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Verizon Offers Compromise In Exclusivity Debate

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the if-you-can-call-it-that dept.

Communications 106

For about a month now, Congress and the FCC have been investigating the exclusivity deals between mobile carriers and phone makers which require that certain handsets only operate on certain networks (for example, the iPhone on AT&T). Now, Verizon has volunteered a compromise to Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), chairman of the House Energy Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, which would allow smaller carriers access to the restricted phones after a six-month delay, while continuing to block the major carriers. "From now on, when Verizon strikes a deal with a manufacturer for exclusive access to a handset, it will allow the phone be sold after six months to any carrier with fewer than 500,000 customers." In a letter to Boucher, Verizon said, "Exclusivity arrangements promote competition and innovation in device development and design. We work closely with our vendors to develop new and exciting devices that will attract customers. When we procure exclusive handsets from our vendors we typically buy hundreds of thousands or even millions of each device. Otherwise manufacturers may be reluctant to make the investments of time, money and production capacity to support a particular device." Many remain unimpressed by Verizon's generosity.

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Ah yes, the old chicken scratch compromise (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28740605)

Because obviously this is going to be tons better for consumers. Think they'll keep to this if they get the next iPhone contract deal as has been rumored?

Re:Ah yes, the old chicken scratch compromise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28740785)

I suspect they lost a lot of customers to AT&T because of the iPhone exclusivity that Verizon says is good for consumers.

In looking at the logic of this, I'm guessing they want to force the iPhone out to small carriers, of which they are probably in the process of purchasing, with the idea that they can then have customers buy phones from those companies, and transfer them to the main Verizon network.

I must say, I do enjoy how they can say that closing off competition is good for competition. Perhaps Amazon's removing the Animal Farm from Kindles helped to create this language.

Re:Ah yes, the old chicken scratch compromise (1)

leadfoot (159248) | about 5 years ago | (#28744839)

What was the last Verizon exclusive phone?

As far as Palm goes, I've had to wait for Sprint exclusivity deals to end in order to get the Centro. Now I'm waiting for the Pre exclusivity on Sprint to end in order to get one from Verizon.


Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28740703)

(After one of the film reels gets damaged and Tucker can't get a replacement reel in time, he tells a sold out San Diego crowd the following)

"Okay, check this shit out. The average film is spooled on like six separate film reels and shit. About twenty minutes each, give or take; I'm not a fucking projectionist. Well last night after leaving Arizona, which is a cool place but hot as shit, and those fucker don't party like you fuckers in SD!"


"Anyways, last night the fifth reel of the film got destroyed. But here's the funny part. I FUCKING DESTROYED IT. Well, not me, but a motherfucking Tiger."


"Serious, this is true story. Last night we got to SD early, like 2:30am. The whole way here Nils, Dawes, Tando and I were doing shots of moonshine. Like 40 or 50 shots each. We're full-on buzzed and looking for some fun. Then I remember there's a Naval base down here in SD. Holy shit, I said 'I should call up a few Navy SEAL friends I know.' BAD. IDEA."


"By 3:00am my SEAL buddies BroHawk, Mondo and Terror meet us in a parking lot. They didn't come empty handed. They brought a Howitzer machine gun. If you're not familiar with the power of a Howitzer let me explain. Ten seconds of rapid fire from a fucking Howitzer can turn an entire Iraqi Wedding party into two thousand pounds of ground beef and shit."


"Calm the fuck down, they're Iraqis NOT humans"


"Fuck, I haven't even told you motherfuckers the best part of the story. Shit. so we spent the next hour drinking beers and shooting out every motherfucking street lamp in a two mile radius. The cops were called and we took off in the tour bus. Since I was fairly drunk I knew the best thing for me to do was, well, drive the mother fucking bus!"


"Problem is, I couldn't figure out how to work the fucking air conditioner. So now it's like 100 degrees in the tour bus and I'm doing like 80-90 mph. To where? Who the fuck knows? Anyways, since everyone is sweating and shit, people started taking off their shirts and shit. I look in the mirror and I catch my Navy SEAL buddy Terror's reflection. He is shirtless, sweating and cut like a motherfucker. Full on six pack, nice round pecks, shoulders to die for."


"At this point I'm no longer looking at the road. I'm looking at Terror's fucking chest and thinking about running back there and sucking and licking his nipples. Damn, dude has a better body than me motherfucker."


"Shit. I don't have notes. Where the fuck was I again?"


"Gay? Motherfucker, I've pleased more pussy than Purina Cat Chow!"


"So I'm driving the fucking bus down the road when I see a sign. A sign from God. It reads: SAN DIEGO ZOO. 'Guess where we're going motherfuckers' I yelled to the boys. So a few minutes later we're in the zoo parking lot. Obviously it's closed. Closed to the public that is, but not Tucker Fucking Max!"


"So I pull the fucking bus into the zoo's parking lot. The bus has all these fucking gears and I'm just beating the shit out of the engine. Since we were Tucker Max drunk at that point I decided to park the bus across 15 handicap spots. Who the fuck brings retards to a zoo anyway? (mocks retard voice) 'I wannaz dee munkeee!!!!"


"Fuck. Note to self. San Diego is full of sick motherfuckers!"


"Hold on, you're going make me lose my place. Ok, right, so we're fucking in the parking lot of the San Diego zoo at 3am. We get off the bus to stretch our legs and I look over at Nils. He is in shock and pointing at something. Was he looking at a copy of USA today announcing Pizza Hut Chapter 11? Who the fuck knows. So I turn around to see what the fuck and there underneath the bus are a set of legs. Holy shit, I fucking ran over somebody. Not HIT someone. Not drove NEAR someone. But actually fucking DROVE OVER THEM WITH A 8000 POUND TOUR BUS!"


"I went over and started kicking the legs and shit. Nothing. Finally Terror and Mondo went over and dragged the body our from under the bus by its feet. Holy shit. It's like a fifteen year old kid. I almost felt bad. He was toast."


"Hold your awwwws you fucking pussies. The kid was Mexican!"


"Terror looked down at the body and says; swear to God, he says 'Looks like someone was trying to steal your axle, Max!' I fell to the ground laughing, tears rolling down my face. After a few minutes we tried to collect our thoughts. Being Green Berets and shit Terror, BroHawk and Mondo did the only natural thing they are trained to do in these situations. They took camera-phone pictures of themselves resting their nutsacks across the dead kid's forehead. It was a fucking Kodak moment."


"You should see the photos. Fuck. I'll try to get them on the blog tomorrow or some shit. Terror has perfect fucking nuts, man, shit. Like two hardboiled eggs wrapped in fucking panty hose."


"What? I'm a stickler for detail and shit."


"So now here we are. Drunk and at the zoo. I want to go fuck with some animals but we have a fucking wetback body we need to deal with. I forced Tando and Ryan Holiday to bring it inside the tour bus. Terror and Mondo propped the fucking body in a chair and rigged its jaw with string and tape so that as they watched ESPN playbacks on TIVO they could make the dead Tonk mouth the words. Like I said, I'm not even the coolest one of my friendses."


