Analyzing competition across the entire mobile wireless marketplace, including voice, messaging, broadband, spectrum and infrastructure, the FCC has found that the four nationwide carriers each reach at least 90% of the country.
That is according to the just-released 19th Annual Mobile Competition Report.
As of 2015, AT&T covered 99.3% of the U.S. population, followed by Verizon Wireless at 97.4%, T-Mobile at 94.6% and Sprint at 92.4%.
The report is a compilation of stats rather than a conclusion about whether it is competitive or how much it is competitive. "Given the complexity of the various inter-related segments and services within the mobile wireless ecosystem, any single conclusion regarding the effectiveness of competition would be incomplete and possibly misleading in light of the complexities that we observe," the FCC's Wireless Bureau said in releasing the report. But the Wireless Industry suggested there was an obvious conclusion.
The FCC has amassed an impressive array of facts demonstrating once again the vibrant competition that has taken hold in the wireless market," said CTIA VP or regulatory affairs Scott Bergmann. "As the report makes plain, consumers today enjoy unparalleled choice among wireless providers, service plans, and devices, all while the wireless industry continues to invest in networks at extraordinary levels to facilitate greater access to 4G LTE and foster the next generation of innovations.”
The FCC puts Binge On, the T-Mobile zero rating plan getting FCC scrutiny under the Open Internet general conduct standard, under the category of "promotional pricing offers," saying it shared "certain characteristics" with T-Mobile's earlier Music-Freedom promotion in which it allowed unlimited streaming of music services without counting toward data allowances.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.