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FCC Releases Yearly Report On Mobile Competition; Still No Conclusion

FCC Releases Yearly Report On Mobile Competition; Still No Conclusion

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has officially released its yearly report on the state of competition in the United States mobile industry. Just like before, the agency has refused to make a definite conclusion, as reported by Broadcasting & Cable. The FCC’s report basically consists of 140 pages, and was written by the agency’s Wireless Bureau. Despite presenting a substantial amount of information, the report veers away from offering a clear verdict on the how competition fares all throughout the entire American wireless industry.


According to Broadcasting & Cable, the volume of data is in danger of being misleading in the absence of a conclusion that would have taken the immense amount of raw information and fashioned it into something that is digestible and ultimately useful, not only for the industry as a whole, but also quite possibly to consumers as well. Instead, the report just offers data on market concentration, and the conduct and competitive nature of wireless carriers, plus data on spectrum, back haul, mobile devices, and consumer behavior.


As expected, the FCC’s latest annual report garnered diverse reactions across the whole wireless industry. One industry group, Mobile Future, which consists of industry leaders Verizon Wireless and AT&T, pointed out that the US marketplace is the world’s foremost benchmark on mobile competition. Another group, the Competitive Carriers Association, claimed that the agency’s report solidifies the idea that everything in the industry appears to be inevitably consolidated into the welcoming arms of the two biggest wireless carriers in America right now.


Few would argue the thoughts being thrown in the preceding paragraph. Verizon Wireless and AT&T are, after all, far and away, the two most dominant players in the industry, and small wireless carriers often have to fight each other just to make do with the scraps left behind. Sure, it is true that the other two major wireless carriers in the US have narrowed the gap a bit, with T-Mobile exhibiting considerable growth in the last couple of years, but the distance between number 2 (AT&T) and number 3 (T-Mobile) is still very, very vast. 


But while the FCC’s report refused to offer a clear conclusion, it did stress that in this day and age, more spectrum is needed, including from the broadcast incentive auction, and spreading low band spectrum around is required in order to foster even more robust competition. It should be noted that the FCC has set aside (subject to benchmarks) some low band spectrum in the incentive auction for competitors to Verizon Wireless and AT&T who already enjoy having the majority of that spectrum.