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CTIA – The Wireless Association is an industry trade group that represents the international wirelesstelecommunications industry. Its members include cellular, personal communication services and enhanced specialized mobile radio providers and suppliers, and providers and manufacturers of wireless data services and products. CTIA stood for Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, and, between 2000 and 2004, as the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association.
The association advocates on behalf of the industry by lobbying at all levels of government. It has been a vocal supporter to acquire more electromagnetic spectrum for the U.S. wireless industry. In addition, CTIA has played roles in repealing the Internal Revenue Service listed property rule for mobile devices, and by participating in the development of model state legislation that would make manual texting while driving illegal. It also supported the 2010 passage of the 21st Century Telecommunications Act, which ensured every American has access to wireless services. Regulatory activity that CTIA played a key part in involved the FCC's adoption of a "shot clock" ruling in November 2009 on tower siting applications, which helps to ensure that local zoning authorities respond to request in a timely manner. Other examples of CTIA advocacy efforts occurred when the association was instrumental in the passage of both the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Telecommunications Disclosure & Dispute Resolution Act.
CTIA's major services and functions on behalf of the wireless industry include:
Operations and Standards Setting - Provides services to help the industry with the task of testing and evaluating wireless devices and establishing standards for manufacture and operation. This includes defining and publishing test plans, authorizing and managing test labs, and defining and implementing device certification programs. Programs include:
CCF Certification Program for CDMA devices for the global market - Within that program, CTIA manages a CTIA Certification Program for CDMA devices for the North American market.
PTCRB Certification Program for GSM and UMTS Devices - CTIA administers the PTCRB Certification Program.
Battery Certification Program - CTIA manages a program to permit operators and their suppliers to validate a Lithium Ion battery's compliance with the IEEE Standard for Rechargeable Batteries for Cellular Telephones, IEEE Std 1725 - 2006.
Bluetooth Compatibility Certification Program - CTIA manages a program to evaluate the implementation, integration and interaction between Bluetooth–enabled mobile phones and accessories.
Wireless Internet Development - Focuses on wireless data segment of the industry, including support for the industry's Wireless Internet Caucus (WIC).
Short Codes- Provides Common Short Code (CSC) administration services to wireless services. CSCs are the short numeric codes to which text messages can be addressed from a wireless device. These five-digit or six-digit numbers, compatible across participating carriers, are leased by anyone interested in interacting with almost 293 million wireless subscriber connections. Wireless subscribers send text messages to short codes to access a wide variety of mobile content for delivery to their wireless devices. Applications range from sweepstakes and mobile coupons to tele-voting campaigns and a wide range of additional interactive wireless services.
Voluntary Guidelines - Focuses wireless industry efforts to develop best operating practices and standards and to adopt voluntary guidelines: a Consumer Code that is designed to help consumers make informed choices when selecting and managing their wireless service; Best Practices and Guidelines for Location Based Services that promote and protect user privacy; Wireless Content Guidelines to provide consumers with the information and tools they need to make informed choices when accessing content using a wireless handset; and Wireless Content Guidelines Classification Criteria that classifies mobile content based on existing criteria that's used to rate movies, television shows, music and games.
CTIA supports industry initiatives such as Wireless AMBER Alerts; On the Road, Off the Phone, a teen-focused safe driving public service announcement campaign; text4baby, a free mobile educational service to promote the birth of healthy babies; and the "Be Smart. Be Fair. Be Safe: Responsible Wireless Use" program to help parents, educators, and policymakers teach kids about responsible mobile behavior, driving, and eco-friendly initiatives.
CTIA provides a semi-annual industry survey that tracks trends and use patterns in the market for new devices, new services and consumer choices. Conducted since 1985, these surveys cover direct employment, number of cell sites, major categories of industry revenues, the average local monthly bill, the average length of call and other metrics. The average local monthly bill includes voice and data usage and is developed on a weighted basis, to avoid skewing the figures.
