Is wireless market competitive enough?

Alisa Roth Aug 26, 2009
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Is wireless market competitive enough?

Alisa Roth Aug 26, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: The FCC meets this week to talk about the wireless industry. Critics say that business ought to be more competitive than it is. Here’s Marketplace’s Alisa Roth.


Alisa Roth: At the top of the FCC’s list will be competition. If you’re like most Americans, your cell service comes from one of four companies: ATT, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. But just because they own 80 percent of the cell market doesn’t mean they have a monopoly. Charles Golvin is a consultant at Forrester Research.

Charles Golvin: It’s actually much more competitive than for example, broadband or home telephone or television service today.

Consumers might be more interested in some of the other items on the FCC’s agenda: like that bills are too hard to understand. And that cell service seems to cost so much. Scott Cleland is a telecom consultant. He says cell service is actually pretty cheap.

Scott Cleland: What’s odd is that that U.S. has the most competitive wireless market and we have the lowest-priced minutes per use and Americans use more wireless minutes of use because the prices are so low.

Taxes might be something for the FCC to look at: Cleland says taxes are what make the bills so complicated. And that wireless is one of the highest-taxed services in the country.

In New York I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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