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FCC To Probe Exclusive Mobile Deals

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the hold-off-on-that-twelve-year-contract dept.

Cellphones 159

On Tuesday, we discussed news that four US Senators would be looking into the exclusivity deals between carriers and cell phone makers. Apparently, they didn't like what they heard. Reader Ian Lamont writes with an update: "The Federal Communications Commission is planning on launching an investigation into exclusive handset deals between mobile carriers and handset makers. In a speech on Thursday, acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps said the agency 'should determine whether some of these arrangements adversely restrict consumer choice or harm the development of innovative devices, and it should take appropriate action if it finds harm.' It's not hard to imagine who might be targeted — at a separate Senate Committee on Commerce hearing on Thursday, much of the discussion centered on AT&T's exclusive deal to carry the iPhone. AT&T claimed 'consumers benefit from exclusive deals in three ways: innovation, lower cost and more choice,' but carriers and senators from states with large rural populations disagreed, saying that their customers had no choice when it came to the iPhone — it's not available because AT&Ts network doesn't reach these areas. One panelist also brought up the Carterfone precedent (PDF), which concerned an 'electrical acoustic coupling device' that a man named Tom Carter developed in the 1950s to let field workers make phone calls using a radio transceiver connected to AT&T's phone network. AT&T, which was then a monopoly, claimed no foreign devices could be connected to its network, but lost when it challenged the Carterfone in court. The result spurred innovation such as the fax machine."

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Anally probe? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28397671)

Well, yet another first post for me, first post god!

So what I'm hearing is... (5, Funny)

hansonc (127888) | more than 5 years ago | (#28397681)

Four Senators want iPhones but don't want to leave Verizon...

As with everything, until it inconveniences a Senator directly they don't see it as a problem

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (2)

Bovius (1243040) | more than 5 years ago | (#28397739)

I'm very glad this was the first (significant) post. Thank you, good sir.

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28397807)

Imagine your willy being smacked until it bleeds. Sponsored by the willymedia foundation.

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28397831)

Why do I need to imagine it? I smack mine till it bleeds every single day.

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28397825)

Four Senators want iPhones but don't want to leave Verizon...

As with everything, until it inconveniences a Senator directly they don't see it as a problem

Good God, we're all screwed.

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (4, Insightful)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28397879)

Suggested mod: +5, Sad but true.

What needs to happen is some senators need to get cancer, and have their insurance company deny coverage based on them mis-reporting their weight 15 years prior. We'll see some shit change real damn fast when that finally happens.

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28397941)

If there's one thing the insurance companies would never be stupid enough to do, and that's screw with someone from Congress.

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398347)

They don't pay for insurance coverage... it's just free medical care with highly prioritized and preferential treatment. That's one of the big problems with healthcare -- legislators never see the problem because they never experience it and those who have quickly forget it once they enter that arena.

Senators do get some pretty nasty health problems if you will recall.

Agreed (4, Interesting)

weston (16146) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398447)

They don't pay for insurance coverage... it's just free medical care with highly prioritized and preferential treatment. That's one of the big problems with healthcare -- legislators never see the problem because they never experience it and those who have quickly forget it once they enter that arena

Which is why we if we want the health care problem solved, one essential step will probably be insisting legislators and their staff have no access to any kind of group health care policy.

Mind you some of them are probably well off enough this wouldn't be a particular inconvenience, but the staff thing ought to do it.

Re:Agreed (1)

SUB7IME (604466) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398907)

We could just deny them access entirely. Though I would feel tension between my pledge to uphold the Hippocratic Oath and the Constitution, clearly the Constitution wins. I will defend the constitution, even to the death (of Congresspeople).

Re:Agreed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399057)

Haha, awesome. We need more doctors like you. Especially if you are kidding, and I'm pretty sure you are. Be my doctor plz?

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (1)

Foodie (980694) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398619)

Or for some senator to have their, or one of their family member's identity stolen... will be fun to see what happens.

What could possibly go wrong? (1)

HiggsBison (678319) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398801)

Or for some senator to have their, or one of their family member's identity stolen... will be fun to see what happens.

"I don't give a damn if you are a United States Senator! Your name is on the TSA watch list, and you're not gettin' on that plane!"

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (4, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398985)

Which is why Congress has a (publicly funded) medical plan, the likes of which the insurance industry will fight to keep away from the rest of us.

We need a law that says: Members of Congress gets the worst plan/deal/discount available.

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399343)

them lying about their weight is the easy part, but how do you give someone cancer?

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (1)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398023)

Scored 5 as Funny but 100 as sadly true!

Re:enforcement of antitrust laws (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28398099)

I have not come across any "body" that attempts to lobby, write to local congressman/senators or follow legal channels to help enforce consumer antitrust.

Read: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/public/div_stats/211491.htm
Quoted:
"There are three main ways in which the federal antitrust laws are enforced: criminal and civil enforcement actions brought by the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, civil enforcement actions brought by the Federal Trade Commission and lawsuits brought by private parties asserting damage claims."

Re:enforcement of antitrust laws (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399361)

Simple.

The only ones who can lobby are the ones made rich by existing favoritism.

Positive feedback loop.

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (1)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398233)

You'd be surprised at how close this is to the truth. Verizon is the only network that works in the DC metro. There are a lot of people on the hill who would love to get an iphone on Verizon.

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (1)

mcwop (31034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398827)

And Verizon would lock down the iPhone (tongue in cheek), so Apps will not work. I left Verizon several years ago for this very reason, and got a RAZR from ATT, and now I am still getting my money's worth from the first gen iPhone. Funny, maybe our politicians should investigate their own lobbying deals first.

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (4, Funny)

oneplus999 (907816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398299)

Does that mean if we chip in to buy them some PS3s or some 360s we might get rid of these ridiculous console-exclusivity deals?

