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        ADD A COMMENT
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
There is an impressive array of technology that is planned for the transition to 5G that will enable many new possible services.
5G could shape up to be a stunningly expensive fiasco.
The Swedish vendor has undergone a significant transformation during the past few years, adjusting to the demands of next-generation communications companies.
Wi-Fi Alliance members have created Wi-Fi Aware technology to bring local experiences to life -- without requiring access to the Internet or GPS.
Bamboozled by the flood of abbreviations and acronyms that SDN and NFV have inspired? Here's a guide to some of the key standards bodies whose initials you will need to know.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
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
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Comcast Merger May Hinge on Hulu
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/22/2015
Google Ready to Release Thousands of Loons
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/20/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment