February 8, 1995
Re: Revision of Part 22 and Part 90 of the Commission's Rules to Facilitate Future Development of Paging Systems
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking we adopt today is one more chapter in our implementation of the 1993 Budget Reconciliation Act. The transition to geographic licensing and competitive bidding we propose for paging services should facilitate continued growth of the paging industry and its efficient use of the spectrum.
The Notice recognizes that paging is a mature service and a competitive one. For that reason, we are taking measures that will allow existing paging businesses to continue to meet customer demand during the pendency of this proceeding without undermining our objectives.
We will also process pending non-mutually exclusive applications. The question of whether to permit interim licensing has arisen repeatedly as we move to geographic licensing and competitive bidding for wireless services. In each instance, I have based my decision on the particular circumstances surrounding the service at issue. Where interim licensing would undermine our transition to competitive bidding, I have not supported it.
In the case of paging services, I am persuaded that processing the pending non- mutually exclusive applications can benefit consumers without a negative impact on our ultimate goals. Paging is a thriving industry with established licensees who must regularly expand or modify their facilities in order to meet customer demand and increase their competitiveness in the market. The Commission has developed, with the help of the industry, an algorithm that will allow us to clear the backlog of pending applications. We are now prepared to do that.
It is my understanding that over 70% of the pending non-mutually exclusive applications that we plan to process have been filed by incumbents, seeking to fill-in or incrementally expand coverage of their existing systems. The spectrum sought by these applicants is unlikely to be of practical value to anyone other than the applicant and yet it may be of critical importance to the incumbent's ability to maintain its position in this highly competitive market.
In these circumstances, I am persuaded that the processing of these applications will not undermine our goals and will be of benefit to thriving paging businesses and to consumers.