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398779)

what about people that want an iphone and use it with any number of carriers, i might want to use it with tracfone service,

Re:So what I'm hearing is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28398889)

Why is this only 3, Funny?

Fax machine (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399181)

The fax machine was invented long before the Carterphone issue. It even predates the telephone.

beyond the rural issue (5, Informative)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 5 years ago | (#28397729)

There's AT&Ts recent withdrawal of the iPhone from Pay As You Go availability.

Basically, if you want an iPhone on an affordable plan, you can't get it, because AT&T doesn't offer PAYG and because affordable operators like MetroPCS can't offer one either (yes, I realize MetroPCS isn't GSM, it's just an example).

phirst phallis (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28397733)

you can touch my winkie for a dollar

This should've happened years ago (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28397765)

I've never understood why you could only use certain phones with certain carriers. I've never used an iphone before until yesterday and I really liked it, but was extremely dismayed by being stuck with AT&T.

I've talked with coworkers and friends in the area who use AT&T and most of their responses are about how crappy it is.

Therefore no iphone for me until I can choose another carrier.

Re:This should've happened years ago (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28398065)

Every carrier is a crappy carrier.

Re:This should've happened years ago (4, Interesting)

MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398381)

as an iPhone owner i'd like to pose a thought specifically re: iPhone and AT&T service. I live in the NY,NJ,PA tri-state area where AT&T has less than reputable service. (in much of the US AT&T has fairly good coverage) i've been with AT&T for over 10 years (from Cingular) in multiple locations in the US. i've never had any issues whatsoever with my phone service until i got my iPhone. now i will be the first to admit i _really_ like my iPhone, i like it enough to spell it with a capital "P" and lowercase "i". i dont even capitalize myself when i say 'i'. that being said, the iPhone has dropped calls more times than i possibly can fathom! i'm sure i've dropped over 250 calls minimum in the past 8 months or so that i've had the device. prior to this, i've only ever dropped 1 call in 10 _years_ with AT&T. i am dissatisfied with AT&T service plans but i have to recognize there is a possiblity that the iPhone itself has some real issues, it may be just the way it works with AT&T service (if anyone has any experince with other carriers, O2, the canadian one or whatever please ceel free to add your experience.) it may be the device, either way i wont know for sure till i can take my iPhone to another carrier.

Re:This should've happened years ago (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28398521)

My AT&T iPhone experience was the opposite. It didn't drop calls in spots where my previous phone consistently dropped them. That said, in the past few months, I've been having more and more problems with dropped calls during tower handoffs (transitioning from one tower to another). This is on a first-generation iPhone, so there haven't been any firmware changes to the phone that could explain these problems. (The first-gen iPhone hasn't had new baseband firmware since roughly when the 3G came out.) It is entirely a problem of AT&T's towers just plain botching up the handoff.

I'm hopeful that AT&T will fix these problems at some point, but right now, my first-gen iPhone seems to fail almost every single tower handoff in the south SF Bay area even at low speeds on city streets. Something is clearly wrong with their tower firmware and this is a *recent* problem. It worked flawlessly in these same spots until just a few months ago, and it does reestablish access to the tower with full bars after a few seconds if you sit at one of these "dead spots". For these reasons, I'm fairly certain that this is not an iPhone problem, but rather a case of AT&T being utterly the most incompetent telco on the planet.

The only other possibility would be a baseband crash, but that seems unlikely to occur so consistently during tower handoffs. Also, I often have full bars within a fraction of a second after the call dropping, which couldn't possibly occur if it were caused by a baseband crash. Thus, it seems pretty likely that AT&T is simply way, way over their network capacity and are not giving high enough priority to tower handoff traffic.

Another possibility is capacity. (4, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399047)

[iPhone drops on tower handoffs in SF south bay area.]

Something is clearly wrong with their tower firmware and this is a *recent* problem. It worked flawlessly in these same spots until just a few months ago, and it does reestablish access to the tower with full bars after a few seconds if you sit at one of these "dead spots". ...

The only other possibility would be a baseband crash, but that seems unlikely to occur so consistently during tower handoffs. Also, I often have full bars within a fraction of a second after the call dropping, ...

IMHO another possibility is network saturation. If you have to switch to a new tower or pie-slice because you're losing the old one, and all the slots in the new one are in use, you're hosed until a slot frees up. Park in the "dead zone" and eventually somebody will hang up or move on and the tower will give you a slot. Meanwhile the phone can hear the tower (and its control channel) just fine, so you get bars but no audio. (You'll also be able to send and receive text messages, which are on the control channel. But try to make a new call and you'll get all-trunks-busy.)

This doesn't require a firmware change or anything else other than not having enough cells for the traffic in the area. The "correct" solution is to split the cells up more finely - by installing a bunch of new short range cells to replace a few long-range ones or possibly to split the pie-slices more finely or do steerable antennas.

But both approaches require capital investment in a "lending freeze" economy - where cellphone upgrades are the first thing the consumers cut. The first one also requires regulatory approval for more antenna sites in eco-wacko land where "no nasty carcinogenic electromagnetic fields in MY back yard" is the paradigm of people who don't get the inverse-square law and are perfectly willing to put the antenna of the portable end of the system right up against their skulls.

Well, my 2 cents (2, Insightful)

JeffSh (71237) | more than 5 years ago | (#28397791)

The carterfone and that whole line of reasoning has nothing to do with the iphone on competitor networks. I'm not sure what point is trying to be made, like as if the iPhone being able to work on Verizon would lead to some amazing innovation we're missing out on because of an exclusivity deal? I don't think I follow that one. I just don't get it, sorry. It's apples and oranges

Re:Well, my 2 cents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28397821)

I think it was to add something interesting to an otherwise non-story.

