During Mobile World congress, Telefonica Executive Chariman Alierta made an impassioned speech asking for the European market to be more like the US when it comes to telecoms. Here is a quoted segment of his speech:
“But we’re behind. It’s not normal that the main concern is that there should be three or four operators in Austria, for example. In the United States, there are three big operators, the same as in China. Here in Europe we have 160.“
Of course, I know exactly where it is that Mr. Alierta wants to go with this. But just for the record, this is what the situation is in the US:
Policy makers and consumers should be very, very careful what they wish for. The fact that the US market has not managed to foster competition should not be seen as an example of a healthy market, it should be seen as an example of regulatory capture. The fact that Mr Alierta takes China as an example is perhaps even more telling. We should not wish for our telecom landscape to look anything like that of the US (let alone China).
The challenge for the US now is to get out of a situation that has seen the recreation of a wireline monopoly. Only regulation can undo that situation. Susan Crawford in the above video throws her hat in the ring for FCC chair. I don’t know how likely it is that she would be nominated, I don’t know enough of US politics. If she does land the job, I certainly don’t envy her that job one bit. But if I was a US citizen, I would make it know loud and clear that I support her for the job.