U.S. Wireless Competition Criticism “Believe It or Not”!

Published March 10, 2014

With due credit to “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!®,” so much odd and bizarre is happening in Washington in the “name” of “U.S. wireless competition criticism” that the topic calls for its own collection of: “Believe it or Not!®” oddities.

Softbank’s CEO Masayoshi Son, who bought Sprint for $21b in 2013 with public plans “to become the #1 company in the world,” tells U.S. regulators just eight months after he bought Sprint, that Softbank-Sprint cannot compete with either of America’s #1 and #2 wireless providers, Verizon and AT&T, unless Softbank can buy America’s #4 wireless provider — T-Mobile! 

T-Mobile and Sprint, which each voluntarily chose not to bid in the last auction for spectrum available under 1GHz, now complain to the DOJ and FCC that it is unfair that they do not have more spectrum under 1 GHz to compete! 

When wireless users use 50% more data than they did last year because they spend more time accessing the Internet for more things anywhere they go, are streaming more video than ever, and getting more value from their wireless services than ever before, pressure groups complain that users overall wireless bills are going up!

Sprint is urging regulators to allow Sprint to buy T-Mobile because T-Mobile can’t compete with Verizon or AT&T when T-Mobile’s maverick “uncarrier strategy” has been successful in enabling T-Mobile to add 4.4 million customers in 2013 and in building a 4G LTE network covering 200m Americans faster than Sprint!  

The U.S. wireless industry, with more national facilities-based providers than any nation in the world (4), with four times more wireless investment per subscriber than anywhere else in the world, and with more cutting-edge 4G LTE wireless broadband service available than anywhere else in the world, still has critics trying to claim that the U.S. wireless market is not competitive!   

Sprint’s Chairman argues Sprint and T-Mobile are not big enough individually to compete in the U.S. market when Sprint’s customer base is equivalent to the populations of California and New York combined, and T-Mobile’s customer base is the equivalent to the populations of Texas and Florida combined!

The FCC, in its last annual wireless competition report to Congress did not declare that effective wireless competition exists, when the FCC’s own analysis shows the U.S. market is the most competitive it has ever been and more competitive than most any other nation!

The FCC is considering tightening the spectrum screen limits for Verizon and AT&T for the upcoming 600 MHz incentive auction at Sprint’s urging when Sprint commands 57% more spectrum than AT&T and 95% more spectrum than Verizon and when the FCC’s current spectrum screen does not even include 59% of Sprint’s industry-leading spectrum hoard!

The DOJ Antitrust Division claims  both Verizon and AT&T are “the dominant firms” in wireless, when DOJ guidelines define “dominant” as only one player with 50+% share and when two thirds of U.S. wireless consumers do not use Verizon, and when two thirds of U.S. wireless consumers do not use AT&T!

Despite the Government centrally managing Federal lands since 1849, personnel since 1883, buildings since 1949, telecom services since 1960 and budget resources since 1970, the Federal Government has no central management or accountability system for radio spectrum in 2014!

Radio spectrum, a trillion dollar federal asset essential to the mobile revolution of smart phones and tablets still has no inventory, budget, valuation, utilization audits, or accountability, and no group in Congress calling for modern sound fiscal management of this critical natural resource!

Despite the U.S military being considered the most technologically advanced military in the world, the DOD did not have a framework to begin the process of rationalizing and optimizing their radio spectrum resources for the 21st century for the first time — until five months ago!

Strange but true.

“Believe it or Not!®”


[Originally posted at Precursor Blog]