The U.S. wireless industry leads the world in innovation, value and consumer satisfaction because the current regulatory framework allows for unrestricted competition in the wireless ecosystem. If additional legislative or regulatory support is needed to maintain this momentum, consumers will be best served if government action remains at the national level, and states are allowed to take appropriate action only relative to their laws of general applicability. This is why CTIA – The Wireless Association® believes policymakers should take a very cautious view toward regulating the vibrant mobile ecosystem.
Wireless networks are different. Mobile wireless providers don’t just deliver broadband to the premises; they deliver broadband to the person. Consumers demand access to the Internet anytime and anywhere, which is why wireless broadband is by far the fastest-growing and most competitive category of broadband connections. Given the unique aspects of mobile broadband, from the technologies involved and complexities of network management to the pace of innovation and consumer demand for ever-increasing bandwidth and applications, policymakers need to recognize that this industry is delivering a level of service and value unimagined only a few years ago. Competition—not regulation—is the driving force.
- State-by-state regulation would only increase consumer costs and lower satisfaction.
- As the national licensing authority over a national industry, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the appropriate government body to safeguard consumer protection, public health and safety in the event of any demonstrated market failure. A patchwork of laws and regulations across the U.S. would disrupt the immense benefits consumers are enjoying as a result of a highly competitive mobile broadband marketplace. If states were allowed to create their own unique requirements, consumers would be harmed because wireless providers would no longer be able to use the business efficiencies of national billing platforms, customer care operations and other back-office support.
- The U.S. model for consumer value is changing the way the world views wireless.
- In just 10 years, global providers have started offering larger calling plans, bundling and simplifying their service offerings and international regulators are looking at ways to liberalize their regimes to match the flexibility that is driving the innovation and competition in the U.S. wireless industry. In America, consumer demand for more and better services drives a cycle of infrastructure-friendly policies and consumer-friendly marketplace responses that benefit the overall national economy. The U.S. wireless industry directly/indirectly provides more than 2.4 million jobs and its economic contribution has grown more than five times faster than the economy overall (16 percent versus 3 percent). The industry invests an average of $22.8 billion a year on network upgrades. Given that wireless carriers continue to expand the next generation service into markets around the country, and the National Broadband Plan is looking to expand broadband services to reach every American, the wireless industry is poised to remain a major economic driver for years to come—provided government does not disrupt the virtuous cycle that benefits American consumers.
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