding payoffs, we subsequently relate this game and its core to an exchange market setting, and its equilibrium which can be computed by several practically efficient algorithms. Next, we investigate cooperation in a scenario, where customers are also decision makers and decide which provider to subscribe to, based on whether there is cooperation. We then formulate a coalitional game in this setting and show that it has a nonempty core. Finally, we extend previous results to the cases, where individuals assume more general payoff sharing relations, and their benefits are modeled as ldquovector payoff functionsrdquo, comprised of mixed transferable and nontransferable components.