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TodayÂ¿s communication networks are highly complex, carry heterogeneous traffic in diverse environments, and are often owned by multiple profit-making entities. To successfully maintain, optimize, and upgrade such large distributed networks, it is important to design new economic incentive mechanisms as well as develop new technologies. The market deregulation of the telecommunication industry in many countries makes such economic consideration even more urgent, as there are often conflicting goals between the regulators and the commercial operators. In this feature topic we present six articles that naturally group into three trendy topics in this important emerging research discipline.