AT&T, Verizon Rivals Demand a Level Playing Field

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AT&T and Verizon's rival carriers want regulators to "level the playing field" so that the duopoly cannot hog wireless spectrum or take over the U.S. telecom market.

At a carrier conference in Las Vegas Tuesday, T-Mobile, Sprint and Clearwire met with 100 smaller carrier companies to discuss ways for promoting fair competition among wireless carriers, according to CNET News.

Rather than asking for handouts, these carriers said they want policies that will keep the biggest telecom market giants from getting an advantage in the wireless industry. Executives at the conference argued that government policies should promote competition so it could regulate less, CNET said.

"It's not a bad thing to be big," Hu Meena, CEO of regional carrier C Spire, said during the panel. "The problem is that we have the two largest carriers blocking other players."

Meena also said that the communications industry is key in the information economy, and added that regulators will have to decide whether this industry will be regulated by "healthy competition" or by the government.

Right now, the AT&T-Verizon duopoly controls more than 70 percent of U.S. wireless subscribers, Meena said.

The Federal Communications Commission seems to be acknowledging some competitive issues, the panel said, which includes encouraging Verizon to sell some spectrum to a competitor. However, executives still want the agency to do more.

Among other actions, the FCC could force Verizon to accept interoperability device requirements or require the company to part with more of its spectrum holdings. But, the article also stated that competing companies did not know how far the FCC should go to ensure healthy competition.

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