The FCC has published its annual report on the competitiveness of the US wireless industry, and says there's not enough of it - despite industry howls to the contrary. The report covers part of 2008 and most of 2009, and leaves industry body the CTIA "disappointed and confused as to why [the FCC has] chosen not to make a finding …
(As if that worked for the local loop.)
Do they really want wireless though...
.....not like you can shoot it!
I was recently shopping cellphones and pretty much each company has its own network technology & frequencies, so even with unbranded phones you're still sort of screwed. For example, I wanted an N900, but it doesn't work 3G with anyone except T-Mobile and isn't offered branded by ANYBODY.
Typical crap American companies. I try to avoid buying American if I can. Even Chinese is better.
Not Enough Competition
The industry (of course they would) howls that there is plenty (up to "3 or more"...) of competition? If they can get away with charging $0.10 per text one sends AND charge $0.10 for your 'victim' to receive said text...there's something wrong. And that is just for the CHEAPEST per-text rate. That and your data plan costs more than your home DSL....even the 40MB/mo ones... And of course they won't sell you a smartphone unless you get a dataplan.
I agree with the unbundling idea. Sure, people would lose subsidizing their phones, but it would also make wireless providers need to be cheaper to drive people to actually buy a smartphone and put it on their network instead of someone else's. No more $99/mo phone plan for the iPhone, just because you HAVE to be on AT&T. Fortunately, my BB is with a decent company (at least there's plenty (3 here) of BB carriers), and that should hold me over until I can pick up an Android of some flavor in a few months once v2.2 is mainstream.
Bandwidth was auctioned off for extremely high prices. Only huge carriers could afford to trategically reserve bandwidth to shut out smaller competitors. They then charge very high prices to recover the cost of bandwidth. The wireless market is anti-competitive by design. It's time for a spectrum breakup. Any wireless company not currently using blocks of spectrum they are not using should be refunded what they paid for it and the spectrum assigned to competition. The FCC/FTC should be able to use anti-competitive legislation to accomplish this. It's a shame that there is not such legislation in Canada.
Simple and superior solution would be for the FTC to actually do their job and try to prevent monopolies from being created.
Why the hell is any cell provider allowed to buy another?
If AllTel had not been snapped up by Verizon, and Cingular by AT&T we would have at least 6 Major providers instead of the 4 we have now (and that's stretching it a bit to call T-mobile a major provider.)
THE AWOL FCC MISSION STATEMENT FAILURE
Try to find this on fcc.gov
(hint: it's part of the original mission statement)
no luck huh? Try finding it on any other search engine. Not much better huh?
"Under the Communications Act of 1934, the FCC is charged
with allocating spectrum space to maximize "the public interest, convenience,
or necessity. The Communications Act and its revisions mandate
promotion of the public interest, and thus the encouragement of a diversity
of voices so as to promote a vibrant democracy."
Pretty much sums up why 99% of the "public spectrum" is "corporate owned" and the FCC isn't run by engineers in the public interest anymore. It's ran by fascism.
So that's what we're talking about?
"Wireless what?" I wondered.
At least I knew it was unlikely to be wireless telegraphy, but you ought to be a little embarrassed by how vague your summary turned out to be. There seems to have been a rather large lump of context set adrift in the mid-Atlantic.
I don't know about the US but in Canada it's not so much the lack of choice in providers, but the fact they all rip off the consumer, and they all provide horrible service. You never hear anyone say ANYTHING positive about telecoms, just how horrible they all are.
Building on what Dadz says: Only huge carriers could afford to trategically reserve bandwidth to shut out smaller competitors. "
In fact it's worse that that. There are clear cases of companies buying up spectrum solely to sit on it -- not just carriers where they may use it some day, but in one case a consortium of cable cos. They reportedly bought a bunch of AWS (1700/2100) spectrum SOLELY to sit on it, so they would have fewer competitors to cable high speed internet.
In terms of blah-de-blah regulations, the only one I would call for is a "use it or lose it" provision of sorts. The cellular band had this, and in fact it was used to take cellular licenses back from companies that didn't build them out, and hand them over to companies that would. There used to be a fixed mhz cap, but Verizon AT&T etc. argued with increase customers, and usage, that they may need that many mhz just to operate. This allows them to have as many mhz as they want, as long as they are actually using them. It also increases competition, since so many owners have huge swaths they have no intention of using. Since these swaths are opened up for others to use, it at least lowers the barriers to competition. If there's still no competition, well, natural monopolies do exist (that is, a monopoly where the company isn't blocking out competitors, there just aren't any.)