"Excuse me; are you a fucking dude or a chick?"


"I decided I had enough ESPN and set out for the zoo. As I made my way to the zoo gates I was approached by a security guard. Only it wasn't a security guard, it was a hot chick. She was in her forties with a nice round ass and big tits. She had tears in her eyes. 'Are you like fucking okay and shit?' I said to her. She said 'no.' From her accent and skin color I could tell she was Mexican. I had two obvious choices. Do I fuck her in the pussy of the ass?"


"Calm down you SD motherfuckers. Last chick I fucked in the ass was Bob Gosse. ..ahh---oooohhh.."

(Tucker does an Andrew Dice Clay rim shot "ah-ooohhh" but it's so high-pitched that is sounds more like an eleven year old girl's reaction to seeing a spider)

"Then she said the magic words. 'Can you help me find my son?' "


Hmm (4, Insightful)

dakohli (1442929) | about 5 years ago | (#28740747)

How many carriers are under 500,000 in the states?

I'm thinking they thought long and hard on that number, and made sure they came up with a promise that will not affect their overal sales.

Re:Hmm (4, Insightful)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about 5 years ago | (#28740841)

How many carriers are under 500,000 in the states?

None that own their own networks, which I suspect is the the other half of the point. Letting their vassals have their "exclusive" phones doesn't really change anything for Verizon.

Re:Hmm (1)

cyberjock1980 (1131059) | about 5 years ago | (#28744309)

Me personally, I don't know if I'd want to do business with a carrier with that small of a user base. They could fold suddenly, my "out of area" charges could be rather high, there's no advantage I see to small business in the cell phone industry.

Now, assuming that people start signing up with some small carrier, I'm thinking Verizon chose that number because Verizon knows they'd buy them out if things started to swing the wrong way. Suddenly you're a Verizon customer again, like it or not.

So how was this a compromise? There's NOTHING in that "compromise" that seems to be beneficial to the consumer, let alone even the turf in the cell phone wars.

Re:Hmm (1)

perlchild (582235) | about 5 years ago | (#28745161)

I was thinking "well what happens if your indep carrier gets bought my a major" but it seems I was thinking too hard.

Can regulators get the really simple idea that "if the customer is restricted in changing, it's exclusive, and bad", or do we have to write it on their dead bodies first?

Re:Hmm (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28740889)

As a consumer, which do you like more:
      1. AT&T pays 80% of the cost of your iPhone, so the phone only costs you $99 (but you have to use AT&T in order to get that amazing deal)

      2. You pay the full $600 price for your iPhone and you can choose between the only 2 carriers (in the US) and 1 of them will be AT&T anyway.

Re:Hmm (0)

sadler121 (735320) | about 5 years ago | (#28741919)

Actually, only 1 carrier. AT&T and TMobile have different spectrum allocations for UTMS, so you wouldn't be able to take the iPhone over to TMobile anyhow...

Re:Hmm (2, Informative)

SteveTheNewbie (1171139) | about 5 years ago | (#28744995)

Interesting, I guess that means the iPhone 3G I've had that's been running on T-Mobile for the past year has been a clever illusion then.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28746249)

Sure, it's 'running' on T-Mobile but not the way it's supposed to. Where's your fucking 3G? Oh, right, T-Mobile uses a different frequency for 3G.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28746277)

You can use it on EDGE, but you can't get T-Mobile 3g.

Re:Hmm (2, Informative)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | about 5 years ago | (#28743727)

I'll pay the full price and pay significantly lower monthly fees without a stupid 2 year contract. This means I won't be forced to pay for 2 years of data that I'll rarely use (instead I prefer to use Wi-Fi wherever available).

Re:Hmm (1)

William Ager (1157031) | about 5 years ago | (#28741021)

Probably not very many, but how many "carriers" will pop up that have terrible or no service, no contracts, no phone subsidies, and either no locking or a "call us to unlock" policy?

I expect it wouldn't be hard to make a "carrier" that would essentially be a store for unlocked phones that would otherwise be far more expensive.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28744259)

What small carriers? Hasn't Verizon gobbled them all up yet?

Hmm. (5, Interesting) (1563557) | about 5 years ago | (#28740753)

Exclusivity arrangements promote competition and innovation in device development and design.

Citation needed.

I would argue that it is either an antitrust [] issue, or dances on the fine line. To make a car analogy, wouldn't it be illegal if Ford and BP paired up to make Ford's only run on BP gasoline/diesel? Of course IANAL.

Actually, just this... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28740789)

We work closely with our vendors to develop new and exciting devices that will attract customers.

They do? Did Verizon actually help design these phones (and not just the looks but the guts of the device) or did they just invest money? Because that would make them investors IMO. Investors should not get exclusivity.

If they invested enough money that they effectively own the Sony or Apple phone division, then they're allowed exclusivity. But that would make them the owners of the phone company as well as being the carrier, and that might make them a monopoly.

Re:Actually, just this... (2, Insightful)

maharb (1534501) | about 5 years ago | (#28741453)

If they invested money on the assumption that the return on investment was an exclusive phone then I think they do deserve to get that exclusive phone that their own money paid for. Contracts (for investment) can be written with any language they want. This means Verizon, as an investor, does not have to buy shares of stock or ownership in the company. They can invest in a specific product expecting that that specific product is for them. Its not like companies like samsung for example don't sell any phones to other carriers, just not the exclusive ones.

I don't know the details of the financial statements and everything to say if Verizon is paying their share of the dev costs, but regardless I think that this does promote more competition. First, it allows carries to compete with one another for better phones. All the carriers are scrambling to pay for a better phone. This creates a pull on the manufacturers to create better more advanced phones rather than just telling carriers that they have to use their shitty phone because they don't want to develop one. So the current situation creates competition to create better and more advanced phone from both the phone companies and the manufacturers.

The proposed plan will only generate competition in the manufacturing sector... probably driving them out of business as they will compete on price and the phone companies will likely start/buy their own manufacturing businesses.

If these regulations go though Verizon will stop buying phone from phone manufacturers or pouring money into the companies and will just buy one and make their own exclusive phones.

Small companies don't always help the consumer. Things like cell phones and large cell networks both have great economies of scale. Don't underestimate the power a free market can have for the consumer. When the iPhone came out massive amount of research went into new phones. None of them can really compete yet, but without the iPhone (being exclusive) we would have never had this huge jump in competition, lowering of prices etc.

Re:Actually, just this... (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | about 5 years ago | (#28743757)

So according to you competition in a free market drives competitors out of that market, leading to a stifling of innovation. That goes against the very essence of free market logic. In fact that is such a hare-brained assumption I don't even know where to begin picking it apart. Phone manufacturers right now don't have to compete with each other. Exclusive contracts help guarantee their bottom line without them having to worry about putting out high-quality products. That's why phones in America are a generation behind the rest of the world. It's also why low-end phones have experienced little to no advancement in features. They're essentially the same now as they were 5 or 6 years ago. All these "benefits" to the consumer come at the price of inflated monthly bills in which we have to pay the cost of the phone *and then some* to the carrier, with no choice of who provides our voice and data and for how long we want to pay for them.

