Who is Afraid of Huawei?

3/20/18 Wall Street Journal article By Dan Strumpf at daniel.strumpf@wsj.com, Rob Taylor at rob.taylor@wsj.com and Paul Vieira at paul.vieira@wsj.com; see original article here.

Security Worries Spread Beyond the U.S.

Concerns about Chinese telecom giant, world No. 1 in wireless equipment, sprout in Canada, Australia and South Korea.

National-security concerns surrounding China’s Huawei Technologies Co. are spreading beyond the U.S. to key allies. The telecommunications equipment maker was a subject of debate in Canada’s Parliament this week, and the chief executive of South Korea’s largest telecom, considering vendors for next-generation wireless technology, reportedly called Huawei a “concern.”

Australia, where U.S. officials have been pushing a case that the Chinese company is a national security risk, recently pressured the Solomon Islands to drop Huawei as the contractor on an undersea cable connecting the South Pacific nation with Australia. It offered instead to fund a separate cable itself. Australia is now consulting other nations about their security concerns around Huawei’s involvement in next-generation 5G wireless equipment, officials said.

The U.S. has taken a series of actions aimed at Huawei, the world’s biggest supplier of wireless equipment and No. 3 vendor of smartphones. The Shenzhen-based company has been effectively shut out of the U.S. telecom market since a 2012 congressional report said its equipment could be used for spying.

At issue is Huawei’s growing strength in the telecommunications market. Western policy makers are concerned China could gain a leading edge in developing 5G, set to underpin self-driving cars and other internet-connected devices.

Privately held and owned by its employees, Huawei has long said it operates independently of Beijing, and that concerns the company would use its technology—which is employed in mobile networks world-wide—to spy for the Chinese government are unfounded.

The company has “earned the trust” of its partners, a Huawei spokesman said, adding that its products and services are used by carriers, businesses and consumers in more than 170 countries.

“Huawei has a robust system of cybersecurity assurance and a proven track record,” he said.

Huawei already supplies U.S. allies. It sells equipment in the U.K. under supervision of a testing lab in Banbury, England, near Oxford. In New Zealand, it operates essentially without any government interference.

And in Australia, the Solomon Islands caution notwithstanding, Huawei sits on a government advisory panel for the rollout of 5G and sells telecom equipment to carriers including Optus Pte. Ltd. A Huawei spokesman said the company “works with all the major telecommunications operators” in Australia, where its revenue last year approached $700 million.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was briefed last month on American concerns about the company in closed-door meetings with the U.S. National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, according to government officials.
a’s Internet Giants Face Users’ Anxiety Over Privacy (Jan. 8)

In Canada, where Huawei employs more than 400 researchers and engineers, members of the opposition Conservative Party on Monday pressed the Liberal government about the company’s presence. In response, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, without specifically addressing Huawei, told Parliament that the government will “take every step necessary” to protect its cybersecurity networks.

The exchange followed a report in Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper that quoted former senior security and intelligence officials expressing concerns about the Chinese company. Among them was Ward Elcock, former head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, who in a subsequent interview with The Wall Street Journal, said: “I think we should be very careful about using Huawei equipment extensively.”

Elsewhere, in an interview with the Korea Herald, SK Telecom Co. chief Park Jung-ho said he is unsure whether to consider Huawei as a supplier as the South Korean carrier builds its 5G network. “Huawei is a concern,” Mr. Park said at a recent industry event in Barcelona. An SK Telecom spokeswoman said the company doesn’t currently use any Huawei equipment, but declined to comment further or make executives available for interviews.

South Korea’s telecom equipment market is dominated by Samsung Electronics Co. , according to IT industry research firm Gartner Inc.

Huawei Seen as Possible Spy Threat

1/8/18 Wall Street Journal article by Stu Woo, Dan Strumpf and Betsy Morris. Original article here.

Huawei boomed despite U.S. warnings that the Chinese telecom giant has gobbled up huge global market share; now Washington is warning anew about alleged spy threat as U.S. telecoms embark on $275 billion 5G network build-out.

