US regulator the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will next Thursday hold a meeting in Washington aimed at launching a wide-ranging review of the country’s mobile industry practices, looking at issues from the state of competition in the market to the fees added on to subscribers’ bills. Of the three subjects scheduled for debate at the meeting, two are focused specifically on mobile. The first subject is titled ‘Fostering innovation and investment in the wireless communications market; a national broadband plan for our future,’ whilst the second topic up for debate is summarised as follows: ‘The Commission will consider a Notice of Inquiry soliciting information for the next annual report to Congress on the status of competition in the mobile wireless market, including commercial mobile services.’

A Wall Street Journal report notes that the FCC’s plans “are the latest sign of the Obama administration’s determination to bring heavier regulatory scrutiny to bear on the wireless industry.” Recently the FCC said it was seeking clarification as to why Apple has barred Google’s voice application from its App Store. The Commission has also begun looking into whether large domestic operators are purposely making it hard for smaller rivals to compete. In particular, AT&T and Verizon Wireless are reported to be at the centre of an informal review of the exclusive arrangements that limit handsets such as Apple’s iPhone to particular operators.