Wireless Carriers Divided on Mobile Broadband Competitiveness

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The mobile wireless broadband marketplace is either wildly competitive or definitely not so, depending on whom you ask. In comments to the Federal Communications Commission July 26 for a new congressionally-mandated report on competition in mobile wireless broadband, the major wireless carriers--individually (Verizon and AT&T) and collectively (from CTIA and others)--said the marketplace is full of cut-throat competitors, while competitive carriers said much of the country lacks reliable service from anyone, much less competition. The major carriers said the FCC should echo the finding of its 2017 report that there is effective competition in the mobile broadband marketplace, especially since the marketplace has gotten even more wildly competitive since then, while the Competitive Carriers Association said that conclusion was a mistake that the FCC should use this report to correct that misperception. "[M]uch of the country still lacks access to reliable mobile wireless service including 3G and 4G," CCA said. "In reality, the increasing concentration of the wireless market between the two largest providers—AT&T and Verizon—combined with existing regulatory barriers to wireless market expansion negatively impact competitive entry and competitive expansion, particularly in rural and remote areas...[T]he experience of CCA members and the on-the-ground experience of consumers—including statistics obtained just by driving through many parts of the country—make clear that mobile wireless service is not yet available everywhere, much less on a competitive basis," CCA maintained.

Carriers Divided on Mobile Broadband Competitiveness