Re:Actually, just this... (2, Funny)

JorDan Clock (664877) | about 5 years ago | (#28742681)

They help develop phones. They work very close with manufacturers to remove any features they deem useful or that may use more then 8 bits per second of bandwidth. It's a very labor intensive process and I think it earns them the right to keep their crappy, er, customized phones exclusive to their network.

Re:Actually, just this... (2, Informative)

Miseph (979059) | about 5 years ago | (#28744513)

Yep, they work very closely to ensure that all phones they vend have any cool features stripped out in order to promote even tangentially related paid services through Verizon. The phone can print via Bluetooth? Remove that so we can better sell data plans for upload to your home PC via the internet. The phone has a user facing camera to allow for videoconferencing? Yeah, that might hurt our services, so you'd better nix that too. Built in WiFi? We can't charge $1.99/mB for WiFi, are you crazy?

Re:Hmm. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28740849)

Citation needed.

Ooo Ooo look at me, I'm a Wikitard! I make requests that take two seconds to make and much time to fulfill because I'm too lazy to do my own research, which is appropriate for an encyclopedia but I want to make everything work that way! That's because I make requests in one culture (Slashdot) that are only appropriate to make in another, different culture (Wikipedia). That's because as a Wikitard, I am uber-cool and standard things like "knowing where the fuck you are" do not apply to one as cool as me.

Seriously, stop use trendy little phrases and mannerisms as though they have always been your own. It's fake, it's cookie-cutter. Your recent discovery of the phrase "citation needed" is NOT some kind of expressive act of individualism. If you question that party line you quoted, and any reasonable person does, just question it. You can do that without being a Wikitard.

Re:Hmm. (4, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | about 5 years ago | (#28741027)

Consider the iPhone. Apple went to Verizon and said "Hey, we have this phone. But we need you to add support for visual voicemail. Also, you're going to act as a dumb pipe only (did we mention the reasonably priced unlimited data plan?). We'll handle the ringtones, music, wallpaper and anything else like that. One more thing: you'll give us a cut of the monthly revenue."

That was too much innovation for Verizon, so AT&T got the exclusive deal.

Re:Hmm. (1)

Emetophobe (878584) | about 5 years ago | (#28741583)

Exclusivity arrangements promote competition and innovation in device development and design.

This sentence really pisses me off. The only competition going on is the big carriers fighting for exclusive handset contracts, they sure as hell aren't competing with each other on price and/or service quality. Also the handset makers are the ones doing all the work, how exactly is Verizon innovating?

We work closely with our vendors to develop new and exciting devices that will attract customers. When we procure exclusive handsets from our vendors we typically buy hundreds of thousands or even millions of each device. Otherwise manufacturers may be reluctant to make the investments of time, money and production capacity to support a particular device.

So basically if it wasn't for Verizon, handset manufacturers wouldn't bother to put in the time and effort to make handsets at all? Thank god Verizon is here to save those poor companies (Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, RIM, etc..)

Re:Hmm. (1)

SlashWombat (1227578) | about 5 years ago | (#28746501)

I agree ... the handset makers are the ones innovating. Most phones are designed for the WORLD market ... the few 100 million phones that end up in the US market are the tip of the iceberg, the world market is MUCH larger than the US market! (the European market is over one billion ... the Indian market is over 1 Billion ... the US market is ...

Re:Hmm. (4, Insightful)

aldousd666 (640240) | about 5 years ago | (#28741791)

just exactly what is the problem here? Consumers didn't invent the technology, but if consumers don't buy it it's bad for those who did. There is no 'inherent interest of the consumers here.' They didn't have a right to 'buy and use this cell phone' before it was invented, so now, all of the sudden when some smart guy invents it, they suddenly gain the right to have it how they like it regardless of what the guys who invented and brought it to market want to do with it? Consumers are essential to making successful businesses, but business can screw themselves over if they like by making whatever contracts they want. Anti-trust is not defined. What is "anti-competative?" You'll know it when you see it? So.. you don't know if you've committed a crime until after you have, and the jury hands down an indictment? Hmm... I'm pretty sure that you can't have anti-trust over a particular MODEL of phone, when everyone and their uncle has some kind of smart phone somewhere. Consumers put fuel into the engines of the companies that make things by buying them, so it's wise for companies to consider the interests of those buying their stuff. But there is no law (nor should there be) against being stupid and making stupid business decisions (locking out a portion of the market you might have had based on exclusivity deals.) Look at the iPhone... they asked verizon first if they wanted to invest... and they said no. AT&T paid money to enable the very thing to come to market at all. Without that, apple's brilliant design would be sitting on a hard drive somewhere.

Understandable (2, Interesting)

sanosuke001 (640243) | about 5 years ago | (#28740773)

I would love to see the major carriers have to compete with their services alone, but Verizon does make a valid point.

However, they also talk out of their asses. "Exclusivity arrangements promote competition and innovation in device development and design" but they fail to realize that we want a choice for where to go with whatever phone we want. Handset manufacturers would make new handsets regardless; I don't think the major carriers have as much influence as they think they do. Unfortunately, its tough to force them to do anything because people are tethered to their cell phones; a boycott would be impossible since nobody cares enough to do so. They care enough to complain but when push comes to shove, nothing.

Re:Understandable (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 5 years ago | (#28740809)

I'm not sure I see where their valid point is.

Re:Understandable (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28740969)

"but Verizon does make a valid point."

No they don't. They along with other mobile providers in the US are among the very few carriers of any sort of consumer service in the world that enjoy this sort of exclusivity.

This shit wouldn't fly if you could only use Samsung TVs on Comcast. Nor would it fly if Earthlink required you to use a Dell computer to access their dialup service.

Re:Understandable (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | about 5 years ago | (#28741017)

Mod up. If I had points, I'd use em.

These to my mind are excellent analogies. Vendor locking in certain hardware to their network. Don't get me wrong, I have no issues with AT&T other than the ridiculous texting rates but all of the carriers are guilty of that sin. That doesn't mean I don't want or need a choice of going to someone else should I get totally pissed at AT&T.

Re:Understandable WRONG (1)

thpdg (519053) | about 5 years ago | (#28741325)

You can only use your PS2 on PS Home and your XBox 360 on XBox Live. No one publicly complains there either.

And computer makers are exactly doing what you're saying. If you want a DISCOUNTED Acer Netbook, you have to use it on AT&T Data. If you want an HP DISCOUNTED Netbook, you have to use it on Verizon.

Re:Understandable WRONG (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | about 5 years ago | (#28741401)

You can only use your PS2 on PS Home and your XBox 360 on XBox Live. No one publicly complains there either.

