Part of what makes America a global leader--from innovation, to our economy to our democracy--is the notion that we can always do better. It's an important principle that keeps us on our toes and pushing the boundaries of progress. Currently in the world of mobile innovation, much attention is rightly focused on ensuring our nation keeps its competitive edge with the world--while reaping the many benefits of intensive wireless competition for consumers here at home.
From speculation about the Federal Communications Commission's upcoming annual report on wireless competition, and the debates about the proposed purchase by AT&T of T-Mobile, we hear from many corners that our nation can do better. While I believe that is always the case, I fear that getting lost in the debate is the critical acknowledgement that our nation has the most competitive wireless market on earth. From innovative devices to exceptional value on our monthly bills to the boom in applications, our nation leads the world. And, while we push to make continued progress, it's equally important that we stop and recognize the many things we're already getting right.
In the early years of wireless, competition could be measured by a simple yardstick: How many carriers were in the market? That remains an important question, but many new ones deserve equal time. In today's rich, diverse, and ever innovating mobile ecosystem, the benchmarks are far more complex and rapidly shifting. From applications and devices to new business models and market players, assessing the rapidly expanding mobile marketplace is a far more complex endeavor.
As important competition debates get underway, here are six things to consider:
Americans get an incredible amount of value and innovation from their mobile experience. And, in no small measure, credit is due to policymakers who for the past couple of decades have gotten it right by taking a light-touch approach to regulation. Their vigilance today is admirable--and appropriate. But it doesn't change the fact that American mobile innovation remains the envy of the world and there's no reason to believe consumers won't continue to enjoy these mobile benefits and opportunities going forward. Without a doubt, we must stay on our toes to continue the success story, to continue to innovate, and to continue to stay competitive globally. But key to maintaining our edge is recognizing the extraordinary competition that has carved it so sharply to date.
Jonathan Spalter, chairman of Mobile Future, has been founding CEO of leading technology, media, and research companies, including Public Insight, Snocap, and Atmedica Worldwide. He served as an advisor to and spokesperson for Vice President Al Gore during the Clinton administration.
Mobile Future is a 501(c)(4) coalition comprised of and supported by technology businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals dedicated to advocating for an environment in which innovations in wireless technology and services are enabled and encouraged. For a full list of members and sponsors and to learn more about the coalition, go to www.mobilefuture.org.
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