Stockdale Picked To Lead Wireless Bureau

Longtime FCC economist and attorney Donald Stockdale returns to lead the commission’s wireless policy team.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today announced that he intends to appoint Donald Stockdale to chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. Stockdale is an economist and attorney with extensive FCC and private-sector experience.

“Consumers around the world are increasingly relying on wireless services,” said Pai. “This makes it important for the FCC to get it right when it comes spectrum and infrastructure, the building blocks of advanced wireless networks. And getting it right requires us to focus, among other things, on principles of law and sound economics. Don’s unique skills and experience will help ensure that the FCC’s approach benefits consumers by fostering wireless growth, competition, and innovation. I’m proud that we are adding another talented member to our great wireless leadership team.”

Stockdale will be working closely with Nese Guendelsberger who, having served as acting bureau chief, will continue to help lead the bureau as senior deputy bureau chief.  Meanwhile, Pai intends to appoint James Schlichting, who currently is senior deputy bureau chief in the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, to the same position in the International Bureau.

“Nese did an outstanding job as acting chief and I’m so grateful to her for that work as well as her willingness to continue to help lead this team,” said Pai. “And with the unique spectrum challenges that will accompany the 5G transition, it is critical that we have someone with Jim’s experience helping to lead the International Bureau. I give my sincerest thanks to both Nese and Jim for their work and their continued dedication to the American people.”

The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau develops and executes policies and procedures for fast, fair licensing of all wireless services, ranging from fixed microwave links to amateur radio to broadband data services on mobile phones. The bureau oversees nearly two million licenses, conducts auctions to award services licenses, and manages the tower registration process.

Stockdale rejoins the commission from Bates White Economic Consulting where he has been a partner. Prior to that, he worked on telecom regulatory and antitrust issues as a partner at Mayer Brown LLP.


Stockdale first joined the FCC’s then-Common Carrier Bureau (now the Wireline Competition Bureau) in 1994 as an attorney adviser and later as deputy division chief and associate bureau chief for economics. He later served as director of research in the Office of Policy and Planning and finally as deputy bureau chief and chief economist for the Wireline Competition Bureau until he left the agency in 2011.

He earned his doctorate in economics and law degree from Yale University and bachelor’s degrees from Cambridge University and Yale.

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