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Antitrust Pressure Mounts For Wireless Providers

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the can-you-hear-us-now dept.

Government 300

Over the past few weeks, the cellphone industry has been criticized on a variety of subjects, from distracted driving to handset exclusivity deals to everything else that's shady within the industry. Verizon's CEO has now responded, addressing what he claims are "myths" about standard practices. Reader DJRumpy points out that the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights has been calling for an investigation into whether competition is being stifled through many of these practices, "including possible text messaging price fixing and questionable roaming arrangements." Apparently the new antitrust chief is hitting resistance from within the government over the aggressive inquiries into this and other major industries. However, a small victory was achieved the other day when the National Telecommunications and Information Administration "told incumbent carriers that they'll have to prove their cases just like everyone else if they want to challenge broadband grant proposals from smaller players." There is also legislation in the works that would require states to impose a ban on text messaging while driving or lose a significant portion of their federal highway funding.

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Yeah, take THAT Verizon! (1, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865415)

That'll teach you to charge me $40 for roaming last month when I never left the city, motherfuckers!

Re:Yeah, take THAT Verizon! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28865451)

It has come to my attention that the entire Linux community is a hotbed of so called 'alternative sexuality,' which includes anything from hedonistic orgies to homosexuality to pedophilia.

What better way of demonstrating this than by looking at the hidden messages contained within the names of some of Linux's most outspoken advocates:

  • Linus Torvalds [microsoft.com] is an anagram of slit anus or VD 'L,' clearly referring to himself by the first initial.
  • Richard M. Stallman [geocities.com] , spokespervert for the Gaysex's Not Unusual 'movement' is an anagram of mans cram thrill ad.
  • Alan Cox [microsoft.com] is barely an anagram of anal cox which is just so filthy and unchristian it unnerves me.

I'm sure that Eric S. Raymond, composer of the satanic homosexual [goatse.fr] propaganda diatribe The Cathedral and the Bizarre, is probably an anagram of something queer, but we don't need to look that far as we know he's always shoving a gun up some poor little boy's rectum. Update: Eric S. Raymond is actually an anagram for secondary rim and cord in my arse. It just goes to show you that he is indeed queer.

Update the Second: It is also documented that Evil Sicko Gaymond is responsible for a nauseating piece of code called Fetchmail [microsoft.com] , which is obviously sinister sodomite slang for 'Felch Male' -- a disgusting practise. For those not in the know, 'felching' is the act performed by two perverts wherein one sucks their own post-coital ejaculate out of the other's rectum. In fact, it appears that the dirty Linux faggots set out to undermine the good Republican institution of e-mail, turning it into 'e-male.'

As far as Richard 'Master' Stallman goes, that filthy fudge-packer was actually quoted [salon.com] on leftist commie propaganda site Salon.com as saying the following: 'I've been resistant to the pressure to conform in any circumstance,' he says. 'It's about being able to question conventional wisdom,' he asserts. 'I believe in love, but not monogamy,' he says plainly.

And this isn't a made up troll bullshit either! He actually stated this tripe, which makes it obvious that he is trying to politely say that he's a flaming homo [comp-u-geek.net] slut [rotten.com] !

Speaking about 'flaming,' who better to point out as a filthy chutney ferret than Slashdot's very own self-confessed pederast Jon Katz. Although an obvious deviant anagram cannot be found from his name, he has already confessed, nay boasted of the homosexual [goatse.fr] perversion of corrupting the innocence of young children [slashdot.org] . To quote from the article linked:

'I've got a rare kidney disease,' I told her. 'I have to go to the bathroom a lot. You can come with me if you want, but it takes a while. Is that okay with you? Do you want a note from my doctor?'

Is this why you were touching your penis [rotten.com] in the cinema, Jon? And letting the other boys touch it too?

We should also point out that Jon Katz refers to himself as 'Slashdot's resident Gasbag.' Is there any more doubt? For those fortunate few who aren't aware of the list of homosexual [goatse.fr] terminology found inside the Linux 'Sauce Code,' a 'Gasbag' is a pervert who gains sexual gratification from having a thin straw inserted into his urethra (or to use the common parlance, 'piss-pipe'), then his homosexual [goatse.fr] lover blows firmly down the straw to inflate his scrotum. This is, of course, when he's not busy violating the dignity and copyright of posters to Slashdot by gathering together their postings and publishing them en masse to further his twisted and manipulative journalistic agenda.

Sick, disgusting antichristian perverts, the lot of them.

In addition, many of the Linux distributions (a 'distribution' is the most common way to spread the faggots' wares) are run by faggot groups. The Slackware [redhat.com] distro is named after the 'Slack-wear' fags wear to allow easy access to the anus for sexual purposes. Furthermore, Slackware is a close anagram of claw arse, a reference to the homosexual [goatse.fr] practise of anal fisting. The Mandrake [slackware.com] product is run by a group of French faggot satanists, and is named after the faggot nickname for the vibrator. It was also chosen because it is an anagram for dark amen and ram naked, which is what they do.

Another 'distro,' (abbrieviated as such because it sounds a bit like 'Disco,' which is where homosexuals [goatse.fr] preyed on young boys in the 1970s), is Debian, [mandrake.com] an anagram of in a bed, which could be considered innocent enough (after all, a bed is both where we sleep and pray), until we realise what other names Debian uses to describe their foul wares. 'Woody' is obvious enough, being a term for the erect male penis [rotten.com] , glistening with pre-cum. But far sicker is the phrase 'Frozen Potato' that they use. This filthy term, again found in the secret homosexual [goatse.fr] 'Sauce Code,' refers to the solo homosexual [goatse.fr] practice of defecating into a clear polythene bag, shaping the turd into a crude approximation of the male phallus, then leaving it in the freezer overnight until it becomes solid. The practitioner then proceeds to push the frozen 'potato' up his own rectum, squeezing it in and out until his tight young balls erupt in a screaming orgasm.

And Red Hat [debian.org] is secret homo [comp-u-geek.net] slang for the tip of a penis [rotten.com] that is soaked in blood from a freshly violated underage ringpiece.

The fags have even invented special tools to aid their faggotry! For example, the 'supermount' tool was devised to allow deeper penetration, which is good for fags because it gives more pressure on the prostate gland. 'Automount' is used, on the other hand, because Linux users are all fat and gay, and need to mount each other [comp-u-geek.net] automatically.

The depths of their depravity can be seen in their use of 'mount points.' These are, plainly speaking, the different points of penetration. The main one is obviously/anus, but there are others. Militant fags even say 'there is no/opt mount point' because for these dirty perverts faggotry is not optional but a way of life.

More evidence is in the fact that Linux users say how much they love `man`, even going so far as to say that all new Linux users (who are in fact just innocent heterosexuals indoctrinated by the gay propaganda) should try out `man`. In no other system do users boast of their frequent recourse to a man.

Other areas of the system also show Linux's inherit gayness. For example, people are often told of the 'FAQ,' but how many innocent heterosexual Windows [amiga.com] users know what this actually means. The answer is shocking: Faggot Anal Quest: the voyage of discovery for newly converted fags!

Even the title 'Slashdot [geekizoid.com] ' originally referred to a homosexual [goatse.fr] practice. Slashdot [kuro5hin.org] of course refers to the popular gay practice of blood-letting. The Slashbots, of course are those super-zealous homosexuals [goatse.fr] who take this perversion to its extreme by ripping open their anuses, as seen on the site most popular with Slashdot users, the depraved work of Satan, http://www.eff.org/ [eff.org] .

The editors of Slashdot [slashduh.org] also have homosexual [goatse.fr] names: 'Hemos' is obvious in itself, being one vowel away from 'Homos.' But even more sickening is 'Commander Taco' which sounds a bit like 'Commode in Taco,' filthy gay slang for a pair of spreadeagled buttocks that are caked with excrement [pboy.com] . (The best form of lubrication, they insist.) Sometimes, these 'Taco Commodes' have special 'Salsa Sauce' (blood from a ruptured rectum) and 'Cheese' (rancid flakes of penis [rotten.com] discharge) toppings. And to make it even worse, Slashdot [notslashdot.org] runs on Apache!

