The Federal Communication Commission's Excellent Mobile Competition Adventure

Welcome to the Federal Communications Commission‘s 15th Annual Report and Analysis of Competitive Market Conditions With Respect to Mobile Wireless, released June 27, 2011. The FCC Report makes mistakes with the Commission‘s own data. It contains typos. It omits crucial, relevant, and available facts. It wastes page after page discussing tangential issues. This paper discusses the economic implications of the FCC's actions.

In 1994 the FCC, having finally received permission from Congress, began to assign wireless rights not by arbitrary "public interest" determinations but to the companies that bid the most. Though license auctions were a substantial policy advance, the underlying spectrum-allocation system has yet to change. It continues to impose bottlenecks, throttling economic growth and sabotaging consumer interests. To bring the wireless industry into the twenty-first century, policymakers must move to liberalize not just license assignments, but spectrum allocation itself.