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AT&T Uneasy with Clearwire Portion of Sprint-Softbank Deal

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Top message:  Good by stevelvl   Oct 18, 2012, 12:18 PM

Replying to:  Government does control the cell phone uindustry. by stevelvl   Oct 19, 2012, 4:55 PM

Re: I guess 1 out of 7 ain't bad...

by CellStudent    Oct 19, 2012, 8:31 PM

stevelvl said:
In the US the government has stepped in to regulate the wireless industry.

1. You have to have approval to start any wireless company MVNO or operator.

2. The government license the spectrum and determines when and where you can use it. They also limit the amount of companies that can operate in any given geographical area.

3. FCC mandates minimal service levels to carriers, if they are not met the carriers face fines. This includes every thing from minimal sellers to maximum hold times.

4. The FCC mandates other carriers be allowed to roam onto carrier networks.

5. FCC mandates the shearing of carrier resources.

6. The FCC tells carriers which devices they can and can not have. They also tell Carrier what features those devices have to have (such as GPS and hearing aid compatibility)

7. All carriers have to present their price plans to the FCC for approval. If one companies wants to charge higher then the industry average they have to justify it to the FCC before ti is approved.

The wireless industry is just as regulated as the energy, landline or way more then cable. These are just a few examples. Your assumption that the cell phone industry is free of government intervention is wrong at best. It is equally misguided as your idea of monopolies.


Most of your suppositions are blown way out of proportion and are simply a result of minimum management levels needed to foster a competitive environment.


(1) Name one business that can be started without a business license in the USA. There's no singling out the wireless networks here.

(2) I'm not aware of any government policy designed to directly limit the number of carriers that serve any particular area, but the "block" nature of spectrum licenses does have that effect to some extent. This is a result of convenience, not deliberate manipulation. Without boundaries between spectrum chunks, all wireless phones would be completely useless and the industry would cease to exist. This level of management is no different than mandating TV and radio broadcasters take precautions to avoid jamming their competitors' signals.

(3) The FCC isn't very involved in much of what you actually mentioned here. They do have a build-out requirement for spectrum leases that require airwaves to actually get used within so many years of the auction. I know that when I worked for Verizon two years ago they did not regulate customer service hold times for cellular (but they do have such requirements for landline telcos). The only thing I have ever seen the FCC issue a fine to a wireless company is for perceived or deliberate misconduct when a carrier has done something totally unacceptable in any business model in any industry, like premium SMS scams or customer data breaches. Can you point me to an actual example of what you're describing here?

(4) True. (Congratulations, you got one right!)

(5) I'm not sure what you mean unless you're talking about backhaul leasing, which is a landline telco deal, not cellular. And this is a result of a Congressionl mandate in the Telecommunications Act of 1996, not FCC regulatory practice.

(6) Minimum safety standards for an electromagnetic transmitter placed less than three inches away from the skull are a no-brainer. That cannot be considered excessive regulation. Accessibility for the handicapped and GPS for e911 calls have been mandated by Congress, not regulated by the pleasure of the FCC. There's a big difference, actually. Would you call designating handicapped parking spaces and mandating public restrooms in public places of business excessive regulation?

(7) I have a real hard time believing this one and I think it's totally untrue. Landline telcos have price regulations issued by state-level public utility commissions, but I have never seen any evidence of the FCC getting involved in publicly advertised, nationwide calling plan prices. Can you point me to an actual example outside of wholesale?

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