CCA Urges FCC to Acknowledge Dearth of U.S. Mobile Competition
In a recent filing, the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) asks the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to acknowledge the lack of competition in the U.S. mobile wireless market, according to Wireless Week.
Lack of Mobile Competition
With the upcoming release of the FCC’s annual State of Competition in the Mobile Wireless Market report, the CCA is requesting that the Commission include findings that represent the shortage of mobile competition nationwide, especially in rural or difficult-to-reach areas, the news source reports.
The duopoly of Verizon Wireless and AT&T — the No. 1 and No. 2 carriers in the U.S. — may only be exacerbating this lack of competitive choice.
“By the end of 2016, the duopoly continued to command 71 percent of service provider market shares by service revenue, and their shared subscriber count was nearly five times greater than that of a single competitor. Compounding these numbers, AT&T and Verizon continue to engage in secondary market transactions that dilute the competitive mobile landscape and threaten other providers’ access to spectrum and content resources. The FCC cannot responsibly conclude that this data represents a competitive market without trivializing the significant contributions rural and regional carriers make to their communities every day,” CCA CEO Steven Berry said in a statement, according to Wireless Week.
Berry feels the upcoming FCC report is an opportunity not only to identify the lack of mobile competition in certain areas but also to create strategies that minimize deployment barriers like infrastructure reform and to improve accessibility to devices for rural carriers.
Possible Sprint and T-Mobile Consolidation
According to CIO, recent talks of a Sprint merger with T-Mobile could limit mobile wireless market competition further and cause concern for consumers. For instance, lack of competition may bring back lengthy the lock-in contracts consumers faced a few years ago.
Executives from both Sprint’s corporate parent Softbank Group Corp. and T-Mobile’s owner Deutsche Telekom AG have had informal contact regarding a transaction, according to a Bloomberg report. However, due to regulatory risk and concerns, the deal may be difficult to structure. In 2014, The New York Times reported that Sprint and Softbank attempted a T-Mobile merger, but they ended the pursuit after acknowledging that antitrust regulators would stop the consolidation from happening in an industry already led by a few large mobile companies.