The Apache [microsoft.com] server, whose use among fags is as prevalent as AIDS, is named after homosexual [goatse.fr] activity -- as everyone knows, popular faggot band, the Village People, featured an Apache Indian, and it is for him that this gay program is named.

And that's not forgetting the use of patches in the Linux fag world -- patches are used to make the anus accessible for repeated anal sex even after its rupture by a session of fisting.

To summarise: Linux is gay. 'Slash -- Dot' is the graphical description of the space between a young boy's scrotum and anus. And BeOS [apple.com] is for hermaphrodites and disabled 'stumpers.'

FEEDBACK

What worries me is how much you know about what gay people do. I'm scared I actually read this whole thing. I think this post is a good example of the negative effects of Internet usage on people. This person obviously has no social life anymore and had to result to writing something as stupid as this. And actually take the time to do it too. Although... I think it was satire.. blah.. it's early. -- Anonymous Coward, Slashdot

Well, the only reason I know all about this is because I had the misfortune to read the Linux 'Sauce code' once. Although publicised as the computer code needed to get Linux up and running on a computer (and haven't you always been worried about the phrase 'Monolithic Kernel'?), this foul document is actually a detailed and graphic description of every conceivable degrading perversion known to the human race, as well as a few of the major animal species. It has shocked and disturbed me, to the point of needing to shock and disturb the common man to warn them of the impending homo [comp-u-geek.net] -calypse which threatens to engulf our planet.

You must work for the government. Trying to post the most obscene stuff in hopes that slashdot won't be able to continue or something, due to legal woes. If i ever see your ugly face, i'm going to stick my fireplace poker up your ass, after it's nice and hot, to weld shut that nasty gaping hole of yours. -- Anonymous Coward, Slashdot

Doesn't it give you a hard-on to imagine your thick strong poker ramming it's way up my most sacred of sphincters? You're beyond help, my friend, as the only thing you can imagine is the foul penetrative violation of another man. Are you sure you're not Eric Raymond? The government, being populated by limp-wristed liberals, could never stem the sickening tide of homosexual [goatse.fr] child molesting Linux advocacy. Hell, they've given NAMBLA free reign for years!

you really should post this logged in. i wish i could remember jebus's password, cuz i'd give it to you. -- mighty jebus [slashdot.org] , Slashdot

Thank you for your kind words of support. However, this document shall only ever be posted anonymously. This is because the 'Open Sauce' movement is a sham, proposing homoerotic cults of hero worshipping in the name of freedom. I speak for the common man. For any man who prefers the warm, enveloping velvet folds of a woman's vagina [bodysnatchers.co.uk] to the tight puckered ringpiece of a child. These men, being common, decent folk, don't have a say in the political hypocrisy that is Slashdot culture. I am the unknown liberator [hitler.org] .

ROLF LAMO i hate linux FAGGOTS -- Anonymous Coward, Slashdot

We shouldn't hate them, we should pity them for the misguided fools they are... Fanatical Linux zeal-outs need to be herded into camps for re-education and subsequent rehabilitation into normal heterosexual society. This re-education shall be achieved by forcing them to watch repeats of Baywatch until the very mention of Pamela Anderson [rotten.com] causes them to fill their pants with healthy heterosexual jism [zillabunny.com] .

Actually, that's not at all how scrotal inflation works. I understand it involves injecting sterile saline solution into the scrotum. I've never tried this, but you can read how to do it safely in case you're interested. (Before you moderate this down, ask yourself honestly -- who are the real crazies -- people who do scrotal inflation, or people who pay $1000+ for a game console?) -- double_h [slashdot.org] , Slashdot

Well, it just goes to show that even the holy Linux 'sauce code' is riddled with bugs that need fixing. (The irony of Jon Katz not even being able to inflate his scrotum correctly has not been lost on me.) The Linux pervert elite already acknowledge this, with their queer slogan: 'Given enough arms, all rectums are shallow.' And anyway, the PS2 [xbox.com] sucks major cock and isn't worth the money. Intellivision forever!

dude did u used to post on msnbc's nt bulletin board now that u are doing anti-gay posts u also need to start in with anti-black stuff too c u in church -- Anonymous Coward, Slashdot

For one thing, whilst Linux is a cavalcade of queer propaganda masquerading as the future of computing, NT [linux.com] is used by people who think nothing better of encasing their genitals in quick setting plaster then going to see a really dirty porno film, enjoying the restriction enforced onto them. Remember, a wasted arousal is a sin in the eyes of the Catholic church [atheism.org] . Clearly, the only god-fearing Christian operating system in existence is CP/M -- The Christian Program Monitor. All computer users should immediately ask their local pastor to install this fine OS onto their systems. It is the only route to salvation.

Secondly, this message is for every man. Computers know no colour. Not only that, but one of the finest websites in the world is maintained by a Black Man [stileproject.com] . Now fuck off you racist donkey felcher.

And don't forget that slashdot was written in Perl, which is just too close to 'Pearl Necklace' for comfort.... oh wait; that's something all you heterosexuals do.... I can't help but wonder how much faster the trolls could do First-Posts on this site if it were redone in PHP... I could hand-type dynamic HTML pages faster than Perl can do them. -- phee [slashdot.org] , Slashdot

Although there is nothing unholy about the fine heterosexual act of ejaculating between a woman's breasts, squirting one's load up towards her neck and chin area, it should be noted that Perl [python.org] (standing for Pansies Entering Rectums Locally) is also close to 'Pearl Monocle,' 'Pearl Nosering,' and the ubiquitous 'Pearl Enema.'

One scary thing about Perl [sun.com] is that it contains hidden homosexual [goatse.fr] messages. Take the following code: LWP::Simple -- It looks innocuous enough, doesn't it? But look at the line closely: There are two colons next to each other! As Larry 'Balls to the' Wall would openly admit in the Perl Documentation, Perl was designed from the ground up to indoctrinate it's programmers into performing unnatural sexual acts -- having two colons so closely together is clearly a reference to the perverse sickening act of 'colon kissing,' whereby two homosexual [goatse.fr] queers spread their buttocks wide, pressing their filthy torn sphincters together. They then share small round objects like marbles or golfballs by passing them from one rectum to another using muscle contraction alone. This is also referred to in programming 'circles' as 'Parameter Passing.'

And PHP [perl.org] stands for Perverted Homosexual Penetration. Didn't you know?

Thank you for your valuable input on this. I am sure you will be never forgotten. BTW: Did I mention that this could be useful in terraforming Mars? Mars rulaa. -- Eimernase [slashdot.org] , Slashdot

Well, I don't know about terraforming Mars, but I do know that homosexual [goatse.fr] Linux Advocates have been probing Uranus for years.

That's inspiring. Keep up the good work, AC. May God in his wisdom grant you the strength to bring the plain honest truth to this community, and make it pure again. Yours, Cerberus. -- Anonymous Coward, Slashdot

*sniff* That brings a tear to my eye. Thank you once more for your kind support. I have taken faith in the knowledge that I am doing the Good Lord [atheism.org] 's work, but it is encouraging to know that I am helping out the common man here.

However, I should be cautious about revealing your name 'Cerberus' on such a filthy den of depravity as Slashdot. It is a well known fact that the 'Kerberos' documentation from Microsoft is a detailed manual describing, in intimate, exacting detail, how to sexually penetrate a variety of unwilling canine animals; be they domesticated, wild, or mythical. Slashdot posters have taken great pleasure in illegally spreading this documentation far and wide, treating it as an 'extension' to the Linux 'Sauce Code,' for the sake of 'interoperability.' (The slang term they use for nonconsensual intercourse -- their favourite kind.)