SHENZHEN, China—Huawei Technologies Co. may be considered the bogeyman of the global telecom equipment industry in some Washington circles, but in Mountain View, Wyo., it’s a hero. That’s where Union Wireless, a 103-year-old carrier that provides telephone and wireless service to 50,000 customers in five Western states, is singing its praises. Four years ago, Union turned to Huawei after its previous equipment vendor fell behind schedule on a critical network upgrade, says Brian Woody, customer relations chief.

Huawei “worries about getting the problem fixed first and then worries about getting paid,” Mr. Woody says, which is important to a family-owned business working to maintain communication systems in mountainous territory. “We’ve had many vendors over the years. Huawei has treated us better than anybody.”

Huawei appeared shut out of the U.S. six years ago after congressional investigators determined that its equipment could be used for spying or crippling the U.S. telecommunications network. Their conclusions and recommendations, delivered in a report in 2012 just as Huawei was gaining traction in the U.S., effectively killed Huawei’s chances to win business from major U.S. carriers. There was no law saying they couldn’t partner with Huawei, but the political costs could have been steep.

Not so for small carriers such as Union Wireless, which fly under the national radar. The Chinese telecom giant has given them a much-needed equipment option in a quickly narrowing field. Four years ago, Mr. Woody says he had about five suppliers besides Huawei to choose from. Today, he has only two.

Now the U.S. telecom industry is in a bind. Huawei has positioned itself to dominate future global telecom networks, according to several U.S. telecom executives, providing stiffening competition to incumbents Nokia Corp. of Finland and Sweden’s Ericsson AB. This comes just as big U.S. carriers are expected to invest about $275 billion over seven years to deploy fifth generation, or 5G, networks that can carry huge amounts of data for high-quality mobile video and self-driving cars, according to Accenture. Early commercial deployments of the technology are to start later this year.

Huawei has more than doubled revenue, to $75 billion last year, and has rapidly expanded its smartphone business. Since 2012, Huawei has expanded to 170 countries from 140, and now claims 45 of the world’s 50 biggest wireless carriers as customers. Huawei, which also runs a popular smartphone brand, made $75 billion overall in 2016. About $26 billion came from its telecom equipment and software business, making it the leader in the $126 billion-a-year global market, according to research-firm IHS Markit Ltd.

Huawei’s dominance is again stoking fears among Washington security and intelligence experts, who worry major U.S. carriers might be tempted to turn to Huawei. Last month, members of the Senate and House intelligence committees sent a letter asking the Federal Communications Commission to review any relationship with Huawei and requested that the FCC get briefed on the security concerns raised in 2012. The letter also raised concerns about Huawei’s growing smartphone business, now the world’s No. 3 brand behind Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc.

The pressure may have already had an impact. Huawei planned to announce Tuesday at a Las Vegas trade show that it had struck an agreement to sell its smartphones through AT&T Inc. Instead, say people familiar with the matter, AT&T walked away from the deal. It couldn’t be determined why AT&T, the country’s No. 2 carrier by subscribers, changed its mind.

An AT&T spokesman declined to comment. A Huawei spokesman declined to comment on conversations with AT&T, saying only that “Huawei has proven itself by delivering premium devices with integrity globally and in the U.S. market.” Though it can’t sell smartphones bundled with service plans in Verizon or AT&T shops, Huawei makes them available to U.S. consumers online through Amazon.com and in stores at Best Buy.

All this frustrates Huawei. Ken Hu, one of Huawei’s three chief executives, said in a recent interview the company isn’t a security threat. Its “global business is testament to the fact that Huawei is not a vehicle for any government or any agency of putting surveillance on another country,” he says.
Ken Hu, one of three rotating CEOs of Huawei Technologies Co.
Ken Hu, one of three rotating CEOs of Huawei Technologies Co.

Part of the suspicions about Huawei stem from its origins. It was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, a former engineer for China’s communist People’s Liberation Army. Huawei today has three CEOs, who take rotating turns at the helm. Mr. Ren, now 73, remains deputy chairman and de facto boss.