Re:Well, my 2 cents (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28397961)

The point is you should be able to sue any phone on any system.
Just like carterfone helped make it so you could use the phones system regardless of who made your telephone.

Re:Well, my 2 cents (1)

mindstormpt (728974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398033)

The point is you should be able to sue any phone on any system.

I'm not so sure you can sue a phone, but it's worth a try - crazier things have happened.

Re:Well, my 2 cents (5, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398013)

I think the idea is that when ATT didn't service an area where service was needed, it not just temporarily, and their rules prohibited the connection of outside devices to it's phone network was shot down in court because it harmed customers.

Much to the same here, ATT or any cell carrier not servicing some areas and locking the devices out from service there, it has the same effect as locking out competitors. We have to remember, as long as the cell phone companies use the wireless spectrum, they have to operate for the public's need or benefit. It's a condition of their license. They can do it at a profit but when they fail to provide to enough of the public, then the same concept applies that drove the carter phone ruling.

only 1/2 the story (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28398025)

Innovation is only 1/2 the rule "tho shalt not adversely restrict consumer choice" is the other 1/2. The carterphone decision can illustrate both.

Re:Well, my 2 cents (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398315)

It really isn't that difficult to understand: the customer should have any and all options. No decision made by a manufacturer or by a vendor should lock the customer down, in any way, shape, or form. It's my $100 bucks, or $500 bucks - I should get the phone of my choice, I should get to pick my carrier, and I should be able to pick the plan that fits MY needs, as opposed to the plan that the vendor is trying to push. It's the concept of "free market" that everyone gives lip service to, but instead of implementing a free market, every phone company wants to lock people in, or out, of their piece of the market.

If I want an iPhone of verizon, it's my decision. If I want it on AT&T, that's my decision. If I want to pull out the cell phone I bought 6 years ago, and have it connected to either of the two, neither one should lock me out.

All of the plans available today are abusive, in one way or another. And, that includes those damned two year contracts. If I want service NOW, knowing that I won't need it six months from now, that is MY decision, not theirs.

all plans are too pricey, $20 max should be it. (2, Interesting)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398565)

If $10 data plan gives you 1gig, that is equal to more than 8hrs of voice talk per day for 1 month. Which is pretty much to unlimited voice (not including connection costs to LL).

So having that as a fact, no voice plan should ever charge more than $20 per month for unlimited voice, anything higher is pure ripoffs.

Can I get a $10 data plan for a mobile with VOIP?

And surely having one plan for everyone would save marketing and confusing options, no more crap, just one plan, $20 = infinite voice, 1c text, 1gig data on top. Who wouldnt be happy with that besides a cheapass wanting $5 plans.

Re:Well, my 2 cents (1)

wgoodman (1109297) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398617)

there's actually a legal reason you can't use your old phone on their networks.. all newer phones have to be trackable by the police incase you call 911 and don't know where you are. Otherwise i'm sure they'd be happy to let you do it. that way you're paying the higher monthly cost that's there to subsidize newer phones, but you're not using a new phone. that's win-win for them.

Re:Well, my 2 cents (0)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398703)

The "trackable by police" is an arbitrary and artificial bogus requirement - but for the sake of argument, let's accept your argument as a legality. First, my 6 year old phone had GPS built in. Now, I challenge you to change carriers, and take your phone with you. Sure, you can *now* take your phone number, as a result of recent changes. But, take your actual handheld telephone with you to the new network. Oh, you can't? Why not? Oh no, no, no, you don't get away with any silly "technical reasons" explanation. The real fact is, the carrier wants to sell you yet another 30 dollar telephone for 180 bucks, or more, AND, lock you into another 2 year contract.

So, I'm back to my original argument: All options decisions are properly made by the customer, not by executives and boards of directors trying to maximize their profits with exclusive agreements between carriers and hardware providers. You, the customer, are being milked by a parasitic company, which borders on monopolistic.

Re:Well, my 2 cents (2, Informative)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398807)

Since when can't you take your phone with you? I took a phone from T-Mobile to AT&T, then took my AT&T phone several years down the line and gave it to a friend for use on T-Mobile.

All you have to do is call your carrier after your contract is up and ask for the subsidy unlock code, or get it unlocked by someone who's figured out how to do it.

Re:Well, my 2 cents (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398875)

Just about 4 years ago, maybe 5, I took that GPS cell phone into an AT&T office in Texarkana, Texas. Told them I wanted service, they offered me a phone. I showed them my phone, and I was told that I couldn't use my phone - I would have to buy a new one to use on their network. Perhaps I should have researched more, then. Could be, the salesman lied to me, could be he was telling the truth as he understood it, or it could be that he told me company policy.

Either way, I told him that I wasn't going to purchase another telephone, left the store, and haven't bought another cellphone since. That $180 piece of Motorola hardware still sits on a closet shelf.

Maybe I should pull it out, and try again?

2 cents? you owe me change (3, Interesting)

Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398989)

The deal with old phones is that there was a FCC mandated sunset of non-e911 capable phones.
You could maintain already activated phones, but couldn't activate - or reactivate those phones after that date.

You're dredging up old news - there are very few people with 6 year old non-e911 phones.

And yes - there are still valid technical reason for not being able to transfer hardware.
You can't use an ATT or T-mobile gsm phone on a Verizon cdma network.

Or an ATT tdma phone on an ATT gsm network.

Cellular carriers are less monopolistic than ever before.

There are fewer players now, but with their expanded networks, they are now most all in direct competition with each other, rather than the almost feudal state that existed in the days of patchwork coverage areas.

If two cells can hear your phone... (2, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399257)

all newer phones have to be trackable by the police incase you call 911 and don't know where you are.

If three cells can hear your phone (and they have the necessary equipment to agree on timing and cooperatively measure it) they can locate you within feet. Better than remotely-interrogatable GPS in the phone.

