Feeds

FCC to vote on US mobile competition probe

I'll take you all on!

The essential guide to IT transformation

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 essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
EE plonks 4G in UK Prime Minister's backyard
OK, his constituency. Brace yourself for EXTRA #selfies
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.