Fraida Fund

  • Fraida Fund
    Fraida Fund

PhD student, New York University

Spectrum and Infrastructure Sharing in Millimeter Wave Cellular Networks: An Economic Perspective

The massive bandwidth, highly directional antennas, high penetration loss and susceptibility to shadowing in millimeter wave (mmWave) bands suggest certain advantages to spectrum and infrastructure sharing among cellular service providers. However, even when sharing is technically beneficial (as recent research in this area suggests that it is), it may not be profitable. Insight from both engineering and economics is required to answer questions about the market for mmWave cellular service.

To address this, we apply the economic framework of markets with network effects to cellular service, and then use this framework to analyze spectrum and infrastructure sharing decisions in mmWave cellular networks. First, we consider the effect of open resources on the difficulty with which service providers reach critical mass in a market with perfect competition. We show that in the market for mmWave service, “open” deployments of neutral small cells (that serve subscribers of any service provider) encourage market entry by making it easier for networks to reach critical mass, an effect that does not occur in the equivalent microwave network. We also consider a duopoly market in which service providers can choose to share resources or not, and show that in mmWave networks, resource sharing is less often profitable for both service providers at the same time than in the equivalent microwave networks. These findings suggest that the application of the framework of network effects to cellular network services, and in particular to the economic implications of resource sharing in mmWave networks, yields useful insight into the behavior of these markets.

Fraida Fund ( is a Ph.D. candidate in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, under the supervision of Prof. Shivendra S. Panwar. She received a B.S. in electrical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of NYU in 2012, and was a recipient of a 2012 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She was a research intern at AT&T Labs – Research in 2013, and at Nokia Bell Labs in 2017.

Her research interests are in computer and wireless networks, most recently focusing on the economics of resource sharing in millimeter wave 5G cellular systems. Her work in this area integrates technical simulations of millimeter wave cellular systems and economic models of markets with “network effects” to better understand the market for these services. Her research shows that technical advantages due to spectrum and infrastructure sharing, suggested by a purely engineering analysis, do not necessarily translate to increased profit for service providers or increased consumer surplus.

Fraida is also an active contributor to GENI, a nationwide shared infrastructure for research on next-generation networks. Since 2012, the open-access GENI wireless testbed that she built at NYU has supported thousands of hours of use in research and education, by hundreds of experimenters. She developed GENI-based educational materials that have been used by faculty at universities all over the world. She also mentors M.S., B.S., and high school students conducting a wide range of research projects on GENI.

Fraida Fund’s Research webpage