If two cells can hear your phone (and ditto) and understand the delay of the phone model's response to a ping, they can do the same but put you in one of two spots - where you are and the mirror-image point with the line between the cells as a mirror. (Actually on a vertical circle which intersects the ground at those two points - so you could look a tad farther away than you are if you are hang-gliding or on a skyscraper roof.) If they don't have a good measure of ping time they can still spot you on a hyperbola.

Re:Well, my 2 cents (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28398627)

If you want an iPhone on Verizon, that's certainly within your legal rights. All you have to do is solder CDMA baseband hardware in place of the current baseband hardware, jailbreak the phone, binary patch the low-level code that interacts with the baseband hardware to work correctly with the CDMA baseband hardware, then convince Verizon to allow the device on their network. Surprisingly, that last part is not the most difficult part.... :-D

If you want an iPhone on a more realistic network like T-Mobile, that's also within your legal rights. Purchase a phone from a country where they are sold unlocked, e.g. much of Europe. Of course, if you want to get 3G on T-Mobile USA, you'll have to solder new baseband hardware in place of the current baseband hardware, jailbreak....

You get the idea. Okay, so the iPhone 3G chipset is, AFAICT, technically capable of the bands T-Mobile USA uses, but it's unclear whether the OS will allow you to enable the 1700 MHz band. If so, then you might just need to create a custom carrier settings file. Either way, nobody has gotten both bands to work so far.

Re:Well, my 2 cents (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399389)

Or Apple could just build a damned iPhone that works with CDMA. The market's out there. Even up here in neoconia, Bell Canada is a CDMA network and they get CDMA versions of most of the same phones as their GSM competitors.

Personally, I wish they'd unify both networks and begone with this proprietary nonsense. This is 2009, fuck proprietary. People are starting to know better and it's just a matter of time before this BS gets called out for what it's worth.

Carterphone led to purchased phones and ... (4, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399207)

The carterfone and that whole line of reasoning has nothing to do with the iphone on competitor networks.

Carterphone is directly applicable.

The carterphone decision is specifically about letting people buy phone equipment of their own choice and requiring the phone companies to let them attach it to the network, rather than renting the limited choice of company-provided equipment.

It led to the "foreign attachments tariffs" and in two steps to the type-approval process, where any equipment that would meet the standards for interoperability could be certified by a lab hired by the manufacturer, then bought and connected by a customer.

(It also led to long-distance service competition, antitrust litigation, and the breakup of the AT&T monopoly: MCI was formed, strung microwave links between cities, hooked 'em up to local phone lines, and let people bypass the AT&T long-distance service by dialing a local number then a customer ID and a long-distance number. AT&T sued, MCI counter-sued on antitrust and won, Southern Pacific Railroad strung fiber beside the tracks for their train signals and formed Sprint to sell the extra bandwidth on their network, ...)

Carterphone was about breaking an anticompetitive tie-in between a network provider and its captive equipment supplier - with wireline rather than wireless equipment. Yes, in this case the bite is on the other carriers more than on the customers of the offending carrier (though the tiny General Telephone company, with its smal islands of local-phone customers, couldn't get Western Electric phones back then - a similar situation). So though the precedent won't transfer directly, IMHO the comparison is still apt.

Ok, so you could also get it on T-Mobile (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#28397839)

Not really much of an improvement.

Re:Ok, so you could also get it on T-Mobile (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398021)

Not really much of an improvement.

I gotta disagree - I'd love to see the iPhone available on T-Mobile, since they're my current provider. I have no interest in switching to AT&T at all.

Given Verizon's consistent disabling of phone features in order to force use of their for-fee services (which is why I left them), it's hard to see Apple ever allowing the iPhone to be offered by Verizon.

Re:Ok, so you could also get it on T-Mobile (0, Flamebait)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398835)

Why would you want an iPhone on T-Mobile when you can already get an Android handset?

Re:Ok, so you could also get it on T-Mobile (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399341)

Why would you want an iPhone on T-Mobile when you can already get an Android handset?

Why not? Most consumers make only barely rational choices based on a myriad of impulses they are hardly aware of. This person wants an iPhone and wants to use it on T-Mobile. You probably want a different combination. What makes your choice any more or less rational than this persons?

It's Not Your Prerogative (5, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28397873)

In response, Roth argued that exclusive deals enable innovation because the operator and manufacturer share the risk. He suggested that operators will ask manufacturers for certain features on phones but manufacturers will often only do so if the operator agrees to buy a certain number of phones, he said.

Corporate trusts are not supposed to decide what features go into products. That is one of the reasons that anti-trust regulation exists. Picking features and rewarding risk takers is the exclusive domain of the silent hand of the market. If you want to share the risk and get some exposure, then buy corporate bonds or non-voting shares from the handset manufacturer that pleases you. It is not a cartel or lateral monopoly's prerogative to manipulate decisions about product features.

The reason it is not the prerogative of trusts, cartels, or monopolies is because they are worse at it than the free market. Demonstrably so:

Did you notice, for example, that it took a computer company -- that had never had anything to do with cellular -- entering the market to finally get a smartphone that didn't suck into the US market?

Did you notice that the second acceptable smartphone came from a search engine company that had also never done cellular before?

Did you notice that that second smartphone got relegated to a third tier provider because the big boys were too busy sucking each others dicks to be bothered with an innovative product?

Did you notice that prior to the iPhone, America had just about the crappiest phones in the entire first world? Tiny little Taiwan was about a decade ahead of where we would be today were it not for Apple -- a complete outsider to your supposedly "innovative" little idiocracy.

You guys have been using your cartel to sit on your lazy, incompetent asses. Just like the auto manufacturers, except that Southeast Asian companies have a much harder time getting variances for cell towers than you, you fat, lazy fucks, so they haven't managed to kick your ass all up and down like they did to the auto makers.

