Hutchison Statement on Consumer Wireless Experience

“Unnecessary Regulatory Intervention Could Stifle Private Investment and Job Creation”

June 17, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), the Ranking Member on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today released the following statement for the record during a Commerce Committee hearing on the consumer wireless experience.

“It is critically important that this Committee listen and be responsive to the concerns expressed by consumers.  Likewise, it is imperative that we avoid regulating where the marketplace is actively responding to consumers’ concerns.  In the context of the wireless industry, over the last 10 years the nation has witnessed unparalleled innovation and growth.  Americans have access to more device options than anywhere else in the world, and the sophistication of the applications available to consumers continues to advance rapidly due to significant investment by manufacturers and the wireless providers. 

“With regard to exclusive handset arrangements, I understand the concerns expressed by some of my colleagues; however, it is important to note that these arrangements are largely responsible for many of the exciting products in the marketplace today.  The marketplace is competitive, and the introduction of a breakthrough new technology by one company, spurred by a competitive desire to offer consumers something new and exciting, in turn drives other providers to invest heavily in research and development of similar devices.  That creative force provides direct benefits to consumers through rapid advances in technology.  I hope we will be mindful of this and tread lightly when it comes to considering new regulations or restrictions on this industry.

“I am concerned that unnecessary regulatory intervention here could risk stifling the remarkable levels of private investment and job creation that the wireless industry – both service providers and equipment manufacturers – bring to our economy.  Despite the financial challenges that permeate our economy, this industry continues to flourish and, as our economy rebounds, we must work to ensure that investment and job growth continues. 

“This Committee has previously examined many of the issues to be discussed here today, and I ask my colleagues to take note of the progress that has been made, in the absence of regulatory intervention, in addressing these concerns expressed by consumers.  Providers are already responding too many of these issues, and I note that many providers are using their responsiveness in this respect to promote their competitive advantages. 

“No other segment of the communications industry over the last 15 years has shown the continual growth and innovation of the wireless industry.  To date, we have refrained from micro-managing the business practices of this industry, and as we stand on the verge of the next generation of innovative wireless broadband products, the government should proceed with great caution so as to ensure the best outcome for consumers.” 

# # #