Journal of Regulatory Economics

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 1–25

Telephony choices and the evolution of cell phones

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11149-015-9274-2

Cite this article as:
Thacker, M.J. & Wilson, W.W. J Regul Econ (2015) 48: 1. doi:10.1007/s11149-015-9274-2


Since cell phones were introduced commercially in 1983, virtually all consumers have adopted cell phones. In this paper, we examine the effect of this new product on telephony demand and its evolution in the market using the Consumer Expenditure Survey from 1994 to 2012. This represents a period much longer than previous studies and over which most cell phone adoptions took place. We develop and estimate a model of household choice of telephony options using a mixed logit as a function of consumer characteristics, unobserved alternative-specific attributes, and prices over time. Unlike previous research, our focus is on the evolution of demand and choices made by households. To illustrate the evolution, we construct market segments and track adoptions over time by market segment, allowing for an assessment of whether cell phones are substitutes or complements for landlines. The evidence suggests that the move to cellular telephone services is driven by young households and by households with larger families. We then develop and apply a decomposition of substitutability and find significant evidence that substitutability differs through time and by market segment.


Telephone Cellular Landline Consumer adoption Evolution Choice 

Mathematics Subject Classification

L96 D12 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OregonEugeneUSA

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