Mr. Ren started Huawei with $3,200 when he was 43 as a telephone-switch resale business. The businessman shocked employees early on by telling them the company would one day be China’s biggest telecom-equipment provider, recalls Richard Yu, now head of Huawei’s consumer business. “Oh my God. Everybody was wondering whether we can survive.”

It did. After succeeding in rural China, Huawei moved into places that Western companies had overlooked or avoided—underdeveloped markets in Africa and Latin America.

Eventually, to help Huawei expand globally, Mr. Ren learned Western business management practices, in part from International Business Machines Corp. , which was trying to expand in China. IBM helped Huawei learn disciplines such as product development and financial management. That and its improving technology helped Huawei gain ground in Europe, where its major customers today include Britain’s Vodafone Group PLC, France’s Orange SA and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG. European mobile operators also liked that Huawei offered a wider range of products than competitors and top-notch customer service, according to current and former European wireless executives.

Smaller U.S. carriers had similar experiences. When wireless upstart Clearwire chose Huawei as a major vendor in 2010, the Chinese firm assigned nearly 800 engineers to the project, a person familiar with the effort recalled. A problem discovered one day would be solved by the next, the person said, unlike some other vendors that would debate whose fault it was before fixing it.

When Sprint Corp. moved to acquire Clearwire in 2012, the year Congress issued its report, the U.S. government required that Huawei’s equipment be removed from Clearwire’s network. It eventually found replacements, but with regret.

“Their design cycles, their innovation cycles, I think have been the fastest of anyone I’ve seen because they have the R&D resources to throw at these things,” this person said.
On the Rise
Huawei dominates the global market for mobile and telecom equipment and software, with 2016 sales surpassing $25 billion.

Early on, Huawei was notorious for reverse engineering competitors’ products, most notably in 2003, when Cisco sued, accusing Huawei of copying router code down to identical model numbers to make it easier for Cisco customers to switch to less expensive Huawei versions. Huawei settled the suit without admitting wrongdoing and agreed to stop selling the routers.

Eventually, though, Huawei ramped up its own research and development, spending $11.8 billion in 2016. Ericsson and Nokia, which lack Huawei’s major consumer business, spent $3.8 billion and $5.9 billion, respectively.

Huawei began to compete against U.S. tech companies for talent, and built a campus in the bustling southern Chinese city of Shenzhen that looks as if it belongs in Silicon Valley. Employees come to work in T-shirts and sneakers.

Union Wireless says it learned about Huawei by word-of-mouth from another small carrier. Huawei also sponsored the Rural Wireless Association’s networking lounge at a big mobile-industry trade show in San Francisco last September. Huawei engineers and executives also make regular visits to U.S. carriers to show off new technology, and the potential cost savings are “significant”—sometimes even half off competitors’ prices, says one former U.S. telecom executive.

In August 2016, it looked like Huawei might get a seat at the table when AT&T published a list of possible 5G vendors that included not just Ericsson and Nokia but also Huawei. In the following weeks, when congressional staffers met with AT&T executives in Washington to express concerns, they were told Huawei was offering equipment for 70% less than competitors, according to a person familiar with the meeting. AT&T executives told staffers they felt trapped between the security concerns and their duty to shareholders.

National Security Agency director Michael Rogers and James Comey, then-director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, personally spoke to senior AT&T management, the person said. AT&T declined to comment on the extent of its discussions with Huawei. “We expect to solicit information and bids from a large number of equipment providers as we continue to build out our next generation networks,” an AT&T spokesman said.

Huawei disputed the characterization of its conversations with AT&T, saying it wouldn’t have known how much its 5G equipment and services would cost in 2016 because it was well before international 5G standards had been set. An FBI spokeswoman and a lawyer for Mr. Comey declined to comment. The NSA didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Recently, Huawei’s Mr. Hu said it would be open to employing in the U.S. a model he says alleviated security concerns in Britain—a lab near Oxford, England, where employees with British security clearance physically disassemble Huawei equipment and inspect the hardware and software for vulnerabilities and “back doors.” Huawei funds and operates the lab, which is overseen by a board with senior British intelligence and government officials, as well as one Huawei executive as the vice chair.

