Washington, DC – Today in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission), RCA (Rural Cellular Association) petitioned the FCC to deny the applications that would grant AT&T a massive new acquisition of Qualcomm's 700 MHz licenses. Due to an unprecedented wave of consolidation and spectrum aggregation in recent years, AT&T and Verizon now dominate the wireless industry. This duopoly harms competitions in the marketplace and decreases consumer choice. To promote competition and benefit consumers, RCA urges the Commission to not approve the spectrum transaction. However, if the Commission does grant the applications, it should require AT&T to provide reasonable data roaming agreements to any requesting carrier, ensure interoperability of devices across all 700 MHz band licenses, and harmonize the technical specifications of the assigned spectrum to be consistent with the technical standards in the Lower A & B blocks.
In a statement, RCA President & CEO Steven K. Berry said, "The FCC talks about the importance of competition in the wireless marketplace, and now is a prime opportunity for the Commission 'walk the walk'. The very fact that AT&T and Verizon hold approximately 70% of all commercial 700 MHz spectrum, share 90% of industry EBITDA, and continue to increase their market share at an alarming rate should be enough to drive the FCC to act on behalf of consumers and promote competition by prohibiting the AT&T acquisition of additional spectrum."
Berry continued, "If the FCC chooses to grant the transaction, despite the obvious competitive harms, it should require interoperability of devices across all 700 MHz band licenses and require AT&T to reach automatic data roaming agreements with any interested carrier. The continued dominance of the two largest carriers must not be further promoted, and it is time for the FCC to take action to ensure a competitive marketplace."
RCA is the nation's leading association for wireless providers serving rural and regional areas of the United States. The licensed service area of RCA's nearly 100 members covers more than 80 percent of the nation.