I understand that you want to dictate features and restrain trade, but as it turns out, the free market(*) is a more efficient solution. So shove your transparent cartel rationalization up your ass and get out of my face.

Well, that's what the Senators should have said, anyway.

* Not laissez-faire, not anarchy: Adam Smith's free market, including regulation of anti-competitive behavior. Go re-read The Wealth of Nations if you doubt me.

Re:It's Not Your Prerogative (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28398019)

good lord.... I agree with you, but I'm not as emotionally invested as you are in this discussion.

Re:It's Not Your Prerogative (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398059)

Someone mentioned it in the Tuesday posting comments that all they are looking for is campaign contributions. While I do despise the contract agreements that one has to enter into to use a cellphone; -pay-as-you-go plans not withstanding- whatever happened to month-to-month or usage-based billing? FCOL, that's how it was done nearly twenty years ago when I had my first cellphone. It worked then, why not now?

Re:It's Not Your Prerogative (3, Interesting)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398075)

In response, Roth argued that exclusive deals enable innovation because the operator and manufacturer share the risk. He suggested that operators will ask manufacturers for certain features on phones but manufacturers will often only do so if the operator agrees to buy a certain number of phones, he said.

Corporate trusts are not supposed to decide what features go into products. That is one of the reasons that anti-trust regulation exists. Picking features and rewarding risk takers is the exclusive domain of the silent hand of the market. If you want to share the risk and get some exposure, then buy corporate bonds or non-voting shares from the handset manufacturer that pleases you. It is not a cartel or lateral monopoly's prerogative to manipulate decisions about product features.

The reason it is not the prerogative of trusts, cartels, or monopolies is because they are worse at it than the free market. Demonstrably so:

Did you notice, for example, that it took a computer company -- that had never had anything to do with cellular -- entering the market to finally get a smartphone that didn't suck into the US market?

Did you notice that the second acceptable smartphone came from a search engine company that had also never done cellular before?

Did you notice that that second smartphone got relegated to a third tier provider because the big boys were too busy sucking each others dicks to be bothered with an innovative product?

Did you notice that prior to the iPhone, America had just about the crappiest phones in the entire first world? Tiny little Taiwan was about a decade ahead of where we would be today were it not for Apple -- a complete outsider to your supposedly "innovative" little idiocracy.

You guys have been using your cartel to sit on your lazy, incompetent asses. Just like the auto manufacturers, except that Southeast Asian companies have a much harder time getting variances for cell towers than you, you fat, lazy fucks, so they haven't managed to kick your ass all up and down like they did to the auto makers.

I understand that you want to dictate features and restrain trade, but as it turns out, the free market(*) is a more efficient solution. So shove your transparent cartel rationalization up your ass and get out of my face.

Well, that's what the Senators should have said, anyway.

* Not laissez-faire, not anarchy: Adam Smith's free market, including regulation of anti-competitive behavior. Go re-read The Wealth of Nations if you doubt me.

+1 awesome.

The US cellular market still blows. It was terrible years ago and it will be forever unless something changes! I switched away from verizon because their selection was shit, and instead now I have AT&T, whose network blows compared to verizon. But I still don't have 3G on my damn phone because I want android and AT&T is too into the iPhone love to agree to do anything with android. I could switch to t-mobile but now my work is paying for AT&T, so I'm stuck with EDGE only on my unlocked G1 even though my *FLIP PHONE* 4 years ago had 3G! I used to stream the daily show!

If the manufacturers weren't so damn entangled with the carriers, they wouldn't be able to keep selling the complete shit they call most phones and there might be some real innovation to get consumer interest! I mean really, look at any cheap phone today and tell me what, if any, features it has over a cheap phone from 4 years ago!? They have pretty much stopped developing things on that end.

As far as smartphones go, i hear rumors that AT&T is finally coming out with an android phone this summer, and it has a *QVGA* screen!? WTF? That is horrible. the iphone and g1 have TWICE as many pixels! Why go backwards!?

That may not be true but either way, the US cellular market is just shit and I would LOVE for something to change!
-Taylor

Re:It's Not Your Prerogative (4, Interesting)

Kesch (943326) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398127)

* Not laissez-faire, not anarchy: Adam Smith's free market, including regulation of anti-competitive behavior. Go re-read The Wealth of Nations if you doubt me

Thanks for pointing this out, I get so annoyed by people who assume that trying to apply free market solutions means endorsing complete anarchy. And then there are others who don't see how regulation can sometimes help make a market more free and increase competition.

Re:It's Not Your Prerogative (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399391)

It's always wise to remember that anarchy and free market don't get along with each other.

Without a neutral referee, i.e., the government supervising the market to make sure nobody cheats, the strongest will overrun the system and become the new "government"

Re:It's Not Your Prerogative (1, Flamebait)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398191)

Except for the nasty gay reference (why...?) that was well-written.

Re:It's Not Your Prerogative (3, Interesting)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398325)

Except for the nasty gay reference (why...?) that was well-written.

Wow - very sorry to put it in a way that could be so easily misunderstood. I am totally in favor of whatever sexual and emotional bonds make a person happy. I meant it in the sense of pleasuring one another to the exclusion of outsiders, not about gender preference. I totally see, though, that my choice of turn of phrase could be easily misinterpreted and so I should avoid it.

Seriously, I'm sorry - I think anything that can give two people a little happiness is a beautiful thing.

Re:It's Not Your Prerogative (2, Insightful)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398359)

Did you notice, for example, that it took a computer company -- that had never had anything to do with cellular -- entering the market to finally get a smartphone that didn't suck into the US market?

