The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has just launched an investigation to find ways that it can “further innovation and investment in the wireless marketplace”.
This announcement is very, very light on specifics, giving the FCC freedom to look into virtually any aspect of the cellular wireless market.
The actual message from the FCC says:
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced a Wireless Innovation and Investment Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) that seeks to identify concrete steps the Commission can take to support and encourage further innovation and investment in the wireless marketplace. This NOI also seeks to better understand the factors that encourage innovation and investment throughout this area.
Even when the FCC notice says it is getting specific, it is still very vague:
In particular, the NOI focuses on spectrum availability and use, wireless networks, devices, applications, and business practices. The NOI also seeks comment on how the public has used wireless services and technology to solve real-world problems in areas such as health care, energy, education, and public safety.
More generally, the NOI seeks to develop a framework for analyzing wireless innovation and investment, including any metrics or data sources that should be considered. This framework, together with the record developed in response to the Mobile Competition Report NOI adopted today, will serve as a base of knowledge to inform Commission consideration of wireless regulatory issues going forward.
Speculation says that the FCC will be looking into whether exclusivity agreements between wireless carriers and smartphone makers are anti-competitive, but there’s no evidence to back that up.
Source: FCC (doc)