The Rural Telecommunications Group, whose members include independent mobile carriers, has petitioned the FCC asking that it impose a spectrum cap to curb the growing market presence of Tier One operators Verizon Wireless and AT&T. The RTG says that without a spectrum cap, Verizon and AT&T's growth will adversely impact rural operators. These smaller carriers have difficulty competing with the large operators who have more resources and economies of scale.
The FCC eliminated spectrum caps in 2003, but regulators had a 70 MHz spectrum benchmark that they used when they scrutinized proposed mergers. That benchmark was raised to 95 MHz of spectrum after the 700 MHz auction. Both AT&T and Verizon Wireless were big winners in the 700 MHz auction and both have more than 95 MHz of spectrum in at least a dozen markets.
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