Americans increasingly rely on wireless phones, with nearly 40 percent of households now using them primarily or solely. Under federal law, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is responsible for fostering a competitive wireless marketplace while ensuring that consumers are protected from harmful practices. As requested, this report discusses changes in the wireless industry since 2000, stakeholders' perceptions of regulatory policies and industry practices, and the strategies FCC uses to monitor competition. To conduct this work, GAO collected and analyzed data and documents from a variety of government and private sources; conducted case studies in both rural and urban areas of four states; and interviewed stakeholders representing consumers, local and state agencies and officials, and various segments of the industry.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Federal Communications Commission||1. FCC should assess whether expanding its original data collection of wireless industry inputs and outputs--such as prices, special access rates, capital expenditures, and equipment costs--would help it better satisfy its requirement to review competitive market conditions with respect to commercial mobile services.|