A Multi-Leader Multi-Follower Stackelberg Game for Resource Management in LTE Unlicensed
It is known that the capacity of the cellular network can be significantly improved when cellular operators are allowed to access the unlicensed spectrum. Nevertheless, when multiple operators serve their user equipments (UEs) in the same unlicensed spectrum, the inter-operator interference management becomes a challenging task. In this paper, we develop a multi-operator multi-UE Stackelberg game to analyze the interaction between multiple operators and the UEs subscribed to the services of the operators in unlicensed spectrum. In this game, to avoid intolerable interference to the Wi-Fi access point (WAP), each operator sets an interference penalty price for each UE that causes interference to the WAP, and the UEs can choose their sub-bands and determine the optimal transmit power in the chosen sub-bands of the unlicensed spectrum. Accordingly, the operators can predict the possible actions of the UEs and hence set the optimal prices to maximize its revenue earned from UEs. Furthermore, we consider two possible scenarios for the interaction of operators in the unlicensed spectrum. In the first scenario, referred to as the non-cooperative scenario, the operators cannot coordinate with each other in the unlicensed spectrum. A sub-gradient approach is applied for each operator to decide its best-response action based on the possible behaviors of others. In the second scenario, referred to as the cooperative scenario, all operators can coordinate with each other to serve UEs and control the UEs’ interference in the unlicensed spectrum. Simulation results have been presented to verify the performance improvement that can be achieved by our proposed schemes.