Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

AT&T: Meet the New US GSM Monopoly

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the for-some-values-of-monopoly dept.

AT&T 189

itwbennett writes "Why should consumers care about the AT&T/T-mobile merger? Already, Verizon has dropped unlimited data plans and the US trails Japan, South Korea, and others in variety and performance of mobiles. Don't think for a second that those aren't the direct result this new monopoly, says blogger Tom Henderson. '...Those pesky State agencies that used to have regulatory authority has been usurped by the US Federal Government,' writes Henderson. 'This wasn't an accident. Who would you rather deal with, 43 different state regulatory authorities, or those convenient people on Capitol Hill?'"

cancel ×

189 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Where's the "corruption" tag? (4, Insightful)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624984)

It certainly seems appropriate for this article.

Re:Where's the "corruption" tag? (3, Funny)

Slack0ff (590042) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625020)

let's just throw the bill gates/borg icon on it too.

Re:Where's the "corruption" tag? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625122)

I haven't seen a nickname tossed around for this practice, where someone is paying off their congresscritters to pass laws. Isn't there a nice short little name for this practice, beyond the obvious ones like "bribery" or "purchased legislation" etc?

Re:Where's the "corruption" tag? (3, Insightful)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625246)

Politics

Re:Where's the "corruption" tag? (1)

jaymz666 (34050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625278)

lobbying?

Re:Where's the "corruption" tag? (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626148)

How about "corporuption".

762de5375ca1550f2c0cd61ee898260c81a342dd62071023af0a53c076f6e76d

Re:Where's the "corruption" tag? (1)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626458)

added that for you

free market (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625060)

I'm sure the free market will take care of this issue.

Re:free market (1)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625120)

Open up spectrum so that smaller telecoms and bigger non-telecoms (Google Towers?) could easily launch a network and it certainly would.
Competition is the reason that other companies have better mobile infrastructure, not regulation.

Re:free market (5, Insightful)

CyprusBlue113 (1294000) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625214)

Umm, no, it is the regulation of the single tech spectrum that is exactly why other countries have better mobile infrastructure, not stupidly creating more islands of spectrum.

Re:free market (2)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625622)

My understanding is that the EU uses spectrum auctions and has fragmented frequency blocks like we do, they're just spread across more competing companies.
With the M&A activity in the wireless sector it increasingly like the wireline sector did decades ago.
When that monopoly was broken up and more carriers were allowed to set up shop long distance prices dropped from around .25 to .05 per minute within the decade and hundreds of regional and national carriers popped up.
Wireless would be even easier to break up since there is no physical base of millions of miles of copper to divide up. The FCC would just need to lower the barriers to entry. Unfortunately too many politicians are already in the pockets of the big two end-game wireless providers, and too many people like yourself think that the answer is to give more power to those bought and paid for politicians by adding more regulation.

the trick (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625394)

is to sell about the spectrum close to each other to multiple operators, on same technology, and using regulatory powers to make their mergers impossible. it's funny because you can buy prepaid here with a dongle for 39e, and pay monthly or weekly(like 7e, or more like 4 e once you count the charge up discounts, which are basically in effect almost all year). also, if you'd into paranoid anon stuff, well, nothing connects you to that line until you charge it up. and if the weather is good you can do 250kbyte/s all friggin week (in good coverage, if you opt for speed cap to 1mbit it's actually cheaper, too). we started with data caps over here too, paying 20e for 100mbyte in a month. but that's almost 10 years ago and this is 2011 - the future where you can just walk into a kiosk and buy a megabit connection and use it to download tens of gigabytes, even hundreds, in a month.

Re:free market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625150)

with no competition??? wussa u be sayin???

Re:free market (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625284)

Well, this is a free country which allows me the right to bitch and moan about it.

Of course, to actually do something about it, well, I can just write my Congressman and speak my ming about it and he'll take care of it!

Yes siree Bob! We're liv'in in a free country and I don't have to worry about some armed gangs coming and taking my money away, no siree! And unlike those pinko socialist countries that have government run companies and no choices, I have a choice of two carriers with terms and conditions that are identical - but it's still a choice! So there! And if I don't like it, I have a choice not to buy it! That's what I did with cable. I have a choice of one carrier (thank God for the free markets in the US of A!) and I choose not to. No TV period! I thought about creating a competitor but the damn Government regulations (that the cable companies lobbied hard for) keeps me from doing it! Plus, I don't have the connections with the money class to finance it anyway. Damn Government! Creating these laws out of the blue just to screw over business!

Yes siree, I'm free.