In fact, sick twisted Linux deviants are known to have LAN parties, (Love of Anal Naughtiness, needless to say.), wherein they entice a stray dog, known as the 'Samba Mount,' into their homes. Up to four of these filth-sodden blasphemers against nature take turns to plunge their erect, throbbing, uncircumcised members, conkers-deep, into the rectum, mouth, and other fleshy orifices of the poor animal. Eventually, the 'Samba Mount' collapses due to 'overload,' and needs to be 'rebooted.' (i.e., kicked out into the street, and left to fend for itself.) Many Linux users boast about their 'uptime' in such situations.

Inspiring stuff! If only all trolls were this quality! -- Anonymous Coward, Slashdot

If only indeed. You can help our brave cause by moderating this message up as often as possible. I recommend '+1, Underrated,' as that will protect your precious Karma in Metamoderation [slashdot.org] . Only then can we break through the glass ceiling of Homosexual Slashdot Culture. Is it any wonder that the new version of Slashcode has been christened 'Bender'???

If we can get just one of these postings up to at least '+1,' then it will be archived forever! Others will learn of our struggle, and join with us in our battle for freedom!

It's pathetic you've spent so much time writing this. -- Anonymous Coward, Slashdot

I am compelled to document the foulness and carnal depravity [catholic.net] that is Linux, in order that we may prepare ourselves for the great holy war that is to follow. It is my solemn duty to peel back the foreskin of ignorance and apply the wire brush of enlightenment.

As with any great open-source project, you need someone asking this question, so I'll do it. When the hell is version 2.0 going to be ready?!?! -- Anonymous Coward, Slashdot

I could make an arrogant, childish comment along the lines of 'Every time someone asks for 2.0, I won't release it for another 24 hours,' but the truth of the matter is that I'm quite nervous of releasing a 'number two,' as I can guarantee some filthy shit-slurping Linux pervert would want to suck it straight out of my anus before I've even had chance to wipe.

I desperately want to suck your monolithic kernel, you sexy hunk, you. -- Anonymous Coward, Slashdot

I sincerely hope you're Natalie Portman [geocities.com] .

Dude, nothing on slashdot larger than 3 paragraphs is worth reading. Try to distill the message, whatever it was, and maybe I'll read it. As it is, I have to much open source software to write to waste even 10 seconds of precious time. 10 seconds is all its gonna take M$ to whoop Linux's ass. Vigilence is the price of Free (as in libre -- from the fine, frou frou French language) Software. Hack on fellow geeks, and remember: Friday is Bouillabaisse day except for heathens who do not believe that Jesus died for their sins. Those godless, oil drench, bearded sexist clowns can pull grits from their pantaloons (another fine, fine French word) and eat that. Anyway, try to keep your message focused and concise. For concision is the soul of derision. Way. -- Anonymous Coward, Slashdot

What the fuck?

I've read your gay conspiracy post version 1.3.0 and I must say I'm impressed. In particular, I appreciate how you have managed to squeeze in a healthy dose of the latent homosexuality you gay-bashing homos [comp-u-geek.net] tend to be full of. Thank you again. -- Anonymous Coward, Slashdot

Well bugger me!

ooooh honey. how insecure are you!!! wann a little massage from deare bruci. love you -- Anonymous Coward, Slashdot

Fuck right off!

IMPORTANT: This message needs to be heard (Not HURD [linux.org] , which is an acronym for 'Huge Unclean Rectal Dilator') across the whole community, so it has been released into the Public Domain [icopyright.com] . You know, that licence that we all had before those homoerotic crypto-fascists came out with the GPL [apple.com] (Gay Penetration License) that is no more than an excuse to see who's got the biggest feces-encrusted [rotten.com] cock. I would have put this up on Freshmeat [adultmember.com] , but that name is known to be a euphemism for the tight rump of a young boy.

Come to think of it, the whole concept of 'Source Control' unnerves me, because it sounds a bit like 'Sauce Control,' which is a description of the homosexual [goatse.fr] practice of holding the base of the cock shaft tightly upon the point of ejaculation, thus causing a build up of semenal fluid that is only released upon entry into an incision made into the base of the receiver's scrotum. And 'Open Sauce' is the act of ejaculating into another mans face or perhaps a biscuit to be shared later. Obviously, 'Closed Sauce' is the only Christian thing to do, as evidenced by the fact that it is what Cathedrals are all about.

Contributors: (although not to the eternal game of 'soggy biscuit' that open 'sauce' development has become) Anonymous Coward, Anonymous Coward, phee, Anonymous Coward, mighty jebus, Anonymous Coward, Anonymous Coward, double_h, Anonymous Coward, Eimernase, Anonymous Coward, Anonymous Coward, Anonymous Coward, Anonymous Coward, Anonymous Coward, Anonymous Coward, Anonymous Coward, Anonymous Coward. Further contributions are welcome.

Current changes: This version sent to FreeWIPO [slashdot.org] by 'Bring BackATV' as plain text. Reformatted everything, added all links back in (that we could match from the previous version), many new ones (Slashbot bait links). Even more spelling fixed. Who wrote this thing, CmdrTaco himself?

Previous changes: Yet more changes added. Spelling fixed. Feedback added. Explanation of 'distro' system. 'Mount Point' syntax described. More filth regarding `man` and Slashdot. Yet more fucking spelling fixed. 'Fetchmail' uncovered further. More Slashbot baiting. Apache exposed. Distribution licence at foot of document.

ANUX -- A full Linux distribution... Up your ass!

Lol @ captcha "girlie".

Re:Yeah, take THAT Verizon! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28865547)

Uh... you realize that "roaming" is "making/receiving a call on another carrier's network", not "leaving a geographical boundary", right?

Re:Yeah, take THAT Verizon! (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865603)

That'll teach you to charge me $40 for roaming last month when I never left the city, motherfuckers!

Unless you are on an ancient plan or left the country, Verizon doesn't charge roaming fees for using partner networks.....

Re:Yeah, take THAT Verizon! (4, Informative)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865863)

There are cities on the US/Canadian border that you can pick up Canadian towers, and they will indeed charge you for roaming.

Re:Yeah, take THAT Verizon! (1, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866067)

There are cities on the US/Canadian border that you can pick up Canadian towers, and they will indeed charge you for roaming.

And if you live in one of those cities it would seem to me to be your responsibility to pay attention to the roaming indicator on your phone. If you don't want to do that then you can lock your phone in "home only" mode (CDMA) or manually specify the carrier's network (GSM) to keep it from roaming.

Re:Yeah, take THAT Verizon! (2, Interesting)

westcoast philly (991705) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866323)

Yeah, I know this well. I live 20km away from downtown Victoria, BC's CAPITAL city.. can practically SEE it. Yet, my old phone (Telus) would roam constantly. I had roaming turned off for 4 years, but eventually got sick of paying $70/month for service I could only use while I was at work, or in town.. about 9 hours/day during the week. Rediculous. When they called me to try and upgrade my plan, I explained this to them, and the fact that I know several people who have a similar situation, that their roaming charges get knocked off their bills. They told me no way, so I switched carriers (Rogers), and got an iPhone. no problem now. They will at least credit for roaming charges, as I'm on a border zone.

Moral of the story: If you don't like the service you're getting from someone, let them know, and then take action. Then let them know again. and again. and again.

Oh, and then tell everyone you know about how poor customer service they gave you.

Re:Yeah, take THAT Verizon! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28866531)

I have to disagree. When a company advertises "anywhere in the country" they've taken the responsibility upon themselves to determine if you are in the country or not.

Re:Yeah, take THAT Verizon! (1)

weave (48069) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866261)

There are cities on the US/Canadian border that you can pick up Canadian towers, and they will indeed charge you for roaming.

That can work the other way as well. There's been times I've been just inside Mexico in a border town and able to place calls using a U.S. tower on the other side of the border and not have to worry about roaming.

