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CTIA goes on offense over competition

Fri, 09/11/2009 - 8:10am
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

CTIA has submitted a filing to the Federal Communications Commission that compares the U.S. wireless industry with the United Kingdom, based on a report issued by the U.K. Office of Communications (OFCOM) in July.

In the filing, CTIA argues that the U.S. market is a world leader in wireless service when measured with the standards applied by OFCOM, the United Kingdom’s independent regulator.

The U.S. market has “more competitors, lower concentration, lower prices, higher usage and innovative services” compared with the U.K., said CTIA.

The industry association cites the market share of Tier 1 companies as a main indicator of the competitiveness of the U.S. market. In the U.K., the top four wireless carriers have 93.5 percent of the market, and the top five network operators have 100 percent of the market, says CTIA.

By comparison, the top four U.S. carriers serve 85 percent of the market; the top five serve less than 90 percent; and the remaining 10 percent is made up of numerous competing carriers.

CTIA further argues that U.S. consumers pay less for their service than those in the U.K. The price per minute in the U.K. is 12 cents versus 5 cents in the United States. Also, the minutes of use per month in the U.K. is below 200, while in the United States, it is above 800. 

The ex-parte filing comes on the heels of a report from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) that says the highest prices for mobile calls were found in Canada, Spain and the U.S., with the lowest found in Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden.

CTIA said that report was built on flawed assumptions and that U.S. consumers enjoy the lowest per-minute rates of all the OECD countries.

CTIA is under pressure to defend competitive practices in the wireless industry after the FCC launched a sweeping inquiry into the state of the industry that includes an examination of handset exclusivity deals.

\An inquiry into Apple’s rejection of Google Voice was launched by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. AT&T and Apple both denied any wrongdoing. AT&T said it had no role in approving or denying applications, and Apple said that it had not actually rejected Google Voice but was still reviewing the app. Since then, Apple has approved a VoIP app from Vonage.

More Broadband Direct 09/11/09:
•  Blog: TV here, there, everywhere on Internet
•  Hollywood pushes for early release through cable
•  Sprint plans Brew MP devices
•  Motorola goes cross-platform at IBC
•  OpenTV bows new middleware platform
•  Envivio intros new platform for 3 screens
•  ADB to demonstrate integrated product lineup at IBC
•  RGB, GoBackTV join on unicast system
•  Networks, advertisers seek better viewer counts
•  Virgin Media taps Cisco for IPTV, digital upgrade
•  CTIA goes on offense over competition
•  Brodman highlights T-Mo's love for Android
•  Broadband Briefs for 09/11/09

 

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