The problem with that analogy is that game consoles aren't interchangable. They don't have the same software or the same hardware.

And computer makers are exactly doing what you're saying. If you want a DISCOUNTED Acer Netbook, you have to use it on AT&T Data. If you want an HP DISCOUNTED Netbook, you have to use it on Verizon.

Discounts are promotions. They don't lock you. Plus, you can still use that netbook with other providers after your subscription with your current ISP ends.

Re:Understandable WRONG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28742031)

"You can only use your PS2 on PS Home and your XBox 360 on XBox Live."

You also can't play Risk on a Monopoly board. So fucking what? You're talking entertainment and the rest of us are talking telecom. Try to keep up.

Re:Understandable WRONG WRONG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28743611)

You can only use your PS2 on PS Home and your XBox 360 on XBox Live. No one publicly complains there either.

Of course the PS2 and PS Home are locked together: Sony spent its time and money developing both. Ditto for XBox 360 and XBox Live (except with MS).

Re:Understandable WRONG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28746885)


You mean the deals where you pay little to nothing up front, but get tied to a long contract with the carrier making up far more than the cost of the netbook over the course of the contract? That's not a discount, but a loan by another name.

Re:Understandable (1)

True Vox (841523) | about 5 years ago | (#28741697)

AOL used to require Windows to use their dialup. Maybe they still do, I donno. Not QUITE the same, but close.

Re:Understandable (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28742503)

AOL has been available to Mac users for 20 years

Re:Understandable (1)

True Vox (841523) | about 5 years ago | (#28742951)

Sorry, my mistake. I was actually thinking Linux, it just didn't occur to me to mention it. Though I didn't know it worked on a Mac either, so thanks for the heads up! :)

Re:Understandable (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | about 5 years ago | (#28742567)

This shit wouldn't fly if you could only use Samsung TVs on Comcast. Nor would it fly if Earthlink required you to use a Dell computer to access their dialup service.

Gather around, Grasshoppers. For I present to you the tale of the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game system to go to market.

Although there was no true exclusivity involved anywhere, there was an appearance of exclusivity, as customers were under the impression that it would only work on Magnavox television sets due to the system being sold only at Magnavox stores. This hurt the Odyssey's sales tremendously.

Re:Understandable (0, Troll)

Cernst77 (816740) | about 5 years ago | (#28742697)

Showing age here, but that thing was *way* more fun than the Atari 2600. Remember the Atari's lame Pac Man cartridge? To think they had to sue the makers of KC Munchkin [] to put that crap on the market.

I spent literally thousands of hours in front of KC Munchkin. It was programmable, you could make your own mazes!

Re:Understandable (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | about 5 years ago | (#28742819)

Odd... My link didn't take. I was actually referring to the original Odyssey [] from 1972.

Re:Understandable (0, Troll)

Cernst77 (816740) | about 5 years ago | (#28742875)

Oh yeah, forgot about that. But then again the Odyssey II had the same Magnavox lock in. I remember my dad had to go to that store, and only that store for it and its games.

continued crappy service & coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28740791)

All this does is allow infighting for handsets but doesn't solve the problem of crappy service over the US. If the war torn middle east and mount everest can get cell coverage why can't we get decent coverage in maine. Mount everest has people on it 1 month a year, there are over a million people in maine at any given time! I can't use my phone is 1/2 the counties here and that's with the AT&T.

Re:continued crappy service & coverage (3, Interesting)

tomz16 (992375) | about 5 years ago | (#28740971)

All this does is allow infighting for handsets but doesn't solve the problem of crappy service over the US. If the war torn middle east and mount everest can get cell coverage why can't we get decent coverage in maine. Mount everest has people on it 1 month a year, there are over a million people in maine at any given time! I can't use my phone is 1/2 the counties here and that's with the AT&T.

DING DING DING DING... There's your problem! GSM service in North America is a complete joke in my experience. ESPECIALLY once you venture out of any major city or highway! Just look at the coverage maps for each carrier!

I've had both a CDMA and GSM work phone for many years. Traveled through much of the US. I always chuckle when I see some reviewer favorably comparing the two, ESPECIALLY on coverage.

I was actually up in Maine (Bangor and Bar Harbor) just last week. I had my personal verizon phone with me, and a GSM work phone. The GSM phone had a t-mobile sim but all of the carriers seem to mutually roam in Maine. The phone could associate with banner (company) : Cingular (AT&T), US-890 (Unicel), and T-mobile (T-mobile). It autoregistered to any one of those networks depending on the strongest signal. All THREE of those GSM networks combined were completely dwarfed by Verizon's native CDMA coverage. I mean it wasn't even remotely close! Hell, I had full EVDO revA coverage in areas that couldn't even get a regular GSM/GPRS signal.

In my experience, GSM in Canada is no different. For example, I continued up to Cape Breton after Maine. At one point, the closest GSM tower (Rogers) was a hundred miles away! Full CDMA coverage almost all the way up there, and many spots with EVDO!

So... In my opinion, the easiest way fix to your problem with coverage in the boonies is to go visit a verizon store, and just bite the bullet on the BS craptacular locked-down handset they will give you. At least you'll be able to use your phone to... you know... make phone calls...

Re:continued crappy service & coverage (1)

jank1887 (815982) | about 5 years ago | (#28741499)

well, that raises one other question: since there are two distinct and incompatible phone networks in the US (CMDA and GSM) would phone makers make versions that work on both networks? All of a sudden all of these phones would need twice the hardware component count internally so they could hook up with whichever carrier you're currently on. If not, would carriers make two separate lines on phones, one for each network? Would they want to put up with the customer service hassle of telling Aunt May that she bought the GSM version of the LG V3231 and not the CDMA version?

Re:continued crappy service & coverage (1)

tomz16 (992375) | about 5 years ago | (#28741599)

Some phones already have dual radios. For example, the Blackberry storm comes in a hybrid GSM/CDMA design. When sold by verizon, it has a sim card already installed.

HOWEVER, the phone will not currently roam on domestic GSM carriers. The SIM card and GSM radio are only used for international roaming in countries without a CDMA network. However, that seems to be a contractual limitation rather than a technical one. It likely just doesn't make any business sense right now to offer GSM roaming within the US.

That being said, the future of US cellular is in LTE. Right now it looks like all of the major networks are going down that path. I predict we will be seeing a LOT of hybrid radio designs with bizarro frequency combinations in the coming years (e.g. GSM/UMTS/HSDPA/LTE, CDMA/1X/EVDO/LTE, etc. at all sorts of TV/850/PCS/2100 combos)

Re:continued crappy service & coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28741783)

Where is Maine?

Astro lawn (Re:continued crappy ...) (2, Interesting)

unixan (800014) | about 5 years ago | (#28742101)

So... In my opinion, the easiest way fix to your problem with coverage in the boonies is to go visit a verizon store, and just bite the bullet on the BS craptacular locked-down handset they will give you. At least you'll be able to use your phone to... you know... make phone calls...

