CTIA WIRELESS 2012 — FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski took the stage at CTIA Wireless 2012 to lay out the FCC's three-pronged plan to solve the wireless industry's issues when it comes to spectral availability, mobile broadband availability and continuing innovation. He also took the moment to kick back against insinuations that the rejection of the AT&T-T-Mobile merger has led to higher prices and hamstrung spectral efficiency efforts.
"The overall value of spectrum has not changed," he said, referring to the nixed deal without mentioning the companies' names. "The idea that competition is bad for consumers is at odds with history."
The FCC has reviewed and approved a full 1,000 in spectrum licenses in the last year. "Our review of this one transaction," he said, shows that the body does have a line when it comes to balancing competition and the innovation that it engenders and business growth initiatives; however, the idea that rejection of the merger has led to a shortage of spectrum for the two companies and thus continuing congestion and the need to raise prices to fund network investment to solve the problem is simply a false characterization, Genachowski said.
Genachowski was referring to AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson's recent comments that AT&T's data prices have climbed 30 percent since the deal was quashed.
"The more competitors you have, the less efficient the allocation of spectrum," the Wall Street Journal quoted Stephenson as saying. "It's got to change. I don't think the market's going to accommodate the number of competitors there are in the landscape."
"Competition is not bad for consumers," said Genachowski, noting that the core tenet underpinning capitalism is that competition leads to innovation and opportunity. Competition should lead to implementation of better technology and lower prices – as it always has in the past.
And increasingly, the United States is out in front of that curve of innovation. After years of ceding the leadership role to countries like China and Korea, America is back in the lead of mobile broadband deployment and innovation, he said.
"More people have mobile phones than electricity or running water," he noted. "That makes wireless the most-adopted technology in history."
And, the U.S. is leading this revolution and has regained global leadership, Genachowski added. "Our mobile innovation economy is ahead of the rest of the world," he said, with the U.S. claiming 64 percent of global LTE subscriptions.