FCC to Open Inquiry on Ways to Support Wireless Innovation, Investment

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The FCC plans to open an inquiry into ways it can "support and
encourage further innovation and investment" in the wireless space,
combined with new data collection for its annual report on the status
of competition in the mobile wireless market.

That is according to the agenda for its Aug. 27 public meeting, the first with a full complement of five commissioners.

The
inquiry comes on the heels of reports that the Justice Department is
already looking into complaints against wireless phone companies over
exclusive handset deals and following FCC letters to AT&T, Google
and Apple earlier this month seeking more information on the
applications approved for the iPhone.

The FCC's Wireless Bureau
sent the letters after press reports that Apple had not approved a
Google Voice application for its iPhone. It also comes as the FCC is
considering proceedings on wireless open access and handset exclusivity
and the Justice Department is said to be looking at the same issue.

The
letters, from Acting Wireless Bureau Chief Schlichting, seek
information on what applications from outside parties have been
rejected and whether AT&T and Apple consulted before Google's
application was declined, among other things. The FCC set a deadline of
today (Aug. 21) for answers.

"The Federal Communications
Commission has a mission to foster a competitive wireless marketplace,
protect and empower consumers, and promote innovation and investment"
said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski when the letters were sent out.
"Recent news reports raise questions about practices in the mobile
marketplace. The Wireless Bureau's inquiry letters to these companies
about their practices reflect the Commission's proactive approach to
getting the facts and data necessary to make the best policy decisions
on behalf of the American people."

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