British authorities say the arrangement is working. In its most recent annual report, published in April 2017, the board concluded that the lab “fulfilled its obligations in respect of the provision of assurance that any risks to U.K. national security from Huawei’s involvement in the U.K.’s critical networks have been sufficiently mitigated.”

Nigel Inkster, a former director of operations and intelligence at MI6, the British foreign intelligence agency, isn’t so sure. He says the lab was set up “to calm the concerns of the British government. It could be seen as closing the door after the horse has bolted.”

It’s a dilemma for the industry—and eventually consumers. Huawei’s meager presence in the U.S. market is one of the reasons for the high cost of U.S. wireless service, says Stephane Teral, executive research director at IHS Markit. U.S. wireless service costs $41 per month per customer on average, according to the data and analytics firm—second only to Canada, which also largely discourages Huawei equipment. In the U.K., where Huawei is allowed but closely scrutinized, the average wireless bill is $23 a month.

Meanwhile, the field of competitors has dwindled. French-based Alcatel and U.S.-based Lucent merged in 2006, and Nokia ended up buying the combined Alcatel-Lucent company in 2016. Nortel Networks Corp. folded in 2009 in Canada’s biggest bankruptcy case.

Both Nokia and Ericsson have warned that 2018 will be challenging. Ericsson has changed chief executives, laid off thousands of employees, warned of sales cancellations and faces pressure from an activist investor. Ericsson and Nokia’s combined revenue is less than that of Huawei.

U.S. security officials and telecom executives alike worry about an increasingly lopsided landscape. Says Mike Rogers, the former congressman who chaired the House intelligence committee and co-wrote the 2012 report on Huawei: “Given current market trends, it’s hard to imagine Huawei not being the only option in 10 years.”

Verizon Accounting Scandal

March 19, 2018 By Bruce Kushnick, New Networks Institute, Executive Director; Original article here

Verizon’s Proposed Settlement in New York Covers Up One of the Largest, Nationwide, Accounting Scandals in American History.

The following financial information is taken directly from Verizon New York’s 2016 Annual Report, published in June 2017.

A. Key Findings

We address the settlement in Section D, below.

Using the Verizon-New York 2016 Annual Report and other financial reports, we found:

  • Low Income Families are Defacto Investors, without the Benefits: Low income families, seniors, rural customers and everyone else got hit with multiple rate increases  — 84% on basic service and 50%-250% on ancillary services — in New York State since 2006–2016. Verizon and the State claimed the increases were for “massive deployment of fiber optics” and losses. The losses were artificially created and the massive fiber deployment was mostly shifted to Wireless services.
  • Customer Overcharging: We estimate that in NY State customers paid an additional $1,000–1,500 per line, from 2006 to 2016, for basic service (and an ancillary service) as built into rates are these construction perks and compensation for losses, and the dumping of billions of dollars annually of expenses created by the Verizon’s subsidiaries.
  • $2.8+ Billion in Wireless Cross-Subsidies: In 2010–2013 Verizon New York paid the construction expenditures for 5,515 cell sites to be built at a cost estimated to be $2.8 billion — and according to Verizon’s own press statements, this came out of the wireline construction budgets. This is instead of building out FTTP: Fiber to the Premises. (Note: these expenses were just for these four years. It has continued, but it would require an audit of the most current financials.)
  • Wireless Underpayments for Network Use: In 2016 in New York, we estimate that Verizon Wireless generated $6.5-$7.5 billion in revenue, which is not part of Verizon-New York, the State Public Telecom Utility. Verizon-New York’s 2016 Annual Report shows that “Cellco Partners”, (Verizon Wireless is a DBA) only paid $69 million to Verizon New York for use of its Public Utility Wireline networks and any construction. Based on interrogatories of the investigation, there appears to be an entire cesspool of fractional payments by Verizon.

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No CPMRAs In Monterey Vista Neighborhood

No Close Proximity Microwave Radiation Antennas in the Monterey Vista Neighborhood

There are less intrusive means for Verizon to close any alleged "coverage gaps" in the Montery Vista neighborhood, detailed below.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act requires the Wireless Carrier applicant, not the City, to prove that less instrusive alternatives do not exist. Such alternatives may include collocation with existing macro cell sites or new macro cell sites in one of the City’s preferred locations. These alternatives would be outside of — not embedded in — residential zones. The City of Monterey has the authority to enforce its local municipal code to preserve the residential character of residential neighborhoods.


