15.020 | Fall 2003 | Graduate

Competition in Telecommunications


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session


15.020 Competition in Telecommunications provides an introduction to the economics, business strategies, and technology of telecommunications markets, including markets for wireless communications, local and long-distance services, and telecommunications customer equipment. The convergence of computers, cable TV and telecommunications and the competitive emergence of the Internet are covered in depth. The shifting roles of technology, Federal and state government policies, and business strategies in shaping these rapidly changing markets are studied, with particular emphasis on the roles of regulation and competition and the likely evolution of technology, public policy, and market structures over the next decade. A number of speakers from leading companies in the industry will give course lectures. Students have the opportunity to meet and have dinner with the speakers.

Grading and Requirements

Course Requirements for 15.020

Pre-Requisites: 15.010 or 15.011 or equivalent. There are three course requirements for 15.020 graduate students:

  • Class attendance and participation (10%)
  • Assignment #1: Executive Summary or Analysis of Existing Business (30%)
  • Assignment #3: Economic Analysis (60%)

Note: 15.020 students are not required to do Assignment #2.

Course Requirements for 14.28

Pre-Requisites: 14.03 or 14.04. There are four course requirements for 14.28 undergraduate students:

  • Class attendance and participation (10%)
  • Assignment #1: Executive Summary or Analysis of Existing Business (25%)
  • Assignment #2: Regulatory Analysis (25%)
  • Assignment #3: Economic Analysis (40%)

Class Participation

Students are expected to attend all classes. The TA will take attendance. Please prepare for each class by completing assigned readings. Your participation is important for the success of questions and answers sessions that occur when we host guest speakers.


For a description of the assignments, see the assignments page.

Other Important Information

Course Readings

Most of the readings for the course are available for free online (on the class server or on external websites). Some of the articles and papers may require minimal online payments (ex. on The Economist or Harvard Business Review websites). Rather than assembling a course packet and make students pay for all readings, including optional ones, we opted for giving you the option to purchase only the documents you intend on reading.

The optional (but recommended) text for this course is Annabel Dodd’s, The Essential Guide to Telecommunications, 3rd ed. This text is available at the campus bookstore, and can be found on reserve at the library. This text introduces technologies relevant to the telecommunications marketplace, and is strongly recommended for students that are new to the industry. Other texts will be kept on reserve at the library are:

  • Newton’s Telecom Dictionary by Harry Newton and Ray Horak is an industry classic that helps readers understand many technologies and acronyms.
  • Steve Rosenbush from USA Today published Telecom Business Opportunities which contains many interesting anecdotes about firms in their early years.

Course Dinners

We intend to arrange dinners with as many speakers as possible, to allow small numbers of students to meet with key leaders in the telecommunications industry in an informal environment on the evening of the lecture.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2003