Re:Yeah, take THAT Verizon! (1)

dnahelicase (1594971) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866705)

My thoughts exactly. I left verizon recently when they charged me roaming when: 1) My handset was set to not roam 2) They say the calls were made from the largest city in my "home" area 3) I know beyond any shadow of a doubt that I, with my phone in hand, was 60 miles away from that city And they claimed I made several voicemail calls 1 minute apart starting at exactly midnight. All in all it was only 6 bucks, but it was 6 dollars I shouldn't have needed to pay. Of course, "the system" said I did it, so it was true beyond any shadow of a doubt. Being 2 weeks from my end of contract and having the manager tell me that I must be mistaken because the system isn't wrong, I happily paid them their six dollars and they lost a customer for life.

All I want to see... (2, Insightful)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865447)

...is pro-rated fees for breaking a contract early. If I decide Sprint sucks and break my 2-year contract after 18 months, I should have to pay the full $200 fee. I should pay $50.

Contracts aren't what they used to be... (3, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865491)

I should have to pay

No, you should have to pay whatever the contract, which you signed voluntarily, in good health and sound mind, stipulates.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (5, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865553)

Not if monopoly power robs the consumer of bargaining power.

It's akin to letting a majority of wolves outvote sheep on what's for dinner.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (1, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865583)

Not if monopoly power robs the consumer of bargaining power.

No wireless company today has a monopoly. Certainly not Sprint, which was the OP's example.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (4, Informative)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865663)

cartels and monopolies behave the same way and have the same economic side effects so my point still stands.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28865823)

No, it doesn't. No one forces you to have a cell phone, no matter what possible reason you come up with.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28865907)

my parole officer does.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (1)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866361)

cartels and monopolies behave the same way and have the same economic side effects so my point still stands.

I don't understand, what you are talking about. Maybe, you need to put some more work into your postings, rather than argue in one-liners. Thanks.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (2, Informative)

Garbad Ropedink (1542973) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866031)

It's called an oligopoly when multiple companies all work together in a sort of monopoly on an industry. Another example is the oil industry.
You ought to visit Canada sometime. You think you've got it bad in the States with cell phone providers. It's a utopia compared to Canada.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (3, Insightful)

pantherace (165052) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866249)

While I agree, there is no monopoly, there appears to be what one might call a Oligopoly. There are 4 National carriers. (Yes, there are a few smaller ones.) AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile. I count two others with over a million subscribers on (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_wireless_communications_service_providers [wikipedia.org] ) which is currently not being acquired by one of those 4 (Either listed there, or known by myself).

Their plans are almost lockstep. Comparing some plans last year, they were almost exactly the same, which could be due to one of two things: Collusion, or Cost of Services. One might be tempted to say cost of services, but prior to the absorption of so much, the cost of Sprint was significantly cheaper, and didn't have these crazy 2-year long contracts (it was month to month, which after they introduced the it changed to a $15 per month fee, which is bollocks.)

The only group I think benefits from this oligopoly are the companies. When there was competition on a large scale, prices were cheaper. I recall in my city, when we originally chose to break from Sprint, we got GSM phones on Cingular's network, on the idea that should service prove unsatisfactory, we could go with one of the other 5 providers in the area. Approx one and a half years later, we decide to go looking at other providers noting a rise in fees, and decreasing service, only to find that all but one (t-mobile) is gone/absorbed. Anecdote, true. However, I've heard a lot of very similar anecdotes, both IRL, and on the Internet.

While, no, it's not a monopoly, an oligopoly acts in many ways like one. Anyone remember WiMax and it's potential to be wireless data outside cell phone carriers? Anyone heard anything about it recently, at all?

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (5, Insightful)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866713)

Together, the major companies are a monopoly in that they don't allow competition. They're effectively one company, they all offer the same crappy service and weak sauce features for the SAME PRICE. They agree between each other how deep to stick it in our asses. Try paying less than 30$ a month for a cell phone service.

i'd LOVE to have a service that charges me based on my use. i make two or three calls a WEEK, all to my girlfriend and all about 1 minute long. "I'm ready", "OK, i'm on my way". i send a text message every two or three days. i'm not a twelve year old girl who has to yammer constantly. Now that i have an iPhone provided my my employer, my usage has changed little. It's not a matter of cost anymore, it's just how i use the tool. When i was paying, i had over 10,000 rollover minutes from a minimal plan. Fuck that. It was a huge waste of money. Here's where you're make another purely argumentative comment like "but you didn't have to have a cell phone".

The pay-as-you-go phones are set up so that you have to keep paying to keep your number. The amount you could spend on a busy week can quickly outstrip that of a monthly plan. It wouldn't kill them to offer a monthly plan for 10$ a month.

Other countries have more competition so they strive to offer better services, more services and better prices. Japan's cell phone system puts ours to shame. They pay less and "get more". We can attribute some of that to Japanese technophilia, but most of it comes from competition. As much as the US obsesses about competition and free market, we don't do it. Powerful companies buy politicians to make laws so that no one else can play.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (1, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865619)

Not if monopoly power robs the consumer of bargaining power.

What monopoly? There's four carriers. At least one of them will let you sign up without any contract [t-mobile.com] what so ever.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28866183)

Not everyone has access to all four major carriers. In my area, the only "good" provider is Verizion - none of the others provide even marginally decent service. The only non-contract option in this area is a prepaid phone.

I supposed its still my fault: I chose to return to my home town rather than move to a larger cellular market for improved service.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (2, Informative)

Zanix (684798) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866527)

If you go online and check out each of the four major carriors, all their plans are pretty much exactly the same. They all charge relatively the exact same prices for everything. The only differences between them are what phones you get to pick from, the contract length, and which part of quality you want. Remember, you can't get both good quality signal and no lost calls. You can't get both full bars everywhere you want to be and some bars everywhere else.

Some of them have something a little special like rollover minutes or the ability to call a certain number of people outside their network(under very special circumstances), but it's more about who you know in each network and not what they offer or what they cost. I have Verizon because all of my family and friends are on Verizon. This means I can call everyone I know for free. But the fact is that with normal competition, prices should have fallen by now and they have not. It doesn't cost them $5 to send 100 text messages but that's what they charge me.

It's like two gas stations across the street from one another. They could get into a price war till neither of them makes any money, or they could silently agreed to charge the same price and split the customers. Next time you see two gas stations across the street from one another, notice if their prices are the same. Unfortunately for most of us, we can't just drive down the street to find a wireless company that isn't silently price fixing.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (4, Interesting)

El Jynx (548908) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865689)

We've got the same discussions going on here across the pond, but we're a bit further along. Several laws have already been passed ordering carriers to stop blocking VoIP and such; in Belgium, iPhones must be sold independently of carriers. I think we're starting to get the mix between government intervention and free market right. On another level, we told the telco's to standardise the power plugs they use; they were given an ultimatum after mass public annoyance at all the different chargers we have, and told to "choose or have it chosen for them". Now micro-USB will be becoming the standard. We're getting there!

It makes me wonder, though. I don't believe in free market anymore. There's just too many loopholes, lobbying being the biggest. And I think the U.S. government has a lot of corruption to stamp out before it can be as flexible as the EU has been hitherto.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28866477)

I don't believe in free market anymore. There's just too many loopholes, lobbying being the biggest.

If government is so involved in the economy that lobbying is worth the effort, then it's not a truly free market. In a real free market, the government simply wouldn't have the power.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (4, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865953)

No, you should have to pay whatever the contract, which you signed voluntarily, in good health and sound mind, stipulates.

This is America! If you have a greivence against a company, you have rights, you know. Your rights are protected by federal, state, and local laws.

1. You have the right to binding arbitration by some bought-off company in Northern Virginia.
2. You have the right to... well, that last one's it, really.

I don't mean to be too flippant, but laws are definitely there to protect the consumer, and that trumps contracts. This is similar to how California finds most non-compete agreements invalid: a hungry person will definitely agree to one during an economic downturn, but it would unfairly prevent them from getting another job later. In this case, all cellphone companies have similar stupid rules, like binding arbitration.

The law is your tool to protect you from that. Don't give up your rights too easily.

