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In 1993, Congress created the statutory classification of Commercial Mobile Services - now known as Commercial Mobile Radio Services, or “CMRS” - to promote the consistent regulation of mobile radio services.  Congress also established the promotion of competition as a fundamental goal for CMRS policy.  To measure progress toward this goal, Congress required the FCC to report annually on the state of competition in the mobile wireless industry.

The first thirteen annual reports were known as “Annual CMRS Competition Reports.”  Starting with the Fourteenth Report, the name changed to “Mobile Wireless Competition Reports” to reflect fundamental shifts in the mobile wireless marketplace.  The more recent reports integrate an analysis of CMRS into an analysis of all mobile wireless services, such as voice, messaging, and broadband.  The last Mobile Wireless Competition Report, the 20th, was released on Sept. 27, 2017.

The RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018 required the Commission to streamline its numerous and varied public reports– including the Mobile Wireless Competition Report -  into a single document, the Communications Marketplace Report (CMR), providing a comprehensive evaluation of the state of communications in the United States. This CMR consolidates the Commission’s historical, statutorily required reports, all of which had been issued in separate documents and at different times, and which assessed different aspects of the diverse communications technologies the Commission oversees.  For the first time, the CMR places essential information about all of these technologies in one place. 

Title IV of RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018 directs the Commission to publish in the last quarter of every even-numbered year “a report on the state of the communications marketplace."  Each biennial report must assess the state of all forms of competition in the communications marketplace; the state of deployment of communications capabilities; barriers to competitive entry, including market entry barriers for entrepreneurs and other small businesses; and must describe the actions taken by the Commission in the previous two years to address challenges and opportunities in the communications marketplace, and the Commission’s agenda for continuing to address those challenges and opportunities over the next two years. 

The replacement of multiple separate reports on distinct schedules with a single consolidated Communications Marketplace Report provides greater transparency to the public, enables a more holistic examination of the state the communications market across technologies, and simplifies for interested parties the ability to research, consider and evaluate our assessments. 

Thursday, December 13, 2018