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Key antitrust lawmaker wants US mobile sector scrutiny

07 июля 2009

The chairman of a Senate antitrust panel is asking the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission to embark on a wide-ranging antitrust inquiry into the cell phone industry.

Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Herb Kohl, D-Wis., on Monday sent letters to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and DOJ Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney, saying four wireless carriers control over 90% of the cell phone market. Those companies are Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc., Sprint Nextel Corp., and T-Mobile USA.

Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group PLC. T-Mobile is a unit of Deutsche Telekom ADR.

Kohl's letter comes on the same day that the Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department is considering an antitrust investigation into the telecom industry as a whole.

Kohl offered up a laundry list of to-do items for the FCC, including new requirements that carriers offer reasonable rates to others for roaming on each other's networks, stopping exclusive deals between handset manufacturers and carriers, and improving competition in the so-called "special access" market, in which wireless companies pay to connect to the main arteries for phone and Internet connections.

For the Justice Department, Kohl urged regulators to "closely examine the cell phone industry to insure that dominant carriers do not take action to stifle competition."

One of Kohl's main questions in this arena involves text messaging, where he notes that the price of individual text messages doubled for all four top wireless carries in two years."These identical price increases are hardly consistent with the vigorous price competition we hope to see in a competitive marketplace," Kohl's letter said.


Источник: Total Telecom

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