WRT to free markets and contracts: I'll believe that *these* contracts fall under free market provisions of binding legal exchange of promises between two equal parties when *they* acknowledge the changes that I had written into the contract before sending it in, or even what the base contract was. Oh look, they've update the terms again. How quaint.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (1)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866603)

The law is your tool to protect you from that. Don't give up your rights too easily.

The law is (or ought to be, unless, maybe, interpreted by 9 "wise Latina women") blind. It is supposed to protect all parties of a contract agreement fairly and equally. The only inequality is when an unclear item is found in the contract — such items are interpreted against the party, that originally crafted the contract.

I'll believe that *these* contracts fall under free market provisions of binding legal exchange of promises between two equal parties when *they* acknowledge the changes that I had written into the contract before sending it

If they began providing you with service without objecting to your changes, then they accepted them — even if you may have to go to court to prove it. Do so — someone, who implores others to "not give up rights so easily", really ought to...

Oh look, they've updated the terms again.

Either you gave them a permission to do that, or you have a right to discontinue service. Seriously, this is not rocket science...

Lastly, just in case this thread leads to an opinion, that private companies are particularly evil with changing contracts on the fly, here are the terms [masspike.com] of governmental quasi-business monopoly in one of the most Illiberal States of the Union:

12. MODIFICATIONS

a) The MTA may change the "FAST LANE Program Terms and Conditions" at any time by giving customers notice thereof. The terms and conditions shall become effective seven (7) days after such notice has been given. No written notice is required, and you hereby waive any requirement that written notice be provided. Such notice may be given through any means, including, but not limited to, advertising such notice in the media, posting such notice on message boards along the MTA's toll roadways, or otherwise, as determined by the MTA. If you have provided an electronic mailing address to the MTA with your application, you authorize that such notice may be provided by sending such notice to that electronic mail address, in the MTA's discretion.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (2, Informative)

Thaelon (250687) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866093)

AT&T's early termination fee is prorated [att.com] .

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (5, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866101)

No, you should have to pay whatever the contract, which you signed voluntarily...

That argument is a codependent enabler for corporate abuses. If all the cell providers are using basically the same language in their contracts, consumers have no effective choice. Try to find a brokerage account that doesn't make you waive your rights to seek redress in the courts. They don't exist, because they're all using the binding arbitration clauses in their contracts. Consumers have no effective choice.

And, always in the background, some pompous, know-it-all dick saying, "If you don't like it, don't sign the contract." If that was the case, you wouldn't have a cell phone, telephone, car, bank account, investment account, 401(K) or internet connection. When companies collude on contract language, they are functioning as a cartel not free market players. When you don't have a choice, it's not a free market.

Stop sticking up for abusive behavior, makes you look like a tool.

Re:Contracts aren't what they used to be... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866145)

And, always in the background, some pompous, know-it-all dick saying, "If you don't like it, don't sign the contract." If that was the case, you wouldn't have a cell phone, telephone, car, bank account, investment account, 401(K) or internet connection. When companies collude on contract language, they are functioning as a cartel not free market players. When you don't have a choice, it's not a free market.

Actually I bought my car with financing from a local credit union that has it's own contracts that don't contain any of the usual (binding arbitration being the big one) anti-consumer clauses. There are choices out there for most of the services that you mentioned -- you just have to look for them.

Re:All I want to see... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865517)

In which case the fee will be increased so that most people still pay $200.

Did they hold a gun to your head when you signed the thing with the obvious non-pro-rated fee? If not why "should" you have to pay less than what you agreed to?

Re:All I want to see... (3, Informative)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865571)

Did you have a snowball's chance in hell of negotiating? Did competitors give them any incentive to be reasonable?

No and no.

Re:All I want to see... (0, Troll)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865709)

Did you have a snowball's chance in hell of negotiating?

Actually, yes, you did. You could have declined the service. Cell phones are not a life essential service. You'd be surprised to discover this but you actually can live without them. Failing that, you could always have gone prepaid. Or signed up for T-Mobile's "flexpay" contract-less option. You just want to use the Government to force a change to a private business model because you don't happen to like it.

Re:All I want to see... (2, Insightful)

dagamer34 (1012833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865873)

Cell phones are NON-essential? That's like saying you don't need a car in to get around in LA or that you can live without air conditioning in Houston. Sure, if you try hard enough, those things CAN happen, but you'd be suffering much more than you think.

Re:All I want to see... (1, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866115)

Cell phones are NON-essential?

Yes, believe it or not, they are. Most people can get through life just fine without being reachable 24/7. If you must have one then don't come whining to me about the contract that you willingly signed. Particularly when there are other options (prepaid, T-Mobile Flexpay) available to you.

Re:All I want to see... (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866591)

I only have a PAYG cell phone that I carry in my bike bag to use if I get stranded out in the middle of nowhere. Haven't used it yet.

Re:All I want to see... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28865965)

You just want to use the Government to force a change to a private business model because you don't happen to like it.

No my wants are much more self centered than that. What I want is to just not have to pay anything but get all the things I want. I'll not be happy until I can pick a cell phone off a tree, as many as I like, that makes calls and SMS and MMS and email and web surfing, all with fully FOSS software that I'll never see the source of but I still want FOSS.

I want it to have a big screen and a fast processor and a long battery life. I do not want any corporate logos on it. I do not want to receive a bill. No contracts. No government tracking of my calls or anything else. No private tracking either.

I do not want to have to look at an ad. I want to be able to run any software I like easily. I want it to have access for me to torrent any file I want at no cost (to me). It should be able to open every file format there is no matter how obscure or pointless. It should not encumber anyone in any way.

Rainforests cannot be cut down for this phone, nor can any whales be killed. Sweatshops shall not have any involvement. There should be a crank on the side I can crank if I run out of battery power. There should also be a solar panel. The manufacturing/growing methods for this phone shall be carbon neutral. Nanotubes should be in some way involved.

It should have a good UI that includes CLI. Multi-touch. Gestures. Handwriting recognition. Stylus capable. If my fingers are slicked over with french fry grease there shall be no ill effects on the screen, either in functionality or appearance.

The phone will be GPS capable with a compass and full access to maps served up by someone else without and ads or logos on them. I should be able to record TV shows on it. The camera will be a collaboration between Hasselblad and Phase One and do 1080p video in a fully FOSS file format unencumbered by patents. The firmware shall all be FOSS. There shall never be any software errors or crashes. Same goes for the hardware.

When such a device is delivered I will be only partially happy, as by that time I will have devised new conditions that will ensure I can feel technologically superior to my peers, who think that their tree grown eco-friendly superphones are the pinnacle of phone development. I, in my wisdom, will find fault, room for improvement, despite that fact that I am entirely incapable of advancing the state of cellular phone, the cellular phone industry, its services, or any other aspect of the human condition.

Re:All I want to see... (3, Informative)

Globe199 (442245) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865983)

This is nonsense. The contract fees are specifically designed to keep you from jumping ship. They don't want you moving to a competitor. They want to be able to abuse you as a consumer and they use the fee as a fear tactic. Jump ship and they still get a ton of money out of you.

It's anti-competitive, pure and simple.

Re:All I want to see... (0, Troll)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866089)

Then don't sign a contract. Get a prepaid phone or sign up with T-Mobile's "flexpay" contract-less option.

See how easy that was?

Re:All I want to see... (2, Informative)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866581)

No, that is technically not correct, although it does happen in the real world. The whole purpose of the ETF (which varies these days on provider, I know ATT is pro rating based on how long you have been on contract) is to recoup the cost of the subsidized device you bought from them, in exchange for a 2 year contract.

Like I said though, what something was meant for, and what it is actually being used for, are two totally different things.

Now I am not going to get into the fact that they abuse the ETF, for people like me who bring their own phones to the table and just purchase a contract, I still get screwed by the ETF....

What I would like to see is someone put the smack down on providers who lock their devices, and then refuse to provide the unlock once you have completed the 2 year term (or 1 year) of your contract. Once you are no longer under contract, you should be able to do whatever the hell you want, or if you pay the unsubsidized price. While Tmobile will do this, ATT will flat out refuse to for whatever reason you can think of, they will say no, so in the end if you want to change providers, you have to purchase a new device, thats absolute crap.

