Disputing assertions by the nation’s top wireless operators that the competitive state of the U.S. mobile telephony sector is strong, several consumer and public interest groups complained to the FCC that “prices are rising” and “consumer choice is artificially limited,” as representatives of rural wireless carriers took issue with the impact of exclusive wireless handset arrangements on competition. These groups were among various parties to file reply comments in the FCC’s proceeding on competition in the U.S. wireless market. Annually, the FCC is required to report to Congress on the state of competition in the U.S. wireless sector. With the shift in power to the Obama Administration and the resulting change in leadership at the FCC, observers believe that this year’s wireless competition report could provide the impetus for potential rule changes that include controls on exclusive wireless handset contracts, automatic roaming for wireless data, and a reinstatement of the commercial mobile radio spectrum cap. In support of earlier comments filed by wireless association CTIA, AT&T argued that no commenter in the first round “urges an alternative definition of ‘effective competition’ or any coherent explanation how the Commission could ignore that all of the economic indicators commonly employed to assess the effectiveness of competition point in the same direction: competition that is not just effective, but as intense and dynamic as in any capital intensive industry anywhere.” Adding that, “even in a weakened economy, wireless entry, expansion and broadband investment are at record levels,” AT&T asserted that “searching for signs of effective wireless competition is like looking for hay in a haystack.” However, in a joint filing, the Consumer Federation of America, Free Press, the Consumers Union, and other advocacy groups painted a different picture, declaring that “initial comments in this proceeding—and investigations conducted by the House and Senate—demonstrate numerous problems with the wireless market.” Charging that the U.S. wireless market is a “world in which only AT&T and Verizon believe there is adequate competition,” the joint filers lamented that “smaller competitors cannot get the spectrum, the backhaul, the roaming, or the handsets they need.” Noting that the top selling wireless handset in May—Research-in- Motion’s Curve—is not covered by an exclusive contract, the Rural Cellular Association told the FCC that that fact “calls into question suggestions by the nation’s largest carriers . . . that exclusive arrangements are a necessary component of the nation’s wireless handset market.”