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FCC Needs More Wireless Market Data: GAO

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) wants the Federal Communications Commission to gather more data related to how wireless service providers price and server consumers to guide the agency's future policies.

As Enterprise Networking Planet discovered, the new report is particularly concerned about early termination fees and handset exclusivity arrangements that directly impact the $150 billion-a-year industry.

While the GAO report noted the significant consolidation that has reshaped the wireless market over the past decade, and relayed the concerns of local and regional providers that they have difficulty attracting consumers amid competition from four nationwide providers, it did not make specific policy recommendations for the FCC to intervene in the market.


Government auditors are calling on the Federal Communications Commission to take a closer look at the wireless industry, concluding in a report released this week that the agency needs to step up its data-collection practices to evaluate a host of market conditions including competition and pricing.

The Government Accountability Office report, commissioned by a trio of House Democrats, surveyed the wireless market over the past decade, finding that over a period of extensive consolidation in the industry, consumer prices have fallen by roughly 50 percent while coverage has improved.

At the same time, the study raised questions about several industry practices, including the early termination fees and handset exclusivity agreements that make it harder for consumers to switch providers, as well as the prices -- known as special access rates -- that large, nationwide providers charge smaller carriers for access to their facilities.

Read the full story at Enterprise Networking Planet:
GAO Asks FCC to Take Closer Look at Wireless Market