FCC: 98% of U.S. has choice of 3 carriers

According to the FCC's annual wireless competition report, 98 percent of Americans in 2006 had three or more carrier options, while 94 percent had four or more carriers to choose from. The number of counties with five or more carriers servicing them, however, was only 59 percent. In 2004 some 87 percent of counties in the U.S. had five or more carriers servicing them, while the number dropped to 51 percent in 2005. During 2004 and 2005 Sprint and Nextel merged, Verizon and MCI merged and AT&T bought Cingular. The FCC remains pleased with the results of the study and claimed that recent open access rules on the C Block of the 700 MHz auction would only add to the level of competition in the industry.

"As I noted when we adopted open network rules for the ongoing 700MHz spectrum auction, wireless customers should be able to use the device of their choice and download whatever software they want onto it," FCC chairman Kevin Martin said. "I continue to believe that more openness--at the network, device and application level--helps foster innovation and enhances consumers' freedom and choice in purchasing wireless service."

For more on the competition study:
- read this release from the FCC