Competition for Mobile Wireless Services Is Not Present Nationwide
FCC’s Mobile Competition Report Must Be Based on Accurate Data
Washington, DC – May 8, 2017 – Today, in comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission), Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) encouraged the Commission to consider the number of unserved and underserved areas and undertake a traditional market power analysis based on accurate data when crafting its Twentieth Annual Report on the State of Competition in the Mobile Wireless Market (“Report”). Competition for mobile wireless services is not present nationwide, and the Commission’s upcoming Report should be grounded in economic analysis, consistent with Congress’ mandate.
In a statement, CCA President & CEO Steven K. Berry said, “The fact-of-the-matter is that competition is not present nationwide and varies significantly by geographic location, and it is high-time the Commission makes a conclusion to that effect. Competitive carriers serve some of the most rural and hard-to-reach areas, and their experiences more than validate the unfortunate reality that many parts of the country do not receive, much less have competitive choice for, mobile wireless service. By the end of 2016, the duopoly continued to command 71% of service provider market shares by service revenue, and their shared subscriber count was nearly five times greater than that of a single competitor. Compounding these numbers, AT&T and Verizon continue to engage in secondary market transactions that dilute the competitive mobile landscape and threaten other providers’ access to spectrum and content resources. The FCC cannot responsibly conclude that this data represents a competitive market without trivializing the significant contributions rural and regional carriers make to their communities every day.”
“In addition, Chairman Pai’s own Digital Empowerment Agenda indicates the wireless industry needs a shot of competitive juice if we want to achieve nationwide mobile broadband coverage. The upcoming Mobile Competition Report presents a timely opportunity for the Commission to conduct a rigorous data analysis, not only to determine areas that still lack competition but to move forward on items that will reduce barriers to deployment – for example, access to spectrum, infrastructure reform, universal service fund reform, and greater access to devices – for the benefit of the economy and consumers.”
“The Commission’s own Mobility Fund II Order and Connect America Fund II auction, among other recent regulatory reforms, were adopted to address the ‘rural and high-cost areas of our country [that] have been left behind.’ I encourage the Commission to seize the opportunity in drafting its upcoming Mobile Competition Report to ensure pro-competitive policies are in place to achieve ubiquitous, nationwide service and to meet Congress’ statutory requirement for competition. Consumers will be the ultimate winners.”
CCA is the nation’s leading association for competitive wireless providers and stakeholders across the United States. The licensed service area of CCA’s nearly 100 carrier members covers 95 percent of the nation. Visit www.ccamobile.org.
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