Feeds

FCC to vote on US mobile competition probe

I'll take you all on!

The Power of One Infographic

The FCC has scheduled an open meeting for next Thursday, to decide if the regulator should launch a full examination of competition in the US mobile industry.

With its new-found willingness to take on all comers, the FCC is proposing a Notice of Inquiry tasked with gathering information about competition between commercial mobile operators for report to Congress, and will be discussing the idea at the meeting.

The US mobile market is dominated by AT&T and Verizon, but also supports a myriad of small providers with local coverage. These providers are dependent on roaming agreements with the big players, and have often complained about being overcharged for roaming and call routing.

The FCC is already looking into the issue of handsets being exclusive to specific operators, and manufacturers exerting too much control over content, but this time the focus is on how the operators deal with each other, and whether the current landscape provides a competitive environment to the benefit of customers.

Certainly the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) believes Americans aren't getting much of a deal - its report on the subject last week claimed that Americans were paying $635.85 a year on mobile, compared to $141.44 in the Netherlands and similar rates elsewhere in Europe. That drew a swift rebuttal from industry lobbyists the CTIA, who claimed the figures were based on unrealistic call volumes (Americans, it seems, make more calls) but the existence of the debate would seem to indicate there is a case to answer.

Not that the operators are unduly worried, at least not in public: Verizon told Bloomberg that it is "very much looking forward to beginning the dialogue", while AT&T explained "We like the fact that this new FCC and the new chairman seem to be very data-driven... When you look at the facts in the wireless industry, you see a lot of choice and variety."

It's still early days for the newly aggressive FCC, but if you happen to be in Washington come Thursday you might like to drop by and see how they're planning to do things (meeting details pdf), or you could just wait for the meeting to be reported on Twitter. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.