While I take your meaning, I wouldn't say that Blackberries "sucked." True, they were boring business tools and not the sexy web-browsing media players that the iPhone and its successors are, but there were a few decent data-capable phones in the US before it.

Re:It's Not Your Prerogative (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399321)

>> to finally get a smartphone that didn't suck into the US market?

> I wouldn't say that Blackberries "sucked."

Nor would I -- I owned one for a few years. But I wouldn't call them smartphones, either. Smartphone implies "pocket computer." The Blackberries (the models that earned them the name "crackberry") are very nice wireless email devices, poor web browsers, and lousy cell phones. The wireless email device part they really nailed, but they're not smartphones any more than an electric typewriter is a computer.

Amusingly, Blackberry is perhaps the most significant case of American corporatists trying to kill a patent. Damned Canucks were horning in on our fiat monopoly games...

Re:It's Not Your Prerogative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28398935)

Wow, just wow, which alternate reality did you post from? You're either incredible ignorant or are downright trolling. Reality check: R&M's Blackberry (yay Canada) was a hugely popular SmartPhone in the US years before Apple ever entered the market in 2007. I wouldn't say it "sucked" compared to other SmartPhones available at the time, nor would I say it was the first descent SmartPhone available in the US. The iPhone has had several innovations, but I think advancements in cellular battery life and miniaturization of technology had way more to do with "non-sucky" smart phones then Apple ever did.

I do agree that Asian and many other countries have more "advanced" cell phones before similar alternatives have been available in the US, but it's not some 10 year gap like you seem to think, maybe 6 months to 2 year at the most. This has more to do with differences in regulations, language barriers, and companies liking to see if products at least sell well in local markets before making huge investments deals to get them shipped worldwide. Do you think the manufactures simply don't want to make money and ignore worldwide sales potential? Would you invest a ton of cash in a cell phone line when you had an option to first see how well it sold in another market? If you were running a cellular provider's and knew their was a Taiwanese (or other) company selling a phone that would dominate all the phones currently available in the local market in terms of capabilities would you simply ignore it and give a local competitor a chance at deal with them first?

And let's get down to the root of the matter, despite you've lengthy post, you missed the biggest point, US cell phone plans (and many cell phones themselves) cost 20~90% of what they do in most other countries for mostly the same level of service. This isn't something new, it's been this way for years. Last time I checked, an entry level US plan runs around ~$35~45 per month, comes with 400+ minutes, and usually includes a combination of free nights, weekends, in-network calling, and incoming calls; try and find something similar in Europe, Japan, or Taiwan.

This is what I'd like to see (5, Insightful)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 5 years ago | (#28397945)

1. Be able to buy your phone from anybody who sells them.
More stores selling more phones has to lead to lower prices

2. Then choose your carrier.
Kill the link between phone brand & model and the company that provides your service. And for God's sake kill those 2-year contract extensions!

Maybe these Senators are on the right path -
there's a first time for everything. :)

Re:This is what I'd like to see (4, Insightful)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398047)

And for God's sake kill those 2-year contract extensions!

You're going to see people crying about the price of unsubsidized phones awful fast.

Re:This is what I'd like to see (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398231)

... I'd be happy for a choice. That's all I want to see. If the "subsidized" phones are cheaper I may choose a 5 year plan.

Re:This is what I'd like to see (4, Insightful)

edalytical (671270) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398271)

That's why they need plans that don't subsidize phones. I'd like to actually pay for service and not pay back the cost of the phone.

Plus it would give people perspective to where there money was actually going. Is that transparency? IDK, but I still want to be able to purchase the hardware and the plan separately.

Currently I have an iPhone that I bought unsubsidized, yet I still pay the same monthly rate that the subsidized buyers pay. That's just plain unfair.

Re:This is what I'd like to see (5, Insightful)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399239)

Subsidized phones aren't the problem; the fact that the cost isn't a separate line-item on your bill is. When you are out of contract, why don't your rates go down? You have paid off the cost of the phone...

If people are too stupid to understand, well, not much you can do for them.

Re:This is what I'd like to see (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28398321)

Allow subsidizing phones, but change how it works.

Right now, the phone subsidy is used as an excuse to lock you in to a lengthy contract. They carriers claim they have to do this to recover the value of the phone. They do, of course, need to recover that subsidy, but the minor truth obscures the bigger lie. There is no reason you need to be locked in to a contract to recover the subsidy.

A simpler less antagonistic way to recover the subsidy would be to tell customer the value of the subsidy, then tell the customer how much of it they're paying off each month by remaining on the service. It would be like prorating the cost of the phone across some number of months, and discounting the service by that much each month. Quit before it's paid off and you owe the balance.

Cellular companies don't do this, of course, because it would be harder to lock people in to restrictive contracts, block real competition, or collect unfair fees for canceling the service. So they claim the contracts are about hardware subsidies, but it's easy to see that's disingenuous.

Next issue: text messaging fees. Messages cost cellular companies $0.00 to deliver (rounded to the nearest cent), but they charge customers $0.20 because exclusive contracts, and possibly collusion, preclude real price competition.

Re:This is what I'd like to see (1)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398821)

If you look at many cell phone contracts, they do in fact decrease the early termination fee (recovering the value of the subsidy) by an incremental amount each month, such that an early termination results in a roughly pro-rata recoupment of the subsidy.

Re:This is what I'd like to see (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398971)

You forgot another reason why they don't like doing that. Once the subsidy is paid off under the current system, you still pay the surcharge in your monthly bill and they profit it.

They may be covering the cost of the phone in the first couple years, but after that, your bill doesn't decrease.

Re:This is what I'd like to see (4, Informative)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398537)

But, you see, this doesn't preclude subsidized phones.

Look, I have no problem with AT&T saying, "Hey, join our network for two years and we'll give you an iPhone for $199!" That's a fine way to get business and I have no problem with it. I don't even have a problem with Apple making this deal exclusive with AT&T.

