The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday launched an inquiry to examine the state of competition in the wireless industry.

The FCC issued a notice of inquiry as part of an annual assessment into whether the big companies such as Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc, Sprint Nextel Corp and T-Mobile, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG, are too dominant and what that means for consumers.

Verizon Wireless is a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Group Plc.

(Reporting by John Poirier, Editing by Maureen Bavdek)