Re:free market (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626632)

Hm, is there any country where public companies have a monopoly on cellphone networks? There are enough networks and they appeared late enough into the whole privatization craze that I doubt any country has a govt monopoly there outside of maybe a few fringe countries that are generally terrible compared to the western world.

Re:free market (5, Insightful)

__Reason__ (181288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625410)

AT&T is a bit like the liquid metal terminator from Terminator 2. You can break it into little pieces, but somehow, eventually, it'll find a way to reassemble itself and become a monopoly again.

Re:free market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626664)

Stephen Colbert [youtube.com] beat you to that punch line 4 years ago.

Re:free market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625436)

It sure has. They bought up all the regulators so now they are free to manage the market in the US. The problem is that the industry is partially regulated -> once you pervert the invisible hand you can no longer rely on it's magical ability to organize resources. Oh no you cry it must be regulated or else no one would manage to carry RF signals cleanly... ok then STFU and regulate it realistically. That means ensuring a competitive market can exist... the regulators have failed at this from the get go - we got a variety of standards instead of a variety of providers. Works out well for the investors in the industry who all have, had, or will have jobs in the regulatory bodies. Oh no you cry without the industry experts on the regulatory boards there will be no experts on the board ... ok then you need to either have an outsider on the industry who is an expert on markets or an insider in the industry who agrees to dump any stock or other positions they have in industry stock AND agree not to take nor accept any stock or other positions in the industry for say five years after they leave the regulatory body. Don't like that either? Go learn something useful before you open your mouth again.

Re:free market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625924)

I prefer the Adam Smith sense of "free market" rather than the Milton friedman sense, and really wish it *would* take care of the issue.

A free market should be a "market free from monopoly power, business fraud, political insider dealing and special privileges for vested interests"

Re:free market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626020)

It did. T-Moble in the US went out of business because they couldn't attract customers or turn a profit.

Re:free market (1)

Changa_MC (827317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626660)

It did. T-Moble in the US went out of business because they couldn't attract senators or steal enough tax dollars.

FTFY.

incoming calls (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625116)

Are you, Americans are still paying for incoming calls and SMSes?

Re:incoming calls (2)

vranash (594439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625240)

In a word: Yes. Thankfully I've got unlimited text now, but unless you want to spend 100+ dollars a month you won't have unlimited talk/text, and LIMITED data (5gb) will put you up to 150+ for a single user (family plans lower this slightly but not a whole lot. 70+ dollars per phone, plus 30 each for data. And that's T-Mobile/Verizon's prices, not ATT)

Re:incoming calls (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625388)

I was pricing phone plans with Verizon just yesterday, actually and I was able to get "Unlimited" data + Unlimited Text + 400 anytime minutes + free nights and weekends + free mobile-to-mobile (I assume within Verizon's network) for $79.99. Since I'm at work where they provide me with a phone all day, 400 any time minutes is virtually unlimited when you consider all the calls during the night and weekend and to other verizon users don't count against it. That's almost half of your "150+" number.

Re:incoming calls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625546)

In Yurop/Poland i'm using very low end 'pre paid plan'. Everywhere in Europe u don't pay for incoming calls/SMSes.

My basic costs:
20 cents/min for outgoing calls
3$/month for 200mb of fast internet and after that unlimited but throttled to 2 kb/sek.
Plus options 'pay 1-2$ for 200 SMSes or 1 hour of talking'.

Re:incoming calls (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625928)

This is incorrect. I'm a T-Mobile customer. I have unlimited talk/text and supposedly unlimited data (which I believe becomes "slow" at around 5GB). My monthly bill is officially $79.99 (no contract). Additionally, I can use my Nexus S phone as a mobile wi-fi hotspot so I can connect to the interwebz using my netbook wherever I have phone signal. Granted, there are some taxes on top but it still comes in well under $100. For equivalent service on AT&T, I would in fact pay $150 a month -- roughly double. I'm pissed about this merger.

Try Sprint (2)

toadlife (301863) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626334)

For various reasons (one being the impending AT&T merger) I recently switched from T-Mobile to Sprint.

They have plans that give you 500 minutes with unlimited text and data for 69.99 (59.99 + 10.00 smart phone addon).

You have to sign up with this (not really) secret method to get the plan for 59.99...
http://mcguireslaw.com/2008/07/16/psst-have-you-heard-about-everything-plus/ [mcguireslaw.com]

With my wife constantly calling me and the long conversations I have with my Dad, at first I was afraid that 500 minutes would not be enough, but part of their plan is unlimited mobile to mobile and it applies to ANY mobile phone; even those from other carriers and it applies to incoming calls from mobiles.

This month I used about 41 minutes of my 500.

If the majority of people you talk to are on mobiles in the U.S., then I would look at Sprint.