Where I have the problem is when that's the only way. If I want to spent $700 on an iPhone and use it on T-Mobile, Commnet, Indigo Wireless, Smartcall, or Union Wireless, that's fine, too. If any of the above companies want to support Visual Voicemail, they should be able to get the specs from Apple and implement it as well.

This way, I can sit down and determine what kind of plan I want. Do I want a contract where I'm locked in for x years, but I have less immediate out-of-pocket expenses, a subsidized phone, and more predictable bills? Do I want a pay-as-I-go plan which may mean some really heavy months but some really light months, too? Must I have an iPhone? Is it better to spend $700 for the iPhone and $50/month for my plan, or spend $200 for iPhone and $70/month for my plan. Have I gotta have the latest/greatest phone and I'll want to switch every year? Am I the kind of person who keeps a cellphone for three or four years?

Re:This is what I'd like to see (1)

spearway (169040) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398671)

Actually you can achieve a similar result form the consumer angle without the tie in. Why not separate the lease of the equipment from the service. you could have a 2 year lease and a service agreement with no ties. If you take the iphone you pay $200 up front and probably $25 per month for 2 years out of the $70 a month contract. If you are careful about your equipment it will last way more than 2 years but you never get the discount. We should prohibit "natural monopolies" from extending their monopolies by using their market position oh wait this is already prohibited why are we not prosecuting?

Re:This is what I'd like to see (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398679)

Whats wrong with 1 year contracts? Show me one phone that lasts 2 years also.

I see plenty of sub $100 phones that are not on a plan.

And if they want a $600 phone for $20 a month, gee, just use your CCard, whats the difference.

Phone comapnies only make plans because they want a stable revenue projection plan, else it would be wildly up and down and harder for them to plan capacity.

Re:This is what I'd like to see (2, Informative)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398891)

Show me one phone that lasts 2 years also.

Kyocera QCP-3035
LG VX4400
LG VX7000
Samsung SCH-u740 (Alias)

Surely I'm not the only person who uses a phone for two years or more before replacing it.

Re:This is what I'd like to see (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399005)

Uh, why? We've had four Moore cycles since phones got tiny. They ought to be cheap as dirt to produce (at least "just-a-phones" anyway). Sure, you can pay $500 for your smartphone if you want, but there already are pretty capable phones that cost less than $100, and aren't subsidized. You can get them at wal*mart, and they go under the name "go fone" or "trac phone" or whatever. They have few frills and cost as little as $30.

That's right. Cell phones that cost less than some "cordless" phones. No subsidy. Already available. In fact, when you look at what the modern phones do, the "subsidized price" really ought to be the "actual price."

I mean, seriously, what does that iPhone do that the iPod Touch doesn't that makes it worth four times as much?!

Re:This is what I'd like to see (5, Insightful)

Zarf (5735) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398221)

You know...

  • I can buy *any* TV I want then get cable or dish service from *any* provider I want.

  • I can buy a computer from *any* company and then get Internet from *any* provider I want.

  • I can buy a land-line phone from *any* phone maker and then get phone service from *any* provider I want.

It does make one wonder why the only exception is my cell phone.

Re:This is what I'd like to see (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399091)

1. Be able to buy your phone from anybody who sells them.

I've done that. An unlocked Motorola RAZR.

2. Then choose your carrier.

I can do that (within limits). I can choose AT&T or T-Mobile here in the USA, or throw a prepaid chip in it in Europe.

Why Apple needed to cut any kind of deal with AT&T I never understood. Anything with GPRS voice plus a data plan should work. Just sell the phones at Apple stores and tell the customers to walk around the corner to an AT&T reseller for the chip. Or T-Mobile. Maybe build two prorocol models to support Verizon, etc. as well. If AT&T tries to claim that they must exclude 'unapproved' equipment from ther network, even whan it complies with protocol specifications, then the Justice department can jump down their throats.

One thing that Apple missed was the ability to let third parties run the backends for spacialized data services for iPhones. This is whare Blackberry grabbed the corporate market. For security reasons, many corporations would like to 'lock down' a device to work with their own IT services, only purchasing voice and data services from network providers. The iPhone/AT&T lockin has deprived Apple from this rather lucrative market. Quite a few businesses might like to host their apps on iPhones, but to date are unable to.

Everybody thought the iPhone will fail 3 years ago (1, Insightful)

deanston (1252868) | more than 5 years ago | (#28397975)

Nobody cared until somebody started making bank. Then all of sudden everybody wants a piece of the pie.

Maybe exclusive deals should be like drug patents - must expire after some time. Make it 3 years or so.

Doesn't Anyone Remember? (4, Interesting)

BondGamer (724662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398045)

Apple first went to Verizon but was turned down. AT&T was the only company that would let them do the iPhone, so they got it. Now everyone is crying foul because AT&T is stealing millions of customers. AT&T has every right to keep their deal with Apple. Just wait a few more years and the iPhone will be open for everyone, just as iTuned came to the PC. Apple's best interest is to sell the iPhone everywhere but has an obligation to repay AT&T for making all this possible.

Re:Doesn't Anyone Remember? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28398667)

trolling? gotta be, nobody's that ignorant.

Re:Doesn't Anyone Remember? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28398743)

What the fuck are you smoking? AT&T didn't "make this possible." They agreed to Apples deal which basically says "bend over AT&T." Fucking apple fanboy queer.

Re:Doesn't Anyone Remember? (3, Interesting)

BondGamer (724662) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398837)

AT&T didn't "make this possible." They agreed to Apples deal which basically says "bend over AT&T."

