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Is Mobile Service Competitive? With a Possible Big Merger, FCC Commissioners Disagree – Variety

WASHINGTON — The FCC has concluded that there is a competitive market for mobile wireless service, a finding that could have implications on how the Republican-controlled agency makes future decisions.

The finding was made in an annual report to Congress on the wireless marketplace, and the FCC staff made its conclusions by citing falling prices, network investment and improved quality. The study looked at the marketplace in 2016 and early 2017.

But FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, challenged the findings and cited the reports that T-Mobile and Sprint are talking about a merger. That could reduce the number of major mobile providers from four to three.

“While the commission should not prejudge what is not yet before us, I think this agency sticks its collective head in the sand by issuing this report and implying ‘Move along, there is nothing to see here,’” she said at Tuesday’s meeting. “For my part, any transaction before us will require someone to explain how consumers will benefit, how prices will not rise and how innovation will not dissipate in the face of so much more industry concentration.”

She was joined in her criticism of the report by Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who cited the dearth of service in some rural areas.

“Not a week passes in Washington, and various parts of our nation, where the buzz about the promise of 5G is not heard,” Clyburn said. “The reality, however, is that far too many in this country do not have reliable and affordable 3G service.”

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