Light Reading

FCC: Act Now as Wireless Duopoly Looms

Steven Berry
12/6/2013
50%
50%

Each day, consumers rely more and more on wireless services to connect to people, places, information, and things. We've come to expect access to data anytime, anywhere. Meanwhile, mobile applications and other innovative uses of wireless technology are softening the impact of an otherwise sluggish economy.

But earlier this year the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a sobering report on the state of wireless competition in the US. For the third straight year, the Commission was unable to certify that the mobile industry is characterized by "effective competition." With data usage continually on the rise, the wireless industry should be fiercely competitive for consumers to continue to reap the many benefits of a wireless world. (See LTE: The Bridge to the Digital Divide .)

Just a few years ago, the US wireless industry enjoyed robust competition, with numerous carriers at the national and regional level competing to service customers, and consumers had choices in almost every market. This competition resulted in steadily improving services at rapidly decreasing prices, thriving innovation, a growing industry, and, most importantly, a win for consumers.

Unfortunately, the market has changed, and the FCC's most recent wireless competition report confirmed that the wireless industry is in imminent danger of reverting back to the duopoly of its early days. Going down this dangerous path will reduce consumer choice and raise prices, but also hold back the nation's sputtering economic recovery.

History shows that preserving and enhancing wireless competition is a vital means of driving economic growth and job creation, maintaining our nation's global competitiveness, promoting continued innovation, and enhancing consumer welfare. But wireless competition can thrive only with effective safeguards to prevent the accumulation and exercise of market power into a few hands -- rules and policies that prohibit excessive consolidation and preserve access to key inputs like spectrum, devices, and networks for consumers.

To promote a healthy, competitive wireless marketplace, Competitive Carriers Association, which represents the interests of more than 100 competitive wireless carriers, including rural, regional, and national providers, urges the FCC to create a Wireless Competition Task Force. This Task Force should be charged with developing and implementing proposals for promoting greater wireless competition, such as:

  • Updating the FCC's "spectrum screen" and designing pro-competitive auction processes;
  • Ensuring access to commercially reasonable data roaming agreements;
  • Maintaining essential interconnection obligations;
  • Promoting competitive access to devices; and
  • Respecting consumer choice when making universal service support determinations.

Relaxing policies that safeguard competition has led to an excessive amount of consolidation in the wireless industry, ultimately to consumers' detriment. As the industry retreats step-by-step towards a stagnant duopoly, with two carriers dominating the marketplace, the FCC should undertake a holistic review of its rules and policies that effect mobile competition.

Taking steps now to restore competition will allow the industry to continue to innovate and grow under a light touch regulatory regime, as opposed to a market that needs to be disciplined by heavy-handed regulation in attempt to replicate the benefits of competition.

These are exciting times for consumers. Broadband networks are empowering people who have access to these high-powered, information highways to do amazing things. Wireless service is allowing more people to tap into these powerful networks – provided consumers have choices, and access to service plans and devices that fit their budgets and lifestyles. The wireless industry is at a critical juncture, and the FCC should act decisively to restore competition and all of the benefits it entails.

— Steven K. Berry, President & CEO, Competitive Carriers Association (CCA)

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
RitchBlasi
50%
50%
RitchBlasi,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/6/2013 | 4:42:27 PM
Competition
All good points that I personally agree with - do you need 5 owned-operated networks in each marker to handle the growth in mobile or 2-3 strong, robust networks.  I believe having fewer, stronger networks are better.  And as far as competition??? You can walk into any Best Buy or WalMart and have a choice of several mobile companies to choose from - and many offer cheaper plans that run on the same national networks of the owned-operated networks.
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/6/2013 | 1:39:30 PM
I guess it is time to say
Yeah, what we need is wireless CLECs.  That worked out SO well (note this is intended to be dripping with huge amounts of sarcasm) in the wireline network.

I think we need to do anything BUT ask the government to make a competitive market.  We already learned that this can not be done.  If there is economic value in building a 3rd or 4th network, then it will form.  If there is no economic value, then T-Mobile and Sprint will slowly go the way of the dodo.

seven

 
More Blogs from Column
Bigger. And Better. But definitely bigger.
When trying to develop innovative technologies, engineers must be willing to take risks, make mistakes and move ahead incrementally without having all the data.
Mobile network operators have the network and a business model that makes them well suited to lead the charge as the Internet of Things (IoT) takes off.
Gathering useful information for real-time management of Ethernet and IP networks is a non-trivial issue.
There are three important questions service providers need to address for in-market and out-of-market expansion.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (4) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
LRTV Interviews
Light Reading ICT Leaders Roundtable at MWC 2015

2|12|15   |   1:07   |   (2) comments


On Sunday March 1, 2015, Light Reading will host an ICT Leaders Roundtable in partnership with Huawei. At this half-day event, CIOs, analysts and researchers will discuss key industry trends like virtualization in the cloud with a specific focus on new business models. Located at the luxurious Renaissance Hotel near the Fira Barcelona, space is limited so please ...
LRTV Documentaries
Going Green in 2015

2|12|15   |   02:04   |   (0) comments


Energy efficiency is set to be an incredibly hot topic in the telecom industry this year.
LRTV Custom TV
SDN & NFV: Where Are We Going From Here?

2|11|15   |   11:27   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss gives his perspective on why SDN and NFV should be tightly interconnected and how he sees the industry moving forward.
LRTV Documentaries
Time for Gigabit Europe?

2|9|15   |   01:27   |   (4) comments


Gigabit broadband networks are springing up all around the US and they'll soon become more commonplace in Europe.
LRTV Interviews
Brocade Brings New IP Vision to 2020 Vision Executive Summit

2|3|15   |   4:23   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading gathered telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Brocade's Kelly Herrell shared his company's strategy at ...
LRTV Interviews
Brocade's Kelly Herrell on the New IP

2|2|15   |   12:36   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Brocade VP of Software Networking Kelly Herrell at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Brocade's approach to the New IP, the future of the telecom industry, and more.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Cyber Security Expert Warns: You're Doing It Wrong
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/23/2015
10 Weirdly Useful IoT Devices
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 2/24/2015
Small Cells Enabling Location Services
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/25/2015
Is FCC Weighing Net Neutrality Changes?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 2/25/2015
MWC: Let the Madness Begin
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/23/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.
G'day! And welcome to an entirely new feature on Light Reading -- our weekly "CEO-to-CEO" interview.