Your impressive [] list of Verizon's [] virtues [] seems a little suspicious.

Especially when you seem rather sympathetic [] or unusually [] knowledgable [] .

Re:Astro lawn (Re:continued crappy ...) (1)

tomz16 (992375) | about 5 years ago | (#28742477)

Chill. It's a cell phone, not a religion. Half the people on here have posted about FIOS and cell phones. I've also posted a ton of "knowledgeable" stuff about physics, computers, electronics, etc. etc. What does THAT tell you about me? I've never worked for a cell company. I don't even own stock in a cell company. I just happen to use the phone (and recently data) a lot, and have traveled pretty extensively in the US. When I see a discussion I can contribute info to, I post a comment.

besides... you're saying I'm TOO knowledgeable to give my opinion on the OP's comment about poor GSM coverage in Maine?!!??! What exactly is the cutoff for being too smart here? A chimp could identify that one magical talking box works while the other does not. Granted, I was only there for a total of approx 3-4 days recently, but it was very quickly evident which phone was the paperweight. Especially once you ventured off the main highways. I hope someone else who actually lives in Maine and has used both GSM and CDMA chimes in here.

Anyway, good job cherry picking posts to highlight. If you even bothered to look at half the comments I've made (here and on howardforums), you would see that I routinely slam Verizon (wireless) pretty hard. Especially on all of the shit they pull with the funny firmware in their phones and more recently their mandatory data plan policies for smart phones. However, I won't deny that I have always had nothing but praise for their voice/data network coverage and reliability.

Re:continued crappy service & coverage (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | about 5 years ago | (#28742937)

Mount everest has people on it 1 month a year, there are over a million people in maine at any given time!

Like duh! The top of Mt. Everest is much closer to the satellites than anywhere in Maine would be. ;)

Re:continued crappy service & coverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28745803)

While you can buy a sat-phone and pay *lots* of money, both for the phone, and the service for it, common cell phones don't use satellites to make calls.

Most sat-phone customers are rich people that on African safari's, government agents, etc

Re:continued crappy service & coverage (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | about 5 years ago | (#28745897)

Oh. I wasn't aware of that. Thanks for clarifying. So much for that attempt at humor. :p

Really? (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#28740797)

Exclusivity arrangements promote competition and innovation in device development and design. We work closely with our vendors to develop new and exciting devices that will attract customers. When we procure exclusive handsets from our vendors we typically buy hundreds of thousands or even millions of each device. Otherwise manufacturers may be reluctant to make the investments of time, money and production capacity to support a particular device

Really? Because T-Mobile, even though they don't have an iPhone offered still supports it. (see [] for a reference).

Exclusivity arrangements do not provide competition, competition should be done with -gasp- the networks. Lets see, AT&T is pretty expensive, but they have a decent 3G network, T-Mobile is a bit cheaper, but their 3G is lacking outside of major cities. Verizon is CDMA and so is Sprint and I'm not a fan of CDMA phones so I doubt I will ever use them. That is how competition is supposed to work. Not -insert major phone maker here- just announced a new phone exclusive to -insert network here- so you buy the plan to get the phone. Thats not how its supposed to work at all.

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

mariushm (1022195) | about 5 years ago | (#28740919)

And furthermore, US has some of the worst cellphones and some of the most stripped down cellphones. Here in Europe I can buy retail any Nokia phone and just insert my SIM card and it just works. The worst I've seen when buying a phone from a GSM company like Orange or Vodaphone with a plan (so the cellphone is much cheaper than retail) is having VoIP or FM radio disabled but otherwise there's no such thing as not being able to use your own ringtones or stuff like that..

Re:Really? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#28740943)

Exactly, plus the fact that in the USA depending on your carrier you might end up with a strange phone. For example, you might have a ton of functions on your AT&T Razr (though mixed in with all kinds of awful crap from AT&T) then you go to Verizion and their phones are totally neutered. I mean, aside from having a horrid UI, there are some things that you simply just can't change that you can on every other phone.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28741179)

And furthermore, US has some of the worst cellphones and some of the most stripped down cellphones. Here in Europe I can buy retail any Nokia phone and just insert my SIM card and it just works.

In the US, I bought an unlocked tri-band (US frequencies) Nokia from Amazon and put my AT&T payg SIM into it. later I switched to T-Mobile using the same phone to compare coverage.

What are you saying can't be done? (Obviously it only works with those GSM carriers.)


erroneus (253617) | about 5 years ago | (#28740825)

It simply can't be allowed. What we need is the exact same deal that exists for POTS. The phone company pulled nearly the same crap with phones years ago until the government stepped in and said "no more!" In this day where people are increasingly dumping POTS for mobile phone services, it won't be long before we're trapped in the same situation. The time for action is now rather than later... truly, the time for action was at least 10 years ago.

As it stands, phone makers have a technological means of restriction in that AT&T and T-Mobile operate on GPRS while Sprint and Verizon operate on CDMA. But really, those could be pluggable modules installable at manufacture time. Not sure that would be terribly hard to overcome.

But when handsets are "free" (as in freedom) I think we will see not only a drop in prices of the phones but also of services. The control of phone prices and availability by the carriers has raised prices, nearly eliminated the used handset market, has essentially prevented a 3rd party phone market and created a disincentive for people to change carriers because they know it means buying another new expensive phone. This is a rather perfect example of anticompetitive behavior that should make Bill Gates envious.

Re:NO COMPROMISE ON THIS (2, Insightful)

PJ1216 (1063738) | about 5 years ago | (#28740937)

There is a small difference. Not all cell networks are compatible. If all cell phones had to work on all networks, manufacturers would have to spend more to create different phones or just jam every chip in there like they do with world phones. It *could* cause handset prices to jump (above retail, not subsidized) at least temporarily until the market works itself out and they can figure out how better to address the issue (ie: how many of each phone generally goes to each network, is it cheaper to make different models as opposed to one model, etc.)


anonymous donor (1440447) | about 5 years ago | (#28741131)

Any GSM phone works on any GSM network, as long as the phone supports the frequency band they use and that's rarely a problem. New (3G) phones support UMTS, in addition to GSM, and use GSM, when they are out of range of UMTS network (or low on battery). The "other standard" is CDMA2000 and has a few percent market share (Wikipedia says it's 12%), some phones are sold in both GSM and CDMA versions. afaik CDMA phones are permanently locked down to a single network, but I don't think there are any technical reasons.

Re:NO COMPROMISE ON THIS (2, Insightful)

PJ1216 (1063738) | about 5 years ago | (#28741199)

CDMA world phones will actually also carry a GSM chip as well so it will work abroad (CDMA is bigger in the US than the world in general). So it can use GSM when CDMA is absent. The only technical reason is that it requires an entirely different chip in the phone. So, most phones come with one or the other, however, some will come with both.


maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#28740975)

Seeing as each configuration would still need to undergo FCC testing, it is likely that the pluggable modules you speak of would actually introduce complexity into the situation (namely the plug). Sure, it would make it so that a technically adept user could swap the modules in order to switch carriers, but the overwhelming evidence is that most people like to switch to shiny new phones as rapidly as possible.