Oh? So if AT&T said no Apple was just going to build their own cell phone network? I don't think so. Apple's terms were they didn't want to be restricted in what they can do with their phone. That scared the hell out of everyone. But AT&T took a chance and it paid off big time. Every other carrier turned Apple down cold. There is nothing "fanboy" about this.

Re:Doesn't Anyone Remember? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399287)

Yeppers.

Apple had to sign an exclusive with AT&T to get the network access. However AT&T also gave 'em a cut of the service revenue. So they're not hurting all THAT much. B-)

And that's why iPhone users are paying as much for service as people with subsidized handsets: They're paying the extra to Apple month after month.

Why not the FTC or the DOJ? (3, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398121)

This has nothing to do with spectrum, and is not the FCC's jurisdiction. The FTC should be investigating this - and in 2006.

(Unrelated - why does my Karma bonus not work any longer? My Karma is Excellent)

ROFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28398189)

Tag: SuddenOutBreakOfCommonSense - awesome!

One out of three ain't bad... (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398197)

AT&T claimed 'consumers benefit from exclusive deals in three ways: innovation, lower cost and more choice,' While guaranteeing monopoly rents to AT&T for anyone that wants an iPhone may actually provide more funding for innovation, economies of scale dictate that more iPhones could be sold if they were allowed on any network, thus lowering unit cost. The contention that less choice = more choice is truly Orwellian. Perhaps AT&T should use as their new slogan, "War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength."

It's called Capitalism - suck on it. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28398207)

Boo hoo, I'm a small wireless provider and I couldn't afford to outbid AT&T... Now I can't make money off of ONE specific phone out of the MANY MANY phones already available to me.

Waaah, I'm a typical American consumer and I feel (notice I didn't say think - because they don't) that it is MY RIGHT to have an iPhone... Since I am on a different network, I can't buy one... it isn't FAIR....

Cry me a river.

Re:It's called Capitalism - suck on it. (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398369)

Actually, that's not capitalism, it's a distortion of capitalism. Capitalism requires free and open markets. Cell carrier siloes are monopolism, not capitalism.

But, just for fun, I'm going to momentarily except your version of capitalism as true, so that I can use the word "ironic."

hen I lived in Viet Nam, an ostensibly communist country, I could buy any cell phone and use it on any carrier's network. They were all unlocked. As far as I can tell, there's no such thing as a carrier-locked cell phone in Viet Nam. Of course, people pay full market price for their cell phones, something which is also capitalist.

The irony is, of course, that the cell phone market in ostensibly communist Viet Nam is far more capitalistic than the cell phone market in the ostensibly capitalist United States, where most phones are simply not available unlocked. If you want an unlocked phone here, DIY is almost the only way to get one.

Re:It's called Capitalism - suck on it. (1)

vakuona (788200) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398413)

I think you are confusing free markets with capitalism. Capitalism is about resource ownership, and the rights relating to those resources.

Free markets are a different beast. You can have capitalism without free markets, e.g., most utilities, where the prices are pretty much set by government regulators and/or access to the market is severely restricted. Heck you could even have free market communism although I am not sure it has been tried.

The cellphone market in the USA is very capitalistic. It's the free market bit that the Senators seem to want to tackle.

Big deal (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398257)

Nothing will become of it. Sure there will be some smoke blown to make it look good. But to many positions in the FCC are owned by corporations. That is apparent with the way they have treated telecommunications over the past 20 years. Face it, like Obama, the FCC is just another one of our government agencies that is a whore to corporations.

Re:Big deal (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398339)

You are correct. It's not just AT&T+iPhone, it's also Verizon+Storm and Sprint+Pre. No way is the FCC going to stand up to all three.

Re:Big deal (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398973)

What will you do if you're wrong?

Re:Big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28399145)

Rejoice, of course. But those commissioners need jobs after they leave the FCC, and congressmen need their big donors.

Cheaper my ass. (3, Insightful)

DynamiteNeon (623949) | more than 5 years ago | (#28398411)

I save at least $50 on T-mobile using an iPhone and unlocking it (my wife has one also, so it's a shared plan). ATT has taken advantage of the iPhone to tack on the $30 data plan per phone, which is quite a bit more expensive than most other plans with similar service.

I haven't fully decided if the iPhone penetration has reached a point where the government should be regulating them, but for ATT to argue that their deal really helps make things cheaper is bullshit.

Re:Cheaper my ass. (1)

blahbooboo (839709) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399259)

I save at least $50 on T-mobile using an iPhone and unlocking it (my wife has one also, so it's a shared plan). ATT has taken advantage of the iPhone to tack on the $30 data plan per phone, which is quite a bit more expensive than most other plans with similar service.

I haven't fully decided if the iPhone penetration has reached a point where the government should be regulating them, but for ATT to argue that their deal really helps make things cheaper is bullshit.

Actually it's not. I assume you're comparing iphone on an EDGE network plan to a 3G speed network, so of course T-mobile is cheaper. I just finished pricing out comparable 3G speed plans and was shocked that Verizon was basically the same cost as AT&T for 3g. T-Mobile was about $10/month less than Verizon and AT&T for 3g, but heck T-mobile network is even worse than At&T :).

Precedent (2, Interesting)

eldridgea (1249582) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399191)

Originally Ma Bell got sued because you could only connect Bell telephones to your landline - nothing else would work. It was decided this was anti competitive. Now all of a sudden carriers *can* decide what devices we use? I think there's precedent for this. Verizon may not manufacture my phone, but there is a Verizon logo on the back of *every* phone I can choose. That seems like an unnecessary amount of control.

While you're at it... (1)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 5 years ago | (#28399273)

Do something about Verizon saying "you may not use a smart phone without paying $30/month above and beyond your voice plan for data even if you don't want to use our data network". The phones have WiFi - that's what I want. Period. I don't want data. I want a smart phone and I don't want to sure the web using your network. That should be my right to choose.
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