Sponsored data plan : a two-class service model in wireless data networks

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Data traffic demand over the Internet is increasing rapidly, and it is changing the pricing model between Internet service providers (ISPs), content providers (CPs) and end users. One recent pricing proposal is sponsored data plan, i.e., when accessing contents from a particular CP, end users do not need to pay for that volume of traffic consumed, but the CP will sponsor for this data consumption. In this paper, our goal is to understand the rationale behind this new pricing model, as well as its impacts to the wireless data market, in particular, who will benefit and who will be hurt from this scheme. We build a two-class service model to analyze the consumers' traffic demand under the sponsored data plan with consideration of QoS. We use a two-stage Stackelberg game to characterize the interaction between CPs and the ISP and reveal a number of important findings. Our conclusions include: 1) When the ISP's capacity is sufficient, the sponsored data plan benefits consumers and CPs in the short run, but the ISP does not have incentives to further improve its service in the long run. 2) When ISP's capacity is insufficient, the ISP and end users may achieve a winwin trade, while the ISP and CPs always compete for the revenue. 3) The sponsored data plan may enlarge the unbalance in revenue distribution between different CPs; CPs with higher unit income and poorer technology support are more likely to prefer the sponsored data plan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-96
Number of pages12
JournalPerformance Evaluation Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventACM SIGMETRICS International Conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Systems [SIGMETRICS] -
Duration: 1 Jan 2015 → …


  • Sponsored data
  • Stackelberg game

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Software


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