Really, the solution is not to ban exclusivity arrangements, it is to make it relatively straightforward for third parties to be able to offer a phone that works on a network. Figuring out a reasonable way to make phone-subsidy free agreements available to customers might be a slight challenge, but it seems simple enough to require the carriers to disclose how much of each contract they use to subsidize phones (having this information would let consumers decide if they were getting a deal or a 'deal' with their subsidized phones).


Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 5 years ago | (#28741115)

Really, the solution is not to ban exclusivity arrangements, it is to make it relatively straightforward for third parties to be able to offer a phone that works on a network.

I don't think this is a real hurdle.

For the GSM-based carriers, you just buy phone that's not carrier-locked and insert your card.

Looking around on Google, it turns out that you can get unlocked CDMA phones too, just buy the phone and tie your account to that phone based on its ESN.

But the other problem you point out is a valid one: the subsidy the US carriers offer for buying their chosen phones with their contract makes buying an unlocked phone unpalatable. They don't even offer a way to buy a cheaper monthly rate if you don't get a subsidized phone than if you did.

Re:NO COMPROMISE ON THIS (2, Informative)

fermion (181285) | about 5 years ago | (#28741001)

The phones are expensive. I think we have seen a drop in prices. I have seen smart phones advertised for $30 with two year contract. That puts the entire two year cost well under $1000, much less that the average two year of landline would costs, assuming that you started with a decent cordless phone.

I can tell you the first phones that appeared after the ATT breakup were pieces of crap. They were cool novelties, but the quality sucked. About the only benefit to the average person was that geeks could plug in a modem.

If the user would pay for it, a multi protocol phones could be the norm. This could be mandated, but congress would likely not do it as it would increase the price of all phones, although it would ultimately benefit the user.

What the exclusivity deals do is lock in the user. The price difference between carriers is not so significant, and typically does reflect quality. Cricket is cheap but does not have coverage. Verizon is expensive but has coverage. The exclusivity deals are just another step to insure recurring fees. First it was a one year contract, then a two year contract, now it is a piece of equipment. I personally would prefer a one year contract and lock in with a piece of equipment. My greatest complaint against the iPhone is that, unlike other phones, it requires two year contract, or a pay as you go contract.

Obviously Verizon is not scared of the iPhone. ATT needs it, which is why they let apple do what apple wanted to do. At this time I don't see anyone else allowing the same access to the network, except maybe t-mobile. I would prefer to see congress mandate minimum service levels, 1 year contract unless the phone is free, and then let the carriers compete on phones. There is no best phone, and there is no shortage of phones. One chooses the compromise between carrier and phone.

Re:NO COMPROMISE ON THIS (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28741137)

Where is all this crazy coming from.

The issue with analogue services was the requirement of renting a phone. The next huge issue was removing the long distance carrier lock in and then phone number portability. The latter didn't seem much like a necessity.

In no way does any of this translate to "I want to use an iPhone on X network." Let us be rather clear in that this is precisely the issue that everyone is complaining about. It is no way the same involuntary lock in that my parents had to fight with. I can visit any store or online retailing and find a compatible phone TODAY.

On to the next item of insanity...

I'm not really sure what the point of talking about competing standards happened to be. The reality we live in is that we can and often do have competing standards. Manufacturers can and do support single and multi bands. This will of course increase the cost of the handset. Cheaper phone = less features.

Wait... it gets better...

The used handset market is alive and well! I buy all of my phones used and I own them. On a personal aside, I like to be able to vote with my feet and if that means not signing a two year contract for a discount on a phone then so be it. I might actually buy the Touch Pro 2 from overseas and use it with my current carrier.

The best statement so far....

Finally, I'm not sure where the rationalization comes from that iPhones on other carriers will force services to be cheaper. No carrier currently has any feature that is truly unique. (beyond that silly click to talk junk) Market demand and supply are the forces which control pricing. In a world where millions will pay 20 cents a text message it will be difficult to enforce competitive pricing. This is the fault of the consumer for telling the vendor they will accept it.

Seriously... you crammed so many worthless arguments into one page I have to keep going!

As far as cheap phones go. (to add further insult to injury). I just stopped into a local CVS yesterday and considered nabbing a cheap pay per minute phone. For $10 (or $40 for the nicer one) I can have a GSM phone to move my SIM chip when my current phone fails. (It's in rough shape).


ducomputergeek (595742) | about 5 years ago | (#28741253)

Well then, how about we require Verizon and Sprint to convert to GSM. You know, like the REST OF THE WORLD. But that would be a bit unfair as well. Frankly Verizon has a better network in the US. But I do just enough traveling to the rest of the world that we AT&T at work. (And I have an iPhone).

Now 4G is pretty much supposed to be the same everywhere. So some of that will go away.

But personally I don't see what the big deal is. I know people who prefer verizon and got a blackberry storm. They seem perfectly happy. We were going to go with AT&T so I got an iPhone. I'm happy.


TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#28746781)

Well then, how about we require Verizon and Sprint to convert to GSM. You know, like the REST OF THE WORLD

That would be un-American. Seriously, that was the argument given. When the frequencies for digital mobile telephony were sold in the EU and most of the rest of the world, it was with the requirement that they were used to implement a given family of protocols (GSM, later evolutions of the GSM standard). In the USA, that was regarded as government interference in the free market; the correct, red-blooded American capitalist, solution was to let the companies compete with whatever standard they want and let the market decide on the best one. This ought to serve as an object lesson for anyone who believes that the invisible hand will solve all of their problems.


freedom_india (780002) | about 5 years ago | (#28741295)

The trouble all started when you american morons invented CDMA as a NIH syndrome response to the GSM.
That is why you have stupid contracts, tie-ins, no advanced phones (come on Nokia N97 is far better than iPhone), and stupid fees.
Someone will mod me down as flamebait, but i can afford to lose points.
Why couldn't you guys stick the GSM. It was flexible, allowed NO tie-ins, was easy to administer.
But Nooooo, you morons had to go and invent a whole new standard because you were too pissed to use the frogs' standards.
Pride goeth before a fall.
Enjoy your lock-ins, tie-ins and other stuff.


maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#28741405)

UMTS is usually implemented as a GSM type service over a CDMA carrier. So apparently it wasn't that moronic.

