Toward cooperation by carrier aggregation in heterogeneous networks: A hierarchical game approach

Pu Yuan, Yong Xiao, Guoan Bi, Liren Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This paper studies the resource-Allocation problem for a heterogeneous network (HetNet) in which the spectrum owned by a macrocell operator (MCO) can be shared by both unlicensed users (UUs) and licensed users (LUs). We formulate a novel hierarchical game theoretic framework to jointly optimize the transmit powers and subband allocations of the UUs and the pricing strategies of the MCO. In our framework, an overlapping coalition formation (OCF) game has been introduced to model the cooperative behaviors of the UUs. We then integrate this OCF game into a Stackelberg game-based hierarchical framework. We prove that the core of our proposed OCF game is nonempty and introduce an optimal subband-Allocation scheme for UUs. A simple distributed algorithm is proposed for UUs to autonomously form an optimal coalition formation (CF) structure. The Stackelberg equilibrium (SE) of the proposed hierarchical game is derived, and its uniqueness and optimality are proved. A distributed joint optimization algorithm is also proposed to approach the SE of the game with limited information exchanges between the MCO and the UUs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2558318
Pages (from-to)1670-1683
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Carrier aggregation
  • Coalitional game
  • Game theory
  • Heterogeneous networks (hetnets)
  • Overlapping
  • Power control
  • Price adjustment
  • Spatial spectrum sharing
  • Subband allocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Automotive Engineering


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