Journal Paper – A game-theoretic analysis on the economic viability of mobile content pre-staging

[January 23rd, 2020] Our journal paper entitled “A game-theoretic analysis on the economic viability of mobile content pre-staging” is now live via the Wireless Networks journal.  The paper focuses on mobile content pre-staging with an eye towards whether or not said pre-staging is solely beneficial to the provider or pre-staging gains are shared with the end-user.  This is related to our on-going work NSF grant focusing on PASS (Provider Accessible Storage Subsystem) as this was a pre-cursor paper to that effort that we published at the INFOCOM Workshop on Smart Data Pricing back in 2016.  This particular paper offers some nice new insights and an expanded analysis relative to the shorter workshop paper.  Kudos to Prof. Liao (my former student, now a tenured professor at Central Michigan) and Prof. Li for their fantastic work on this effort.

Title: A game-theoretic analysis on the economic viability of mobile content pre-staging
Authors: Z. Li, Q. Liao, A. Striegel
Journal: Wireless Networks (2020) 26:667–683


The rapid growth of demand for data in wireless communications has driven the mobile service carriers and the research community to seek both effective technical and alternative solutions to the data demand problem. One particular solution, content pre-staging, tries to push content as close to the mobile device as possible in order to lower demand at peak times. Assuming the interesting case that mobile device storage could be made available as part of the mobile carrier’s system capacity either directly by the end user or indirectly by the carrier, this paper investigates the potential economic impacts on the mobile service business and various stakeholders of content pre-staging. We explore the economic implications of content pre-staging by modeling the interplay among the mobile carrier, end users, and the content provider in a game theoretic framework. The carrier designs pricing mechanisms to affect the behaviors of the content provider and end users for the purpose of profit maximization. In particular, two prices are introduced, the price charged to the content provider to pre-stage content on mobile device storage, and the monetary reward to compensate users for the usage of their mobile device storage. Although the individual incentive of the carrier is not necessarily aligned with social incentives, the welfare analysis of content pre-staging shows that the practice improves social welfare by increasing network efficiency. Localizing content increases the overall profitability of mobile service business which is positively related to the relevance of the pre-staged content. The carrier’s pricing mechanisms determine the manner in which the increased profitability of the business is shared by various interested parties. While the carrier may design prices strategically to retain a larger share of the increased profitability, content pre-staging can benefit all the three parties in the game, i.e., the carrier gains in saved capacity and new revenue, users gain QoE, content, and financial rewards for sharing mobile device storage, and the content provider gains in increased revenue from increased content access.