Open Access

Inter-Operator Spectrum Sharing from a Game Theoretical Perspective

EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing20092009:295739

Received: 15 February 2009

Accepted: 8 July 2009

Published: 9 September 2009


We address the problem of spectrum sharing where competitive operators coexist in the same frequency band. First, we model this problem as a strategic non-cooperative game where operators simultaneously share the spectrum according to the Nash Equilibrium (NE). Given a set of channel realizations, several Nash equilibria exist which renders the outcome of the game unpredictable. Then, in a cognitive context with the presence of primary and secondary operators, the inter-operator spectrum sharing problem is reformulated as a Stackelberg game using hierarchy where the primary operator is the leader. The Stackelberg Equilibrium (SE) is reached where the best response of the secondary operator is taken into account upon maximizing the primary operator's utility function. Moreover, an extension to the multiple operators spectrum sharing problem is given. It is shown that the Stackelberg approach yields better payoffs for operators compared to the classical water-filling approach. Finally, we assess the goodness of the proposed distributed approach by comparing its performance to the centralized approach.


Nash EquilibriumPayoffPrimary OperatorCentralize ApproachMultiple Operator

Publisher note

To access the full article, please see PDF.

Authors’ Affiliations

Centre for Wireless Communications, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
SUPELEC, CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvettes Cedex, France
Alcatel-Lucent Chair in Flexible Radio, SUPELEC, Gif-sur-Yvettes Cedex, France


© Mehdi Bennis et al. 2009

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.