Maybe the submissions by Apple, Google and AT&T helped, or maybe they hurt, but the FCC is going to take a closer look at the U.S. cellphone industry and if competition is helping consumers. [Link to FCC announcement in PDF format]
Today the Commission said:
As communications technologies and services become more essential, and the communications market more complex, information is key to consumer protection and empowerment. The Commission seeks comment from communications service providers, academic researchers, consumer groups and third-party analysts on how best to ensure consumers have the information they need to make informed decisions in the communications marketplace.
The FCC has been particularly interested in the Google Voice app for the iPhone, which Apple has said is still undergoing scrutiny. The FCC has questioned AT&T about whether or not it advised Apple to not approve the app. AT&T has denied it had any say.
AT&T has admitted it is wary of apps like Slingbox Mobile, and that app was rejected by Apple, then allowed back in for sale, but without access to the 3G network.
It's pretty clear that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski thinks there is more to be done to get consumers the best deal, and he's putting the cellular carriers on notice that they will be closely looked at.
Readers: Are you happy with cellular service as it stands today? Do our friends in Europe get a better deal?