Articles by Roger Entner
Five years after the FCC called for data on the state of the special access marketplace from just a portion of the providers offering special access, the agency appears poised to modify contracts and embark on a new round of rate regulation based on market data from 2010 to 2012. This would not be a concern if, in fact, the market for special access services had stagnated in 2012 with prices and providers remaining constant; however, that is not the case. Why should we care if the FCC premises a new set of pricing regulations on outdated information?
T-Mobile threw down the gauntlet this summer with its new Mobile without Borders plan, pre-empting and expanding on AT&T's plan to make the US and Mexico one calling area. Within a few weeks the rest of the industry adjusted their price plans, highlighting the very fluid and dynamic competitive situation in the wireless industry.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that's the case, then the Twitter header image for Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella demonstrates that perfectly. Just look at Nadella's tortured smile then try to make sense of the picture in the header. It resembles some kind of hellish, hopelessly complex landscape that maybe someone at Microsoft understands and loves. But, for a company that wants to solve problems, it's the wrong way to start. Nonetheless, it does provide the perfect illustration of what is and isn't happening at Microsoft.
As media and networks are converging, T-Mobile US and Dish Netwiork are reportedly talking about merging. The two companies share a mindset as aggressive challenger brands with a maniacal focus on cost cutting, something both companies have to focus on because they entered their respective markets late.
There is no dispute that Congress' objective to attract more small businesses to the wireless sector is a laudable one; however, there is some debate over whether offering such entities discounted access to spectrum is the best too to reach the goal. And the results of the recently concluded AWS-3 auction have put the debate over bidding credits for small businesses front and center on DC's policy agenda.
The Pew Research Center recently published a report called US Smartphone Use in 2015, which provides some interesting survey data on how Americans are accessing the Internet. When looking at the survey results, it becomes apparent that zero rating data--the practice of exempting data usage charges when accessing certain websites or apps--is a viable, market-driven opportunity that improves the affordability of access to everything from health information, to job applications, to encyclopedias, to music and more.
Apple launched their watch and from everything we hear it's the best attempt that anyone has made to create a device that doesn't merely replicate the smartphone experience on an inferior form factor. Is this Apple Watch the final iteration? We all surely hope not, but that shouldn't be a barrier to adoption.
The Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines Thursday week to apply "public utility" style regulations to the Internet. This is a dramatic turn away from the more nuanced regulatory framework the FCC had been considering before President Obama asked the agency to flex its regulatory muscles under Title II of the Communications Act. There has to be a better way to achieve net neutrality than through Title II as life under Title II has been an extremely litigious one.
All the while when we were trapped in the Title II News Blizzard that made any other topic seem small and irrelevant, the FCC has been conducting an auction of wireless spectrum. This wasn't supposed to be the big auction--that honor was reserved for the incentive auction, in which broadcasters would sell spectrum they hadn't deployed since the digital TV transition consolidated things. This was just an auction for "AWS-3" spectrum, Advanced Wireless Service frequencies in a high band that wasn't expected to pique much carrier interest. The FCC had set a reserve price of $10.6 billion.
President Obama's foray into broadband policy could represent a major turning point in telecommunications and internet policy both for the United States and the world as a whole, if the FCC adheres to what the President requested. In a world where prices decline, services improve, and choices increase, this country's most senior leader has decided that a heavy-handed regulatory framework developed 80 years ago is the right vehicle to grow jobs, attract investment and catalyze innovation in the digital economy.