Wireless carriers need spectrum – signals that deliver voice and data service to customers. There’s an upcoming government auction for low-band spectrum, the most valuable airwaves for making wireless communication possible.
AT&T and Verizon already control 73% of the low-band spectrum available in the United States. Now, they want to use their market dominance to crowd out competition and control even more low-band spectrum when it comes available in early 2016.
If they are successful, you will be left with bad service, less innovation and higher prices.
Quality online mobile service isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity of our modern economy and lives. That is why it is so important there is competition in the wireless broadband market. Competitive carriers need low-band spectrum to compete against AT&T and Verizon who currently control 73% of low-band spectrum. This is really the last chance for competitive carriers to get access to low-band spectrum which allows for signals to reach through buildings — a critical service issue for consumers. In fact, 80% of all data consumption occurs indoors and 75% of consumers in a recent survey said they would switch mobile operators to obtain better coverage in their indoor workplace. For the next auction of low-band spectrum, the FCC needs to do more to protect the quantity and quality of the low-band spectrum that’s available for competitive carriers challenging AT&T and Verizon in the marketplace.
What is the next breakthrough technology using wireless broadband technology? If Verizon and AT&T have their way, the possibilities could be severely limited. Competition breeds innovation, especially in telecommunications and technology. Access to low-band spectrum is a critical component to remaining innovative and competitive in the marketplace. Now, AT&T and Verizon want to use their market dominance to crowd out competition and control even more low-band spectrum when it comes available in early 2016. If they are successful these two companies will have even more control. That could limit everything from the plans and options you have to choose from to less access to the high-speed mobile services that have enabled innovative new tech businesses and unleashed valuable economic growth and job creation for America. Without a vibrant competitive wireless landscape that includes access to low-band spectrum for smaller carriers to meaningfully compete against the country’s two largest carriers, consumers and innovation will suffer.
If you think you pay too much for your mobile device service, imagine a world when all your wireless choices look the same. Today, AT&T and Verizon dominate the mobile market together accounting for more than two-thirds of all U.S. subscribers and most of the wireless industry’s profits. But the situation could look a lot worse if AT&T and Verizon use their market dominance to crowd out competition and control even more low-band spectrum when it comes available in early 2016. One reason is because low-band spectrum is essential for cost-effective wide-area coverage. Higher band frequencies can require the deployment of as much as 13 times more cell sites to achieve the equivalent coverage as low-band spectrum. Without access to low-band spectrum, competitive carriers are at a serious disadvantage. And without serious competition, there is no pressure on the big two to keep your prices low.