Verizon deploys four main frequencies/wavelengths options to bring Wireless voice and data services to residential zones:

  • A. 700 MHZ that has a wavelength of 16.9 inches for primarily data and some VoLTE
  • B. 850 MHz that has a wavelength of 13.9 inches for primarily voice/text
  • C. 1900 MHz that has a wavelength of 6.2 inches for primarily data and some VoLTE
  • D. 2100 MHz that has a wavelength of 5.6 inches for primarily data and some VoLTE

Verizon antennas that send/receive these frequency/wavelength options can be deployed in various configurations, including the following:

  1. Macro cell tower sites using stand-alone structures (providing coverage 10-20 miles away)
  2. Roof and building-mounted cell sites (providing coverage 5-10 miles away)
  3. Utility/Light pole-mounted cell sites (providing coverage 2.5 to 5 miles away)

That’s right. These Utility/Light pole-mounted cell sites do not just transmit down the block; they can they transmit pulsed, data-modulated, RadioFrequency Microwave Radiation through the houses that are nearby on the way to the houses several miles away.

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PD-2018-0306 Verizon Leverages Santa Rosa Churches

by KEVIN MCCALLUM, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT | March 6, 2018, 9:33PM | Original article here.

Direct all Calls/Emails/Praises/Complaints to City Planner Andrew Trippel, 707-543-3223 | atrippel@srcity.org

First public meeting is on Wed, Mar 7 at 6 p.m
at 637 First St., Santa Rosa — across the street from City Hall

Proposed 62-Foot Verizon Steeple/Macro Cell Tower at 1620 Sonoma Ave.

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FCC Reauthorization Act of 2018 & New FCC Order

A. Vote in the House on 3/6/18: HR.4986

About 15,000 Words

The Press Release


H.R. 4986 , the Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act of 2018 is a bipartisan, bicameral agreement among House and Senate leaders to reauthorize the FCC and support the deployment of next-generation wireless services. The Energy and Commerce Committee approved an earlier version of H.R. 4986 by voice vote last month. The legislation that passed today will:

  • Reauthorize the FCC and include reforms to ensure the commission continues to improve its efficiency and transparency.
  • Enact key provisions from the Senate-approved MOBILE NOW Act (S.19) to boost the development of next-generation 5G wireless broadband by identifying more spectrum – both licensed and unlicensed – for private sector use and reducing the red tape associated with building wireless networks.
  • Authorize a repack fund to address the shortfall in funding available to relocate broadcasters being displaced following the successful Incentive Auction, and set up new relocation funds for translators, low-power television, and radio stations that will be impacted by the repack – supplemented by a consumer education fund.
  • Include a spectrum auction deposit “fix” which allows the FCC to deposit upfront payments from spectrum bidders directly with the U.S. Treasury.
  • Direct the FCC to craft a national policy for unlicensed spectrum that includes certain specific considerations and recommendations.
  • Advance proposals that would help the FCC and law enforcement protect consumers from fraudulent telephone calls, and to educate Americans about their options to stop these illegal calls.

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NTP Finds Cell Phone Radiation Causes Cancer

Feb 20, 2018 — by Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director, Center for Family and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley; original article here

A. NTP Study: Analyze the Overall Tumor Risk

Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.:

The National Toxicology Program (NTP) researchers did not carefully examine the overall tumor risk, that is, the risk of an animal developing any type of tumor due to cell phone radiation exposure. There are several strong justifications for conducting this analysis.

First, a 5-year, $5 million Air Force study found low incidences of various types of tumors in male rats exposed to microwave radiation. In that study, the exposed rats were three times more likely to get cancer than the control rats. The study employed much lower intensity microwave radiation than the NTP studies.

Second, early toxicology research on the effects of tobacco found low incidences of many types of tumors among animals exposed to tobacco smoke. Scientists dismissed this evidence as they assumed an agent could not cause cancer in different types of tissue. History later proved them wrong.