The relative lack of difference in prices between the U.S. GSM and CDMA carriers suggests that it doesn't matter very much.


freedom_india (780002) | about 5 years ago | (#28742247)

Its the lockin that matters.
CDMA is used only in USA. (Ya, other countries have it, but not as extensive).
So makers make them only for USA markets which consume far lesser volumes.
Lesser volumes mean more price per unit.
Buyers will not pay $450/- per mobile. They would pay $50/-
So carriers subsidize these upfront with contracts.
So you end up paying $3500 over 2 years for a $450 mobile phone because you want to pay only $50 upfront.
In GSM, the sheer volume is HUGE. Worldwide, more makers, more units and less cost per unit.
So carriers do not have to subsidize it.
Its not that hard.


maxume (22995) | about 5 years ago | (#28742579)

I don't know the specifics of it, but I suspect that the U.S. market for CDMA phones is large enough to get pretty good economies of scale, I doubt that there is a huge difference in price between producing 500,000 units and 5 million units.


Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28743919)

CDMA was not a lets do something different than europe. CDMA is a far superior technology than GSM and UMTS even uses W-CDMA. Qualcomm(CDMA) wants CDMA cellphones to have SIM cards and in India/IndoChina, telecos will be rolling those out. The problem is that American telecos don't want to give up on their network lock in. Technology is not the problem.


freedom_india (780002) | about 5 years ago | (#28745105)

CDMA is a far superior technology than GSM and UMTS even uses W-CDMA.

CDMA specifies on-air specifications. Period.
GSM specifies the whole damn infrastructure.
CDMA allows network carriers to design their own network features, one of which is lock-in.
GSM does not do so.
Which is superior?

Why Should Verizon Compromise At All? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28740829)

These exclusivity deals are not unheard of in businesses. These excluse phones part of what differentiates them their competitors, and hopefully draws customers.

It's not as if you couldn't get mobile phones on another carrier if you don't like this arrangement. Consumers are not being deprived here. The FCC is barking up the wrong tree, and Verizon shouldn't even have to offer this up. Its yet more government meddling in business affairs.

Re:Why Should Verizon Compromise At All? (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 5 years ago | (#28740845)

It should be regulated so long as we have draconian laws that let Apple say that jailbreaking violates copyright ( [] ) and so long as we have a legal system that awards outrageous "damages" for "infringements" we need regulation to keep them in check.

Everything is supposed to be a compromise, if the government didn't help businesses at all, than we wouldn't need laws protecting consumers, similarly when the government over-protects consumers you need balance by giving businesses certain rights. With copyright you have a few publishers screwing the masses and so long as the DMCA and other similarly absurd copyright laws are in effect, you need government protection to protect you from them.

Re:Why Should Verizon Compromise At All? (0, Troll)

The_DoubleU (603071) | about 5 years ago | (#28740917)

Say you have a DSL line with AT&T and want to buy a Dell laptop to use with that connection but you can't because only Verizon is allowed to sell Dells with their DSL line. If you want to use AT&T DSL then you have to buy a Mac. (Linux is supported on both networks but only 56K connections)

The customer should be allowed to buy any mobile device they want and then go to a service provider to get a connection. So the customer can get the best choice for them. The phone they want + the service they want.

Re:Why Should Verizon Compromise At All? (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#28741143)

The obvious answer to this is that Dell wouldn't sign such a deal because it would dramatically reduce their potential sales. This then raises the question of what market conditions exist that make it attractive for Apple to sign such a deal for the iPhone. Once you can answer that question, you can propose sensible regulation to combat it.

Re:Why Should Verizon Compromise At All? (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | about 5 years ago | (#28742969)

This then raises the question of what market conditions exist that make it attractive for Apple to sign such a deal for the iPhone.

Sorry, I am finally unable to resist this...

Is it possible that the folks at Apple mispronounced AT&T, and thought it was GayT&T? :)

(ducks out of the way of the flying fresh veggies...and flying canned veggies).

Re:Why Should Verizon Compromise At All? (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 5 years ago | (#28744619)

Remember that the iPhone was a gamble for both Apple (who had no experience in the cellphone biz) and AT&T (who were trying to sell a cellphone from a company with no experience in the cellphone biz).

Also, AT&T had to do a lot to support the iPhone (Visual Voicemail etc) and that doesn't come cheap.

Re:Why Should Verizon Compromise At All? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#28741121)

Exclusivity agreements can be monopoly abuse if the carrier in question has a near monopoly. In this case, the handset manufacturer has little to lose (a tiny percentage of potential sales) and the carrier gets another reason for customers not to go with the smaller carriers. That doesn't appear to be the case here, however.

If a carrier has 50% of the market, then a handset manufacturer signing an exclusive deal loses 50% of their potential market before they ship a single unit, which is rarely good business sense and explains why so few handsets have exclusivity deals. If you want to fix the market then there are a few simple things you can do before banning this kind of arrangement. The first is to require every network to allow customers to use any device they choose. The second is to require billing of the phone subsidy as a separate line item and allow contracts with exactly the same price for people who use their own phone. If people want to buy a subsidised phone from their carrier then it may be cheaper overall (the total of the up-front cost and the subsidy only has to be the wholesale price of the phone, not the retail price) but if they do then they get to see exactly how much it's really costing and factor this into their decision.

Re:Why Should Verizon Compromise At All? (2, Interesting)

QuoteMstr (55051) | about 5 years ago | (#28741201)

Of course exclusivity deals are terrible for ordinary people. That's not factually in doubt. Instead, I'd like to explore why you'd post a comment like this. As I see it, there are three explanations:

  1. You're a paid shill: not unheard-of. It would explain your posting as an Anonymous Coward, and would explain the completely idiotic thought wrapped up in perfect grammar and spelling.
  2. You're just trolling: in that case, you've succeeded, though you certainly could have done better.
  3. You genuinely believe the schlock you spewed: this is the least likely and most depressing possibility. This belief would indicate that you really do lack even the most basic grasp of your own economic best interests, and possibly some kind of childhood trauma that created in you an unflinching obedience to authority. Do you vote Republican by any chance?

I sincerely hope the correct option is one or two. People who genuinely believe the crap you posted are responsible for most of the human misery in history.

Newspeak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28740873)

> "Exclusivity arrangements promote competition"

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

"Exclusivity arrangements promote competition..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28740895)

"Exclusivity arrangements promote competition and innovation in device development and design."

I don't believe this. Do you believe this?

Today's magic word is despots

Worst idea ever ? (2, Interesting)

wimg (300673) | about 5 years ago | (#28740911)

So what happens if that small carrier gets 500.001 customers ? You can't use your iPhone on their network anymore ?
So small carriers will need to stay small... ofcourse Verizon loves that idea, because then they can keep the status quo in the market !

Freedom is slavery! War is peace! (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 5 years ago | (#28740931)

"exclusivity agreements promote competition"

how can anyone ANYWHERE not see the blatant intellectual dishonesty.

Less than 500,000 subscribers? Here's one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28740961)

Hehe, well Sprint is at least certainly on their way! At the rate people are jumping ship there, (myself included) pretty soon you will be able to pay your bill at Sprint with a slice of cold pizza, and I guess, get an iPhone?