Their data network seems to be a little less robust than Verizon or At&Ts, but for the first time ever I have 3G in my rural area and can steam Pandora/Slacker on my way to work - something I could never dream of with T-Mobile and the EDGE/GPRS connections they provide outside of dense urban areas.

Now I'm just hoping Sprint doesn't collapse as a result of the merger.

Yes, thanks to the Magic of the Free Market! (4, Insightful)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626296)

Having a market dominated by a smaller number of larger companies is the ideal capitalist system according to rightist ideology. This is why they like mergers and hate it when antitrust laws are enforced. In this way, the few remaining companies don't have to deal with as much of that pesky "competition" thing, and through economies of scale they can deliver better goods for less money. At least, that's the excuses libertarians and conservatives usually give me.

This is also part of the reason why I argue that they are not in fact capitalists, but rather neo-feudalists.

Re:incoming calls (0)

amorsen (7485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626722)

Are you, Americans are still paying for incoming calls and SMSes?

Paying for incoming calls is the only sane solution. Otherwise you end up without number portability between fixed and mobile lines and you punish the fixed line providers because they have to pay a fortune for outgoing calls to cell phones while they get practically no compensation for incoming calls. You get a market where there is a large disconnect between price paid by the user and the cost to the operator, and that kind of disconnect leads to inflated prices.

More like greed made Verizon drop the unl plan (1)

Gohtar (1829140) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625124)

I don't understand how anyone can draw the conclusion that the merger caused Verizon to drop the unlimited plan. If anything I would think it would encourage them to keep the unlimited plan to directly compete with the new merger. Seems to me that it is more greed for money that caused the change.

Re:More like greed made Verizon drop the unl plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625252)

Think about this going through the mind of an executive: "*they* don't have an unlimited plan; now we don't have to have one either..."

Re:More like greed made Verizon drop the unl plan (1)

blargster (239820) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625392)

I don't understand how anyone can draw the conclusion that the merger caused Verizon to drop the unlimited plan. If anything I would think it would encourage them to keep the unlimited plan to directly compete with the new merger.

Seems to me that it is more greed for money that caused the change.

I agree - I just don't see the connection.

Re:More like greed made Verizon drop the unl plan (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626604)

The reason why it's more likely is that they don't want to compete. When you've got an oligopoly, it's advantageous to compete as minimally as possible. With T-mobile out of the picture, there would be no reason to continue to provide an unlimited plan. Unlimited plans certainly aren't any more profitable than ones with limits. They could just set the included amount somewhat higher than AT&T and pocket the extra money that they aren't having to spend on bandwidth costs.

Sure, it's somewhat fallacious to suggest that it's inevitable, but I'd be very surprised if it didn't play out like that just after Verizon buys Sprint in order to remain competitive.

Re:More like greed made Verizon drop the unl plan (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626654)

When your largest competitor is charging for data, you have no incentive to give it away for free. In fact in this day and age, you might even open yourself up to share holder lawsuits for fiscal mismanagement (giving away for free what you could be generating revenue on). As a customer, your only recompense to being price gouged is to take your business elsewhere. When there is no where else to take your business, or everyone else who you would take your business to is also gouging you, you are stuck. That dynamic is what gave Verizon the green light to ditch their unlimited data plans.

keep voting for them! (2)

regimechange (2287586) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625130)

Keep voting in the Republicans and Democrats! They clearly have your interests in mind!

Re:keep voting for them! (4, Insightful)

ISoldat53 (977164) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625366)

We have a two party system. The Sold and the For Sale.

We know what happens... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625148)

Eventually, you land on their property and have to pay for staying at their hotel.

Re:We know what happens... (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625940)

mod parent up.

Re:We know what happens... (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626520)

Or you can go directly to jail. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

(What greedy company wouldn't want it be illegal to not have their services.)

Capitol Hill (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625194)

For all your one-stop shopping needs.

Ever notice how few people are really paying attention? How along the campaign trail nobody ever asks an important question like, "Would you oppose an AT&T / T-Mobile merger which really harms competition in the US?"

They had an Ohio farmer on the news, back when W was running for re-election, when asked which was more important, Social Issues or Economic Issues, the farmer said, "As long has be works to block abortion, he doesn't mind if a few eggs get broken." Really. Wonder how he's doing on that farm after the Bank Collapse. When are people going to wake up and realize they have put far too much focus on a social agenda and too little on Business and Economic issues which affect them to more devastating effect?

I suppose someone, somewhere is fine with the merger, as long as their important Social Agenda gets lip service.