Re:All I want to see... (2, Informative)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866071)

Many cell phone companies (Sprint included) price phones in such a way that the only way one can afford to get service with them is to sign their 2-year contract, which subsidizes the phone. Then, if you are unhappy with the service, you're stuck doling out a large sum of money just to switch to another carrier that might be even worse.

I understand that the company must recoup the money they spent on subsidizing the phone to you, but having to pay the full termination fee whenever you've already fulfilled part (or most) of the contract is absurd.

Re:All I want to see... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866309)

If you were to live within your means you would not have this problem.

you DO NOT NEED a iPhone. a $39.95 baseline nokia phone is enough for anyone... yes you can buy a cellphone for that price unlocked and on the regular market.

If you cant afford to go and buy that $599.00 phone with cash, then YOU CANT AFFORD IT.

Re:All I want to see... (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866665)

While you are correct, you do not need an iphone, you also will not really find any cheap phones for $40, even the go phones are $60, but then again, that is a $20 difference, not a 400 difference.

That being said, the cheapest Nokia handset is the 3110, and its $99 unlocked. If you want any features outside of normal SMS and phone calls, then that number goes up drastically.

Unlocked phones are expensive, even the cheap ones are still expensive.

The purpose of the iphone though (since you used it as an example), is the integrate the devices you use. So sure, you just spent $40 on a cheap phone, then you go out and spend $300 on an ipod, , there goes you savings.

Re:All I want to see... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866457)

My cell phone plan has no termination charge, so signing up for one that does is clearly a choice made by the signer.

Re:All I want to see... Sprint DOES prorate ETF (1)

ahecht (567934) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866073)

Sprint DOES prorate the ETF for all contracts signed after November 2008. However, there is still a minimum of $50, so your ETF after 18 months would be $87.50

See http://nextelonline.nextel.com/en/services/termination_fee/early_termination_fee.shtml [nextel.com]

Re:All I want to see... (1)

dbet (1607261) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866105)

You don't have to pay. They'll bill you again and again, just don't pay. It does not affect credit rating, and the worst they can do is take you to small claims court, but they won't, it's not worth it for such a small amount. Eventually you'll stop getting bothered. There's a chance you will get turned over to a collection agency, you can ignore them too.

Ban on text messaging while driving? (5, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865453)

WTF? I regularly post to slashdot while I'm driving to

Text Messaging is Marked up 7314% (4, Insightful)

popo (107611) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865513)

The Consumerist reported that Verizon text messaging is marked up by 7314% when compared to the relative cost of other data transfer services. Prices for text messages have also risen from .10 to .15 to .20 in recent years, even as the costs of data throughput have decreased.

( http://blogs.consumerreports.org/electronics/2009/06/text-messaging-rates-overpriced-att-aprint-verizon-t-mobile.html [consumerreports.org] )

The reason for this is simple: Greed and collusion.

Consumer Reports has this to say on the subject:

"As CU has noted, less than four years ago rates to send a text message were 10 cents per text at the nation's four big wireless carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. Each company then raised rates to 15 cents, then to 20 cents.

To CU, these text-message rates, along with exclusivity deals for certain cell phones, exemplify the need for âoemore oversightâ into the wireless marketplace, to âoedetermine if government intervention is necessary.â

Re:Text Messaging is Marked up 7314% (1)

alen (225700) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865679)

VZ is like a supermarket and other businesses that sell lossleaders and make it up on other products. in this case a lot of phones are lossleaders because they sell you a phone for less than retail price and make up the difference on the monthly charges. texting is just there for people that want it to help pay for all the phones. once 4G networks come along texting will be free and they will charge for something else.

the cash price of a monthly cell phone contract hasn't changed much in the last 10 years while the number of minutes and other features has increased. A LOT

Subsidized phones are the devil (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866243)

in this case a lot of phones are lossleaders because they sell you a phone for less than retail price and make up the difference on the monthly charges.

You just cited what I believe is the worst aspect of the American cell phone industry as a benefit. I understand a lot of consumers don't want to drop $150-400 on a cell phone at the beginning of their service so it's wise for the cell phone companies to offer plans which dramatically subsidize the price of the phone by spreading it across a 2 year contract. However, if I bring my own phone I can't get a better rate. I still have to pay the "subsidize the phone" rate price even if I already have paid for the phone. And pay as you go rates are generally higher cost per minute than the *regular* plans.

Re:Subsidized phones are the devil (1)

alen (225700) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866297)

that's because you are a small niche and not worth the effort to create a new marketing and rate plan that may have to go through a lengthy approval process by multiple agencies at federal and state levels. The vast majority of people buy new phones every 2 years from the carrier.

Re:Text Messaging is Marked up 7314% (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865687)

My text messaging is free, as is my voicemail and internet. And I don't have to pay minutes, it's a flat $50 per month. It's going to cost over a hundred bucks to replace my stolen phone, though.

Re:Text Messaging is Marked up 7314% (1)

Alt_Cognito (462081) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865857)

I paid a lot less than that for a land-line in the early 90's. There was a more infrastructure to support and that infrastructure was a whole lot more expensive. And, as I think it's been pointed out a number of times, that the cell service you are happy to overpay $50 here is much more advanced outside of the US, though I can't vouch for that myself.

Re:Text Messaging is Marked up 7314% (4, Insightful)

ndavis (1499237) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865717)

I think this is a ploy to get people into lucrative monthly plans where you will almost never send the amount of text messages you need to cost them any money. As an example I sometimes send 150 text messages a month luckily I have a $5 plan that allows 250. However the next three months I might send 5 text messages and Verizon wins as I used no where near that amount.

Saying that I would love to see the companies not be allowed to run one plan that subsidizes the phones even after you ran through the two year contract. I feel I have to get a new phone every two years or I'm ripping myself off as I'm still paying for a phone that I have not received due to the contracts being overpriced.

Re:Text Messaging is Marked up 7314% (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866049)

We have to get the telecommunication providers to be just infrastructure providers connecting us, like for the Internet, being neutral of the content.
Or someone should create a 3G network (or something similar) that just allows painless twitter, blogging, im, email and maybe skype/voip.
I mean, obviously we need text-messaging, email and IM more than anything else?

Re:Text Messaging is Marked up 7314% (1)

alen (225700) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866209)

Apple and AT&T tried this with the original iPhone and it failed. The original iPhone plan was cheaper than the current one but you had to pay $600 for a new phone. When they went to the normal model where AT&T sold it below cost and made up for it over 2 years sales went through the roof.

Banning texting at the federal level (3, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865519)

On the one hand, texting while driving is about as dangerous as drinking and driving. It takes eyes and concentration off the road and puts everyone else at risk. It is an activity that ought to be illegal.

But first of all, do we want the federal government having that kind of control over the states? The actions taken by the federal government ought to be carefully weighed with the impact it will have on all states. National defense, public educational standards, immigration and border controls, healthcare. These are the things that Washington ought to be concerned about. Not some 16 year old field hockey player driving her mom's Durango with her boyfriend's hands between her knees and her eyes on her iPhone.

Secondly, what are we actually defining as texting? Technology changes so rapidly that a measure like this can only be relevant for a short time.

Leave the texting laws to the states. Don't let the federal government bully the states into making the laws.

Re:Banning texting at the federal level (1, Troll)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865649)

National defense, and immigration and border controls. These are the things that Washington ought to be concerned about.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Banning texting at the federal level (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28865707)

I notice that 'highway funding' is not on your list of things the federal government should care about. So if a state does not pass a texting ban, the federal government will not fund their highways, and that state has moved one step closer to your ideal. Where's the problem?

Re:Banning texting at the federal level (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865749)

But first of all, do we want the federal government having that kind of control over the states?