The survey tracks the growing trend toward consumers using more wireless data service, which includes statistics on wireless data revenues and wireless data traffic. The survey also develops information on the number of reported wireless subscriber units or "connections" for the responding systems, and an estimated total wireless connections figure for the United States taking into account non-responding systems, which is quite small, as CTIA receives responses from companies serving more than 95 percent of wireless subscriber connections.
The association also operates industry trade shows CTIA Wireless and CTIA Enterprise and Applications.
CTIA provides equipment testing and hardware certification programs for its nearly 300 members in the United States, and coordinates voluntary industry efforts to provide consumers with information regarding wireless products and services. This includes industry guidelines and wireless accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
CTIA was founded in 1984 as the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. In 2000, CTIA merged with the Wireless Data Forum and became the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association. In 2004, the name was changed to CTIA – The Wireless Association to reflect that the wireless industry now included data and other communications services in addition to telephone service. CTIA is governed by a 35-member Board of Directors composed of six officers and 29 directors. These individuals are elected to serve for a one-year term, effective January 1-December 31.
Accessibility and Disability: CTIA and the wireless industry operate the AccessWireless.org website for consumers with disabilities.
Broadband: CTIA and the wireless industry advocate that the regulatory and legislative framework for broadband remain flexible and focused on supporting on growth and innovation..
Consumer Protection Standards: Major U.S. wireless carriers and most regional and local wireless service providers committed to the voluntary "Consumer Code for Wireless Service". Since it was developed in 2003, the code was intended to keep consumers informed about their wireless service options, fees and choices.
Contraband Cell Phones in Prisons: CTIA and the wireless industry vehemently oppose prisoners having access to contraband phones. The wireless industry and corrections community share the same goal of stopping the use of contraband cell phones by prisoners. Wireless carriers support attacking the supply of contraband cell phones in prisons through solutions such as cell detection and managed access technologies. CTIA supported the Cell Phone Contraband Act, which became law in August 2010 and punishes inmates, and anyone who supplies them with a device, while in prison.
Emergency Preparedness/Business Continuity: Wireless companies are constantly refining their response plans to natural disasters such as hurricanes.
Enhanced 911 (E-911): CTIA and its members are committed to ensuring access to E-911 services for customers on their wireless phones, and to improving E-911 services to all Americans. The wireless industry is investing substantially in the network capabilities needed to identify the location of wireless calls to 911, and to meet deadlines established by the FCC for deploying these enhanced technologies.
Intercarrier Compensation (ICC): CTIA supports overhauling the Intercarrier Compensation system because it is outdated, inefficient and does not reflect today's telecom market. The ICC system dictates the financial and technical terms under which carriers exchange telecommunications traffic. CTIA advocates for a fair system called Mutually Efficient Traffic Exchange (METE), the optimal way to best serve consumers by allowing the market to work and, when limited regulation is necessary, eliminating distinctions between different types of technology platforms and encouraging efficiency.
Kids & Wireless: Education is key to ensuring children and teens use cell phones responsibly. CTIA and The Wireless Foundation developed the "Be Smart. Be Fair. Be Safe: Responsible Wireless Use" campaign in March 2010 to provide content for parents, educators and policymakers to help them teach kids about responsible mobile behavior.
mHealth Solutions: By reducing medical costs and errors, removing geographical and economic disparities and reinforcing consumer-focused and personalized healthcare, mHealth solutions claim to improve healthcare services.
National Framework: CTIA believes policymakers should take a very cautious view toward regulating the mobile broadband ecosystem, including the wireless Internet, If additional legislative or regulatory support is needed, CTIA advocates to keep government action remains at the national level, and states to only take appropriate action relative to their laws of general applicability. Privacy: The wireless industry recognizes that safeguarding confidential information is one of the most important obligations providers have to their customers.
Safe Driving: CTIA believes that when it comes to using a wireless device behind the wheel, it is important to remember safety always comes first and should be every driver's top priority. That is why CTIA partnered with the National Safety Council to develop the On the Road, Off the Phone campaign. While mobile devices are important safety tools, there's an appropriate time and an inappropriate time to use them. CTIA and the industry believes text-messaging while driving is incompatible with safe driving, and supports state and local statutes that ban this activity while driving.