Finally, my preliminary analysis of the overall tumor risk using summary data from the appendices to the NTP report, found that male rats exposed to cell phone radiation were significantly more likely to develop cancer than control rats (38% vs. 25.5%; p = .021), and more likely to develop a nonmalignant tumor (70% vs. 54%; p = .003).

Male rats in the lowest cell phone radiation exposure group, 1.5 watts per kilogram, were also more likely to develop a nonmalignant tumor than control rats (74% vs. 54%; p < .001). Although cancer incidence for this low exposure group was greater than the control group, the difference was not statistically significant (34% vs. 25.5%; p = .163).

B. Ramazzini Study: More Than a Coincidence

By Louis Slesin, February 20, 2018; original article here and Ramazzini abstract here.

New Large Animal Study, Like NTP’s, Links RF to Schwannoma of the Heart

Ramazzini Study: 2,448 Rats Lifetime Exposed to 1800 MHz GSM

  • Group A: 5 V/m = 66,300 µW/m² (0.7% of US RF Microwave radiation exposure guideline)
  • Group B: 25 V/m = 1,658,000 µW/m² (17% of US RF Microwave radiation exposure guideline)
  • Group C: 50 V/m = 6,630,000 µW/m² (66% of US RF Microwave radiation exposure guideline)

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It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

Those acquainted with the New York Yankees storied history in Major League Baseball will be familiar with Yogi Berra, a colorful catcher for the Yankees and a fountain of now-quite-famous “Yogi-isms“.

  • Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.

  • He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.

  • When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

One “Yogi-ism” that applies to the US Government’s scientific reporting of harms from RF Microwave radiation exposures is "It’s déjà vu all over again."

The $64,000,000,000 question is: if 15,000 to 50,000 µW/m² of RF Microwave radiation exposure is sufficient to cause cardiac problems, neurological and psychological symptoms, altered blood cell counts, increased chromosome aberrations, and elevated cancer in children and adults, then why are US cities allowing 720,000 to 1,230,000 µW/m² of RF Microwave radiation exposure on sidewalks from 4G/5G so-called “Small Cell” cell phone towers installed in the public rights of way — 15–50 feet from our homes?

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National Security Council 5G Recommendation

By Ina Fried, Kim Hart, David McCabe; original AXIOS article here.

Note: View the photos of the slides/document shared with President Trump, in advance of his State of the Union address that will be on Jan 30, 2018 at 6:00 pm PT. For those who wish to listen to other points of view on the State of the life in America, then consider the live feed of the People’s State of the Union.

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Federal Takeover of Mid-Band 5G Wireless Network Raises Significant Issues

A Trump administration proposal to nationalize a portion of the nation’s wireless network in order to combat threats from China in 5G raises many technical, logistical and political concerns, including a fierce debate over the proper role of government in business.

The bottom line: The proposal calls for aggressive government involvement in the private wireless market, representing a significant shift in U.S. industrial policy that would hugely disrupt the business plans of America’s largest telecom and technology companies.

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FCC Broadband Progress Report

Original press release here

Fact Sheet On Draft 2018 Broadband Deployment Report


Recognizing the importance of high-speed broadband Internet access, Congress in 1996 tasked the Federal Communications Commission with “encourag[ing] the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans.” To ensure the Commission took this obligation seriously, Congress required the Commission to report on its progress each year.

Chairman Pai has circulated a draft 2018 Broadband Deployment Report to his colleagues and below are the key findings and additional information.

Topline Takeaways:

  • The 25/3 speed benchmark is maintained. The draft report finds that the current speed benchmark of 25 Mbps/3 Mbps remains an appropriate measure by which to assess whether a fixed service provides advanced telecommunications capability.

  • Mobile services are not full substitutes for fixed services — there are salient differences between the two technologies. Both fixed and mobile services can enable access to information, entertainment, and employment options, but there are salient differences between the two. Beyond the most obvious distinction that mobile services permit user mobility, there are clear variations in consumer preferences and demands for fixed and mobile services.

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