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FCC Maintains Neutral Stance on Wireless Industry

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Jun 28, 2011, 7:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Federal Communications Commission recently offered its yearly report on the state of competition in the wireless industry. As it concluded in 2010, the FCC took a neutral stance to the industry. This means it didn't rate the industry competitive, but it didn't say the industry was anti-competitive, either. In its report, the FCC said, "The mobile wireless ecosystem is sufficiently complex and multi-faceted that it would not be meaningful to try to make a single, all inclusive finding regarding effective competition that adequately encompasses the level of competition in the various interrelated segments, types of services, and vast geographic areas of the mobile wireless industry." Both the CTIA Wireless Association and Verizon Wireless issued statements on Monday asserting their own beliefs that the industry is in fact competitive. Verizon said the "U.S. has the most innovative, dynamically competitive wireless market in the world." The FCC offered no clues about its stance toward the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile acquisition in the report. It said only, "A merger can potentially form a stronger provider that restrains competitors from engaging in anticompetitive behavior, or may increase the likelihood that the merged firm may itself, or in coordination with other firms, would obtain or maintain market power." Before 2010, the FCC had labeled the wireless industry as effectively competitive.

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