AT&T Statement on FCC’s
Mobile Competition Report

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on December 23, 2015 at 8:00 pm

The following statement may be attributed to Joan Marsh, AT&T Vice President of Federal Regulatory:

“The FCC today released its latest report to Congress on the state of competition in the wireless industry.  Again, the Commission refuses to declare the wireless industry competitive despite numerous statistics to the contrary.

“But even more troubling is the FCC’s decision to include in the report data from the FCC Speed Test App that we just received from the FCC barely two weeks ago and have not been able to validate.  We also still have questions about the methodology the FCC used to compile the data.  Given these questions, the data should not have been included in the report as published, particularly since there are multiple public sources for wireless network speed data available to consumers.

“We will continue to work with Commission Staff to improve the data collecting and reporting process.  In the meantime, our customers will continue to have access to the nation’s strongest 4G LTE signal and most reliable 4G LTE network to do the things they love on their LTE wireless devices, such as streaming music and videos and surfing the Web.”

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So, Why is there No Rural Email Completion Problem?

Posted by: Hank Hultquist on November 18, 2013 at 11:37 am

Just over a week ago, the FCC released an order intended to try and improve the rate at which long distance calls to rural areas are completed. That led to a somewhat cryptic tweet on which I now expand. (In today’s blog “email” is playing the role of Internet traffic in general.)

Have you heard the one about the five policy wonks who couldn’t agree on why there’s no rural email completion problem? The wireless guy challenged the premise of the question by arguing that it would only be an interesting question if the rural call completion problem actually existed. The ILEC guy said that of course there’s a rural email completion problem (that problem being that the ILEC is not getting paid to complete them). The Internet guy said that as long as there’s net neutrality, the end-to-end principle ensures that there can be no rural email completion problem. The right-wing think tank guy said that the free market prevents the emergence of a rural email completion problem. And the public interest guy said that even if there is no rural email completion problem, which he did not concede, the FCC should adopt rules to prohibit it. Ba dump bump!

But seriously folks, why is there no rural email completion problem? You’re probably expecting me to say that it’s because peering is unregulated, or because there’s no intercarrier compensation for email, or because email providers lack market power. And while all of those are true and important, I’d like to focus on a more fundamental distinction between the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and the Internet – the fact that there’s no such thing as “local Internet service.”

For a very long time (and to some extent even to this day), the voice world distinguished between “local exchange service” and “long distance service,” largely because they were regulatorily-driven constructs. The domain of the local service provider was required to end at some specific geographic point. It might be the exchange boundary, or maybe the LATA, or maybe even at a tandem switch. In any case, at that point responsibility for the transmission of a call, in either direction, passed from the local exchange carrier to the long distance carrier, or interexchange carrier (IXC). As a consequence of this distinction, long distance carriers became financially responsible for the transport path between rural exchanges and the rest of the PSTN.

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The Facts are In (Again)
On Wireless Competition

Posted by: Jim Cicconi on April 3, 2013 at 11:23 am

The FCC’s 16th Wireless Competition Report is out and, as has been widely reported, the good news is abundant.  This year’s report achieves new analytical depth and breadth, and marshals an impressive picture of the U.S. wireless industry.

Virtually everyone in the U.S. now has access to mobile voice and broadband service (99.9% and 99.5%, respectively), and 82% of Americans can choose from between at least four facilities-based mobile broadband providers.  Investment in U.S. wireless networks is growing at a rate that is the envy of other countries, with total 2011 investment topping $25 billion and LTE deployments expanding rapidly.

And U.S. consumers are reaping the competitive benefits.  Americans are embracing smartphones in record numbers (67% chose smartphones in 2012), mobile data traffic continues its exponential growth, and unit prices, for both minutes and megabytes, are falling.  In fact, the Report’s CPI analysis shows that U.S. wireless services are a bargain – since December 1997, the CPI for wireless services has declined by 40% while the overall CPI increased by nearly 40%. 

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The U.S. Wireless Industry – It’s All About the Consumer

Posted by: AT&T Blog Team on July 29, 2010 at 2:11 pm

By Mike Bennett, AT&T Executive Director-Consumer & Government Affairs

Did you know that during the last half of 2009, the wireless industry handled the equivalent of the entire catalog of books in the Library of Congress every single hour of every single day?  And that amount of traffic is projected to double each year through 2014.  Impressive, huh?   How about the fact that, in addition to this incredible data growth, the industry handled over 2 trillion voice minutes, over 1.5 trillion text messages, and 35 billion picture/video messages?

It’s pretty incredible when you think about all the benefits the U.S. wireless market brings to consumers, and the country, every day.  It is a true American success story.  Since it was released May 20, we’ve been addressing various aspects of the Commission’s 14th Annual Wireless Competition Report, which failed to celebrate this success by not concluding that there is effective competition in the wireless marketplace.  This was both baffling and troubling.   The wireless industry may well be the most competitive industry in America, and we have shown that it is certainly the most competitive wireless market in the world.

All that we have highlighted in this series of blogs – from investment to price competition to non-price competition – accrues to the benefit of the consumer.   The industry has rolled out numerous consumer-friendly practices in the past several years, including the elimination of roaming and long distance charges as well as the introduction of unlimited calling plans.  Customer disclosure material at the point of sale has been substantially improved and detailed street level coverage map tools are now widely available. The return period for service and equipment has increased, as have customer self-service capabilities.  Consumers can also easily set limits on their usage, and carriers now provide courtesy usage alerts to help customers manage monthly bills.  

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It’s Not Just About Price

Posted by: Carl Povelites on July 21, 2010 at 1:06 pm

In the FCC’s 14th Annual Wireless Competition Report, the Commission identifies three broad categories of non-price rivalry among wireless providers, including, (1) network upgrades; (2) product information and perception; and (3) downstream product differentiation.   With the launch of a new smartphone almost every month – the new Bold, the new iPhone, the Incredible – the FCC is being schooled in non-price rivalry on a regular basis.

Let’s briefly look at each of the three broad categories identified by the FCC.  First, network upgrades, a very broad category that includes everything to do with the network – technology deployed, coverage, speed of transferring data, etc.  A person would have to be hard pressed not to believe that there is intense competition (yes, I will say it, effective competition) in this area, where entire marketing campaigns are designed to one-up the competition.  The FCC’s report does a decent job in highlighting not only the major carriers’ investments in technology and coverage, but also that of smaller providers and new entrants, such as Leap and Clearwire.

Typical of this report though, while noting positive data, such as the fact that 99.6% of the population has mobile data coverage, 98.1% of the population has mobile broadband coverage or that 95.9% of the population is served by three or more providers, the report looks hard to point out a negative.  Instead of admitting that only 4.1% of Americans lack access to three or more providers, the FCC instead explains that 30% of rural Americans lack 3 or more choices – purposely twisting a good news story into one that sounds worse than it is. 

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