AT&T, CTIA Defend State of Wireless Competition

AT&T Inc. this week filed a statement in response to accusations from Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl, chair of a congressional antitrust panel, that the wireless industry engages in anticompetitive practices, as well as the fact that the U.S. Department of Justice may look into the industry as well.

For his part, Kohl is concerned about price fixing for texting, a lack of cooperation on the part of large carriers when it comes to roaming disputes with smaller fry, and handset exclusivity.

Joe Cicconi, a senior vice president at AT&T, argued that prices have dropped close to 90 percent for wireless service since 1994, with texting falling in price overall thanks to bundles. Also, he said carrier exclusivity for handsets makes them cheaper for consumers, because operators are more willing to subsidize them.

Meanwhile, Christopher Guttmann-McCabe, vice president of regulatory affairs at CTIA, argued the wireless industry wrote a letter to the FCC detailing the $22.8 billion per year in network upgrades and the 268,000 people the industry employs as proof of its contribution to the economy.

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