Exclusivity can be promote innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28740979)

Do you think your handset does all these neat things by itself? The "Next Big Thing" will almost certainly require major investment in network and back office system. There are economies of scale to consider, Verizon isn't going to install systems that support hundreds of thousands of users, they need millions of users to make those features cost effective.
The iPhone exclusivity arrangement probably hit Verizon hardest of all. But they had their chance and past on the deal. (Didn't want give up the control Apple insisted on.) But they seem to be accepting that and moving on.

ps. Can there ever be a Slashdot article about AT&T / Verizon / T-Mobile this forum doesn't complain about?

Re:Exclusivity can be promote innovation (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 5 years ago | (#28745919)

In one word: Bullshit
In two words: Bull Shit.
In three words: Fucking Bull Shit.

The numbers don't add up that way. At&t spent crapola on supporting the iphone. As did Sprint to support the pre. The only painful part of the process is the carriers giving up a little bit of control. Not money, not infrastructure improvements: control.

The arugment (4, Insightful)

FlyingGuy (989135) | about 5 years ago | (#28741007)

All of the wireless carriers, when you boil it down, offer the same thing, dial tone over a radio.

At some point, in any competitive environment you have to be able to differentiate yourself from the other carrier, so really what are the options?

  • Coverage? Well that one is a pretty level playing field. Yes any one carrier can expand their coverage by putting up more cell towers, but most of the metro area's have pretty decent coverage and trying to improve that can be daunting. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and I can tell that trying to put up a cell tower in the City of San Francisco is a at best a 3 year process from birth of the idea to taking the cell live.
  • Price, at some point that becomes a non-issue. In the SF Bay Area you can can get a cell phone with unlimited calling in the SF Bay Area for $35.00 a month with Metro-PCS
  • Features, well thats a horse of a different color since features basically come down to bandwidth capacity.
  • Cool Factor. This is where the handset makes the difference, and the central point of carrier lock-in

With all of those factors except the cool factor being pretty much equal this is how they differentiate themselves from the next carrier. They go to the handset manufacturers and ask, "Hey what do you have that is really cool?", the look at whats out their and evaluate it and then pick the best platform that will allow them to create the best combination of experiences that add up to the all important cool factor.

Lest anyone be confused, the carriers invest a LOT of money in brining this handset to market and its is not like they make a lot of money on the handsent. They make the money on the service they provide be it providing higher bandwidth, storage services, fancy voice mail or whatever.

It is their money they are spending to do all of this, and the notion of creating a network that lets all this cool factor happen just to have someone else duplicate it, or worse duplicate it badly and sell at a lower price point is NOT a winning business model, in fact it is a model for going out of business.

Re:The arugment (1)

rohan972 (880586) | about 5 years ago | (#28741165)

How about service? Better contract terms?

Re:The arugment (1)

leehwtsohg (618675) | about 5 years ago | (#28741391)

You and and the guy who replied to you are exactly right. If you let them, they will of course compete on the "cool factor". But why should you let them. If they want to compete for cool-factor, they should become a cell-phone manufacturer.

Once they can't compete for cool-factor, they'll have to compete for price, coverage, service. Well, or getting monopolies...

dfjdsj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28741011)


Compromise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28741409)

A compromise? A COMPROMISE? This isn't a negotiation. The lawmakers should be dictating terms to the wireless carriers. What are the carriers going to do kick and scream until they get their way?

Like it matters... (1)

lord_mike (567148) | about 5 years ago | (#28741747)

....when has Verizon actually offered a phone that anybody actually wants?

So, they are shortening their exclusivity on the Samsung 4589? The what? Who cares?

Verizon may have a good network, but they have absolutely no phone selection whatsoever... No one is waiting in line to buy a phone from Verizon....

Yelp! What's the number for 9-1-1? (1)

scorpivs (1408651) | about 5 years ago | (#28741777)

Dog-saves-owner's-family-by-chewing-apart-phone; owner then buys groceries for hungry family of 3.14. Dog found still chasing tail with owner.

what exactly is Verizon thinking? (2, Interesting)

tmach (886393) | about 5 years ago | (#28742543)

Isn't Verizon kind of shooting itself in the foot with a "compromise" like this? After all. it's been trying to get Apple to make a CDMA iPhone for ages, once it's deal with AT&T is up. Under it's own plan, it still wouldn't get to have an iPhone. I don't really have a problem with exclusivity agreements in principle. In the case of the iPhone (and really that's what it's all about--nobody was complaining about exclusivity before it came along) the deal with AT&T has just forced every other company from LG to Motorola to Samsung to HTC to try to come up with that "iPhone killer". They haven't done it yet, but the more they try the better phones in general get. Also, these deals tend to have expiration dates. Apple's agreement with AT&T is up next year, I believe. At that point, it will have to be renegotiated. Apple will have to decide if whatever AT&T is paying them is more than what it would be making by selling the iPhone to other carriers as well--and if it's possible to keep up with the demand doing so would generate. Unfortunately, if AT&T shells out enough to make Apple stick around, it will probably have to jack up the price AT&T customers pay per month for all the neat things the iPhone will do. That rate already seems pretty high.

Government should stop interfering! (1)

vakuona (788200) | about 5 years ago | (#28744893)

At some point government has to stop interfering in the markets. You can buy a very cheap phone that does what you want on just about any network. Without iPhone exclusivity, perhaps Sprint may not have invested in the Palm pre, and perhaps AT&T would not have invested in the iPhone either. The promise of exclusivity probably allowed Apple to demand pretty favourable terms which benefit consumers (such as unlimited data) as standard. That, for me, was one of the attractions of the iPhone. In situations were there is no monopoly, or even a quasi monopoly, I would much rather government kept out.

The most important thing, in my opinion, is perhaps to enable consumers to switch carriers easily. Consumers are responsible for their buying behaviours. We can, and do weigh up the total package, the hardware + the services. We don't need government to protect "us poor consumers" from everything. Right now the system is working fine. Not perfectly, but well enough.

Why does exclusivity help? (2, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 5 years ago | (#28744921)

When the carriers trot out arguments in favor of exclusivity, or ideas like this, I have just one question for them: if exclusivity is such a great incentive for innovation, when are we going to see all the neat phones with the great features that're already on the market in Asia? There and in Europe they not only don't usually have exclusivity, they don't even have the SIM-locking that US carriers make standard. Yet, in both Europe and Asia you can buy better phones with more features enabled than is typical in the US.

More like a way to keep the small carriers small (1)

PAjamian (679137) | about 5 years ago | (#28745149)

Nice arrangement for the large carriers. Basically they get to tell the small carriers, "sure you can offer this phone after 6 months, but don't you dare get more than 500,000 customers, or we'll jump in and stop the practice." This will force small carriers to not grow large enough to give Verizon or AT&T any real competition.

This sounds like a nice compromise on the face of it, but it stinks.

Congress has a (publicly funded) medical plan? (1)

makemine (1601005) | about 5 years ago | (#28746319)

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?
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