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US regulators probe wireless competition

Devices and infrastructure focus

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US regulators are probing the level of competition in the wireless sector in a move that could lead to broader investigation of the communications industry.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has said it's seeking input on new issues and topics since its last report was released in this annual process in May.

The Commission said it wants to include new market segments not covered in earlier reports, such as in devices and infrastructure.

Importantly, regulators want to examine "vertical relationships" between "upstream" and "down stream" market segments and how these relationships affect the competition.

That means the Commission want to examine whether deals between, say, handset manufacturers and carriers have locked out rivals to the detriment of customers.

This is the first such under President Barack Obama's FCC chairman Julius Genachowski who said his organization would seek to provide "a solid foundation for policy making with respect to mobile wireless services" using the report's findings. Genachowski is a leading supporter of the idea of net neutrality.

The Commission also announced an inquiry looking at ways to support and encourage further innovation and investment in wireless.

Spectrum availability, wireless networks, devices, applications, and business practices will be looked at along with how the public has used wireless services and technology to solve real-world problems in areas such as health care, energy, education, and public safety the FCC said. ®

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