Universal Service Fund: Everyone should pay their fair share of universal service, and the funds should be distributed in an equitable and non-discriminatory manner that recognizes consumer demand. At the same time, the Universal Service Fund (USF) should be no bigger than necessary to achieve the goals outlined by Congress. Consumers receive the most benefit from a limited USF system that ensures competitors have equal access to support.
Wireless Industry Sustainability: The wireless industry's sustainability efforts include developing environmentally-friendly products and services, implementing energy-conscious measures in its network operations and business practices and educating consumers about cell phone recycling.
CTIA is not a scientific or research organization, and defers to leading public health agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), when it comes to the discussion about mobile devices and any possible link to health effects.
Scientists have been studying cell phone use and possible health effects for many years.The WHO, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have reviewed this research or have conducted their own, and have found that the available scientific evidence does not show that the use of wireless phones is associated with any health problems, including cancer.
The FCC, which regulates the use of wireless phones, has adopted safety standards governing radiofrequency (RF) fields from wireless phones, and has determined that all cell phones sold in the United States must meet the FCC's RF exposure standard. In adopting the current RF safety standards, the FCC stated that its standards represent the "best scientific thought and are sufficient to protect the public health". The FCC's RF standards governing wireless phones incorporate a 50 fold safety standard.
The FDA, which also has regulatory power over wireless phones and helped to develop and approve the FCC standard, has similarly concluded that "the weight of scientific evidence has not linked cell phones with any health problems".
The FCC, FDA, and other government agencies work cooperatively to monitor scientific research to determine if the safety standards need to be adjusted.
The Interphone project, coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, is the largest study of cell phone use and brain tumors ever undertaken and included substantial numbers of subjects using cell phones for 10 years or longer, found that "overall, no increase in risk...was observed with the use of mobile phones". Health and telecommunications agencies will continue to monitor ongoing research on the safety of cell phones. According to the FDA and WHO, among other organizations, the weight of scientific evidence has not effectively linked exposure to radio frequency energy from mobile devices with any known health problems.
Though some studies have concluded there is a link to an elevated risk, those studies have not been replicated and responsible expert authorities do not reach their conclusions based on the latest study. Instead, they base their conclusions on an evaluation of all of the relevant scientific research. Additional research can be used to fill gaps in the existing scientific work on this topic. For example, studies are being conducted on the effects of cell phone use by children and on even longer-term use. For more information about potential health effects of RF energy, see: the American Cancer Society, Food and Drug Administration, National Cancer Institute, World Health Organization and Federal Communications Commission.
Some critics such as the Environmental Working Group (EWG) state that "there is sufficient research that shows higher risk for brain and salivary gland tumors among heavy cell phone users. EWG encouraged consumers to look up their cell phone's radiation level, and to wear a headset when talking on the phone to limit their exposure".
The FCC says that "Even though no scientific evidence currently establishes a definite link between wireless device use and cancer or other illnesses, and even though all cell phones must meet established federal standards for exposure to RF energy, some consumers are skeptical of the science and/or the analysis that underlies the FCC's RF exposure guidelines. Accordingly, some parties recommend taking measures to further reduce exposure to RF energy. The FCC does not endorse the need for these practices, but provides information on some simple steps that you can take to reduce your exposure to RF energy from cell phones".
The Wireless Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that focuses on public interest and philanthropic programs and awards. This includes the joint effort with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the U.S. Department of Justice to deliver AMBER Alerts to wireless phones. Every year, the Foundation presents the VITA (Latin for "life") Wireless Samaritan Awards to honor people across the United States who have used their wireless technology to save lives, stop crime and help in other emergencies.
MyWireless.org is a nonpartisan non-profit advocacy organization, made up of wireless consumers, businesses and community leaders from the USA, supporting certain wireless policies. Since 2005, MyWireless.org advocated that wireless taxes, fees and regulations were "unfair".