As expected, yesterday's FCC report on the state of wireless competition declined to label the industry competitive. It does not go so far as to explicitly label the industry uncompetitive; instead it avoids making an explicit call. Some reports are calling this a "neutral stance." But given the contrast with the industry's 2008 report, which explicitly labeled the industry "effectively competitive," the agency's decision to avoid labeling the industry competitive constitutes a strong suggestion—and probably an implicit judgment—that it's not.
Why the change? In a statement about the report, Commissioner Genachowski said it's an effort to avoid making a "simplistic" yes or no conclusion. But it seems fairly clear that it's intended to pave the way for increased regulation. Page five of the report, for example, explains that its purpose is to provide "data that can form the basis for inquiries into whether policy levers could produce superior outcomes." [bold added] Translation: It's a preemptive excuse for FCC intervention.