This is nothing new. The Fed collects the money from the states and then uses it as a stick in order to push their will back onto the states. Sure, it was the states money to begin with, but the only way to get it back is to comply with whatever the Fed wants the state to do.

IMHO, the likely upcoming of legalization in CA will be very fun to watch. Federal agents can (and most likely will) keep arresting those who are using pot, while it's completely legal in the state. Hopefully more and more states will start giving the finger to the Fed and do what's in their best interest and not some random law passed from on high in DC.

Re:Banning texting at the federal level (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865789)

Federal agents can (and most likely will) keep arresting those who are using pot, while it's completely legal in the stat

Actually they'll probably arrest those who are engaged in the business of selling pot, not those who are merely using it. Your point is still valid though.

Hopefully more and more states will start giving the finger to the Fed and do what's in their best interest and not some random law passed from on high in DC.

A few of them are trying to. It's not just pot [time.com] either....

Re:Banning texting at the federal level (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865867)

Secondly, what are we actually defining as texting? Technology changes so rapidly that a measure like this can only be relevant for a short time.

Exactly, if there is any banning/law making to do, it should be towards the use of the (type of) device entirely while the vehicle is in motion. Do you get a larger fine if you are talking, than texting?

Officer: Do you know how many characters you sent?

Re:Banning texting at the federal level (4, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866021)

Texting while driving is already illegal in all 50 states.

It's called reckless driving [wikipedia.org] .

This new requirement is just posturing. It's a waste of time, effort, and money. It also contributes to the growing problem of federal law being vast and un-knowable by any single individual.

Go congress!

Re:Banning texting at the federal level (3, Informative)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866117)

On the one hand, texting while driving is about as dangerous as drinking and driving. It takes eyes and concentration off the road and puts everyone else at risk. It is an activity that ought to be illegal.

Actually, it's worse. Car and Driver did a test comparing the two [caranddriver.com] , and they found that text messaging while driving is worse than driving while intoxicated.

The reason? My guess is that when you're driving buzzed, at least you're (hopefully) giving the road your undivided attention.

Re:Banning texting at the federal level (1)

Mephistophlese (231251) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866181)

>

But first of all, do we want the federal government having that kind of control over the states? The actions taken by the federal government ought to be carefully weighed with the impact it will have on all states.

The federal government already exerts this type of control over states legislation without using federal mandated law.
Let's examine the current drinking age as a case study.

The federal government commisioned a study which found that raising the drinking age from 18 to 21 would have a direct influence on decreasing the amount and severity of automobile accidents for young adults. Citing this study the government wanted to increase the drinking age, but that was traditionally held at state levels. Instead of mandating a federal drinking age of 21 the government did the next best thing: withheld federal transportation repair funds for any state with a drinking age lower than 21 after a certain date.

Effect - States needed the federal monies for road repair work thus the drinking age was increase at the state level.

Re:Banning texting at the federal level (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866371)

On the one hand, texting while driving is about as dangerous as drinking and driving. It takes eyes and concentration off the road and puts everyone else at risk. It is an activity that ought to be illegal.

Really? I guarantee I can point to about 500 text messages that I sent while traveling at 70-100mph and all were very safe.

They all were sent by my PC that was sending GPS coordinates and telemetry during a rally race. Under the laws proposed, I'll be arrested for texting while driving.

The Small cell telcos did it to themselves (0)

alen (225700) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865549)

few years ago all phones were about the same in features and people shopped based on price and coverage. Sprint decided to bottom feed the market with it's pay cash in the store machines to cater to illegals and people who don't have bank accounts or internet access.

VZ and AT&T helped to invest in new phones by giving money to Apple and RIM in exchange for exclusive agreements.We're now in a market cycle where people want a good phone that can do everything since coverage is about the same everywhere.Sprint and T-Mobile are screwed because they cater to bottom feeders and now they're complaining. they want the new phones without paying to develop them. AT&T paid Apple almost a billion $$$ to develop the iPhone.

Sprint's answer was to fund the Pre which is still in beta. no wonder no one was allowed to see it before launch. if Sprint and T-Mobile want customers they need to help pay for a nice phone on their network with a decent release and all features working. Unlike the Pre which was a disaster. Check all the stories on BoyGeniusReport. Sprint screwed up and is now running to the government.

Re:The Small cell telcos did it to themselves (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865667)

Sprint and T-Mobile are screwed because they cater to bottom feeders and now they're complaining.

How is T-Mobile "screwed"? If you live somewhere where they have good coverage (most urban areas and quite a few suburban ones) they are a great option. Much more affordable than Verizon or AT&T and much better customer service.

Re:The Small cell telcos did it to themselves (1)

alen (225700) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865889)

exactly, my mom has a cheapo phone that only makes phone calls

we're starting a market cycle where people want nice smart phones like the iphone, pre, or one of the others. Sprint and T-Mobile have mostly cheapo phones. if you want the iphone you go to AT&T. If you want a BB Tour you go to Verizon, but i think Sprint has a few as well. People are even willing to pay extra for these phones. Apple is selling iphones as fast as it can make them and it's well past the cult of steve core customers.

Sprint got the idea and helped pay for the Pre. T-Mobile had and exclusive on the BB 8900 which was a piece of junk and not even 3G.

If Sprint and T-Mobile want to succeed they need to pony up cash to help pay R&D costs for nice smartphones if they don't want to bottom feed the market anymore.

there is a $49 iPhone on sale now because Apple can think ahead further than the next quarter and Sprint and T-Mobile with their crappy phone selections are running to the goverenment

Re:The Small cell telcos did it to themselves (1)

Minimalist360 (1258970) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865915)

Also, AT&T drops a shit ton of calls compared to T-Mobile. At least here.

Re:The Small cell telcos did it to themselves (2, Insightful)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866557)

wow. what a twisted way to blame the small timers.

Of the three of the 'big four', I have shitty experience with AT&T and Verizon. They have "the best network/fewest dropped calls" only in their ads. Don't get me started on their pathetic customer service, their lock-ins, they charges. T-mobile is godsend compared to those two.

Now talking about your 'great phones' argument - in my opinion, that is the crux of the problem. In fact, AT&T and Verizon are out-muscling other small time providers just because they have big bucks and get the 'best' (I wont call them the best, but that's another discussion) phones, and in turn, screwing up others who don't have that much of money.

Fuck 'free' phones - they are never 'free'. and fuck AT&T and Verizon. I will never ever do business with them - even if I have to give up my mobile phone.

No Text messaging while driving! (3, Funny)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865551)

What's next I won't be able to brush my teeth or shave while I drive either.

Re:No Text messaging while driving! (1)

The Redster! (874352) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866221)

Or floss! (Never thought I'd see that one -- bad driver, but going above and beyond on the hygiene!)

Laws against text messaging while driving (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865681)

It is a terrible abuse of power for the U.S. Congress to try and force states to ban text messaging while driving. I have no problem with states doing so, but it is something that should be done at the state level not at the federal level.
One of the advantages of the U.S. system is that various states can try different approaches to address problems, each with their own idea of the best way to fix the problem. Then other states can adopt the approach that best solves the problem with the fewest negative unintended consequences.
I am not convinced that there needs to be (or should be) laws against text messaging while driving. Text messaging is only one of many things that should not be done while driving (applying makeup, reading a book/newspaper, sorting one's CDs, etc). It should not be necessary to pass a law specifically against these things, but if it is, it should be done at the state level.

Re:Laws against text messaging while driving (2, Insightful)

Weeksauce (1410753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866131)

Isn't this similar to the 21 year old drinking age though? State laws dictate the actual drinking age (hence why you can have a beer at 18 with your parents in a resteraunt in Texas); however, don't expect to get federal road funding if it's not 21. Not saying that I agree with it, but the 21 year old drinking age is something that's widley accepted and rarely critized.

