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Mobile phones are among the most popular consumer devices, and the recent developments of 3G networks and smart phones enable users to watch video programs by subscribing data plans from service providers. Due to the ubiquity of mobile phones and phone-to-phone communication technologies, data-plan subscribers can redistribute the video content to nonsubscribers. Such a redistribution mechanism is a potential competitor for the mobile service provider and is very difficult to trace given users' high mobility. The service provider has to set a reasonable price for the data plan to prevent such unauthorized redistribution behavior to protect or maximize his/her own profit. In this paper, we analyze the optimal price setting for the service provider by investigating the equilibrium between the subscribers and the secondary buyers in the content-redistribution network. We model the behavior between the subscribers and the secondary buyers as a noncooperative game and find the optimal price and quantity for both groups of users. Based on the behavior of users in the redistribution network, we investigate the evolutionarily stable ratio of mobile users who decide to subscribe to the data plan. Such an analysis can help the service provider preserve his/her profit under the threat of the redistribution networks and can improve the quality of service for end users.
Date of Publication: May 2012