Re:Laws against text messaging while driving (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866383)

I disagree with that one as well. The first time Congress stuck its nose into states' business using federal highway funds was the 55 mph speed limit.
These types of laws are a bad idea and should be opposed. People constantly want to use the power of the federal government to stick their noses into issues that are none of their business. If people in the neighboring state want to allow text messaging while driving, that is their right (I think it is a bad idea, but I don't live there, so I don't get a say).
Now as someone else has pointed out, text messaging while driving is reckless driving, which is already illegal in most if not all states. I am pretty sure that if a cop gave a reckless driving ticket to someone who was texting while driving, it would stick in every state that has such a statute.

Re:Laws against text messaging while driving (1)

Weeksauce (1410753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866695)

My issue with texting while driving is that not for the concern of the individual who is texting but of the innocent bystandard who faces the consequences of said texters actions. Unlike wearing a seatbelt while driving, you're not endangering the your life as much as that of another.

Freedom should never be granted at the expense of anothers.

Re:Laws against text messaging while driving (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866223)

The states are completely free to do whatever they want (with regards to texting). All they need to do is say 'we don't want your money'. Is it a terrible abuse of your power to decide who to donate money to based on some criteria you set up?

Re:Laws against text messaging while driving (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866509)

I am sure there should be laws against text messaging while driving, but I agree it shouldn't be at the federal level, and that text messaging isn't the only thing you shouldn't do while driving. But text messaging is something that's done a lot more often than applyijng makeup while driving, and worse it's done more often by young, inexperienced drivers than people who have been behind the wheel for ten years.

You could get pulled over for careless driving or worse if you're reading a book while driving. Anything that forces you to take your eyes off the road should be illegal.

Re:Laws against text messaging while driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28866651)

It is a terrible abuse of power for the U.S. Congress to try and force states to ban text messaging while driving.

"Terrible abuse of power?" GMAFB. Its a minor imposition of a standard with no downside for anyone. Whining about common sense actions like this just because the Big Evil Federal Government is behind them is why Libertarians are viewed as crackpots.

technology gap? (1)

MollyB (162595) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865729)

What if people who feel the need to text while driving are provided with a "heads-up" keyboard display on their windshields like fighter pilots have? Entering text could be a simulation of "shooting" the desired virtual key via buttons on the steering wheel.

Not practical at the moment, I'll admit, but it would be easier than prying the devices out of folks' hands. Think of all the fun that could be had by blasting away at the idiot in front of you. Stress reliever?

Disclaimer: I do not own a cell phone and behoove all drivers to concentrate on that task.

Re:technology gap? (1)

Alt_Cognito (462081) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865887)

Better yet, give people the ability to simply "shoot" text messages to the person in the car ahead of you - "You !@$#$!$, stop cutting me off!"

Re:technology gap? (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865913)

Heads up displays do help keep the eyes on the road, better than looking at a screen in one's lap. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WGR-4CYNN20-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=2052654b82aa1ddd87883c50d4c2ccaf [sciencedirect.com] . But paying attention to a HUD is still less responsive than watching the darn road. If you have a moment, the next time you're in your car, focus your eyes on the windshield, which is what you're doing when you look at a HUD. You aren't, generally watching, or seeing the road clearly, you're seeing the inside of the car.

Stopping text messaging while driving (1)

thewiz (24994) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865761)

I'm afraid that the only way to prevent people from texting while driving is for the companies to shutdown that feature, permanently.
But, as it is a large cash-cow for them, they will not do that as a preventative measure. Quite a few people will die in accidents where someone was texting and studies will have to be done to show what we already know - if you want to talk or text someone, pull over to the side of the road FIRST. Don't drive distracted; the life you save may be someone you know.

Re:Stopping text messaging while driving (3, Insightful)

dagamer34 (1012833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865917)

How would the phone know if a person is driving as opposed to sitting in the passenger's seat. It's almost as bad as car navigation systems that refuse to allow you to put in a new address while driving, even if there's a 2nd person in the car.

Re:Stopping text messaging while driving (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866013)

Insurance companies could help. They should have a clause that nullifies the policy if the driver was using a cell phone or texting near the time of the crash.

Re:Stopping text messaging while driving (1)

TheUnknownOne (810624) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866373)

And what if I give my phone to my friend in the passenger seat to answer my call? How would they no if it was me or him that was talking? Should I not have insurance coverage because my friend was talking on my phone?

Re:Stopping text messaging while driving (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866427)

Prove it was the driver.

I hand my phone to my wife a lot for her to answer. If some numb-nut side swiped me when she was on the phone, Insurance looks at the phone records, sees a call on mine and nullifies the insurance?

No thanks.

Shariah for text messaging while driving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28865777)

Do it like they do over there...

Amputate at the wrist anyone caught texting while driving.

34 states (1)

Loki_1929 (550940) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865801)

"There is also legislation in the works that would require states to impose a ban on text messaging while driving or lose a significant portion of their federal highway funding."

This is the same crap the Fedgov pulled when their attempts to force a minimum drinking age on states got shot down in court. It's time 34 states got together for a constitutional convention and crammed an Amendment down the Feds' throats to put an end to stuff like this. It can be narrow in scope to just cover the highway funds, but the effect will be that the Fedgov will be put back in its place and will have to think twice before trying to push the states around again.

*Yawn* (0, Redundant)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865833)

On antitrust, the Obama Administration seems to be just looking for something to do. They're looking at going after Google over... precisely what? The fact that they produce a lot of free apps which any small, dedicated team of developers could reasonably reproduce and integrate? Some are clamoring for action against Apple because they are the only player with an integrated consumer content sales and delivery system that the public really wants? Now they're going after wireless providers when there are still several major players on the market all because of text messaging fees?

Here's a thought, take the phone away from your tween daughters if they're racking up 800-900 texts a month. Or better yet, get an unlimited plan and just deal with it. Are we so damn poor that we'll mess with the market because theoretically someone could be paying $35/month instead of $50/month for an unlimited texting plan for an entire family?

Re:*Yawn* (1)

tb2007 (1418641) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866023)

I want to lease a Ferrari F430....its only going to be like 10k a month. That's not so different from the $0 a month I pay now for my car, so how about you pickup the difference since you don't seem to care about the price differences.

Re:*Yawn* (1)

Weeksauce (1410753) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866235)

How can you not say that there is collusion and anti-trust practices going on with text-messaging. A study was posted on /. a while back that it is less expensive per byte of information sent to the hubble than a text message.

Collusion is clearly seen in Apple's recent ban on the Google Voice application that allows for free texting over a data plan that YOU THE CONSUMER ARE PAYING FOR. Furthemore, how can you justify the price increases over the years for the same product? Technology works by decreasing prices while at the same time increasing service, not by offering the exact same service at a higher price over time.

Is there a state which doesn't yield to coercion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28865853)

You're free not to ban text messaging at the wheel, but if you don't, we cut your funding. We can't legally regulate this ourselves, but we'll be damned if we allow you to exercise your constitutional rights without repercussions. Is there a state which stands up to this?

Do You Hear That? (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 5 years ago | (#28865875)

Well do you? That's the Fat Lady tuning up to sing the funeral dirge for the telecoms death grip on the wireless industry.

Let the blade of the guillotine fall and fall again! Make them feel the icy bite of the steel on their flesh, realizing the cold hard fact: Don't piss off the paying public, you may wind up in the ditch.

m4are (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28866001)

The rain..we can be youmr own beer

Why doesn't monthly cost go down with no phone... (5, Interesting)

giltnerj0 (210486) | more than 5 years ago | (#28866047)

I use Verizon atm, and I noticed that if you open an account, and get a subsidized phone by signing a 2 year agreement you get whatever the rate is. Why, after two years, when theoretically you have paid for the subsidized phone, doesn't your monthly bill go down. Now if you upgrade the phone after 2 years with a 2year renewal, I can see keeping the price the same. But otherwise, they should be required to tell you how much of what you are paying each month is going to paying for the phone, and drop that cost when the phone is paid for.
Also, if you bring your own phone, you don't get a reduced rate, you just don't have to sign up for 2 years.

Someone should bring up UK pricing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28866157)

In the UK you can buy data services MUCH cheaper than here in the US.

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