Re:Capitol Hill (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625516)

Really. Wonder how he's doing on that farm after the Bank Collapse

Probably quite well, since food prices and futures have risen solidly (since he's in Ohio if he's farming wheat, corn, orsoy -- ZW, ZC, ZS -- he's probably pretty happy).

Re:Capitol Hill (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625860)

Really. Wonder how he's doing on that farm after the Bank Collapse

Probably quite well, since food prices and futures have risen solidly (since he's in Ohio if he's farming wheat, corn, orsoy -- ZW, ZC, ZS -- he's probably pretty happy).

As long as he didn't have a mortgage on his property and his customers paid him for his harvest, that is entirely possible.

During the late 1970's a lot of farmers lost everything, thanks to economic issues in banking (skyrocketing interest rates, double digit inflation, revenues not keeping up with costs)

Re:Capitol Hill (1)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626332)

As long as he didn't have a mortgage on his property and his customers paid him for his harvest, that is entirely possible.

How is he hurt if he has a mortgage? Banks having problems don't just automatically make people lose their properties. Now if people were foolish and had huge payments they couldn't afford (and never could have afforded) or no downpayment loans AND an ARM, yeah, they might be in trouble.

But no, if he -- like the majority of people -- had a standard fixed rate loan, he probably is just fine. Don't forget that inflation helps fixed debts (like a 30-year mortgage) become less important. I'm paying (eg) $1000/mon for my house now. In 25 years, is $1000 going to be as important to me (or, more importantly, is $1000 in 25 going to be worth as much as $1000 today)? I think it's an incredibly safe bet to say "no."

Businessmen always have to deal with the vagaries of business and payment. No reason to think that the last X years are any different from the Y years before them, in that regard.

During the late 1970's a lot of farmers lost everything, thanks to economic issues in banking (skyrocketing interest rates, double digit inflation, revenues not keeping up with costs)

Sure, which is actually largely the opposite of what we have right now -- tanking interest rates (Krugman recently propsed negative interest rates), high inflation for consumables, loan inflation for property/housing costs, and for farmers futures markets that are zipping upwards.

It's a good time to be a farmer.

Re:Capitol Hill (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626550)

Not really... Farmers have to compete with large agribusinesses that have access to patented crops that grow with fewer resources spent. Larger businesses have economies of scale on their side.

Trying the "organic" route might work, but there are only so many farmer's markets, so trying to compete against large businesses who can flood the market with dirt cheap crops is becoming more and more difficult.

Farmers are becoming an endangered species. Especially due to the fact that land is becoming more and more valuable, even if the farm is just passed from speculator to speculator.

Re:Capitol Hill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625590)

When are people going to wake up and realize they have put far too much focus on a social agenda and too little on Business and Economic issues which affect them to more devastating effect?

So, business and economic issues are important to you? Well, the Party of Business* (TM) is for you! The Party of Business supports business! And, of course, Bigger Business is Better Business, so naturally the Party of Business supports this merger.

* I'm not going to say which party is the Party of Business. It could be either of them, not necessarily the one you're thinking of.

Re:Capitol Hill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626426)

I've come to one basic conclusion over the past decade.

That true progress, meaning, problems across the entire spectrum of modern civilization actually getting solved by our elected officials and policy implementation, and the overall quality of life improving across ALL sectors of society, would result in the majority of people psychologically breaking down due to the realization that what they thought was true freedom and a good standard of living, weren't.

I don't think people actually want progress. They like the idea of it, things getting easier, eqaulity across variables, a just reality, but to have such a thing would require them to change part of their lives, including their perspective on the world. For a lot of people, that is too much to ask.

Re:Capitol Hill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626586)

While I'm no fan of AT&T or of this merger, I don't really think that the answer is to have 48 different government bureaucracies, either.

Verizon's unlimted... (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625220)

...never was unlimited. So spinning this into 'the end of Verizon's unlimited plan is spurred by ATT monopoly" is a pretty lame argument.

Re:Verizon's unlimted... (1)

space_jake (687452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625402)

Care to define unlimited? If you don't have a tethering plan you can download/upload to your heart's content. If you do have a tethering plan you're capped at 5 GB. However they'll throttle your bandwidth regardless of your plan.

Re:Verizon's unlimted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625564)

...as opposed to "Verizon and ATT increase profits due to governemnt sponsored decreases in competition"? Does that read better?

Finally caught up to Canada (1)

DemonGenius (2247652) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625234)

Not only are we at parity for the dollar, we are now at parity for corporate telecom monopolies! Canada and USA, BFFs for life!

I think I ruptured my spleen from all the excessive sarcasm...

Re:Finally caught up to Canada (1)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625380)

I'm not sure which Canada you live in, but I just signed up on Wind Mobile who is NOT part of the telecom cartel, and I get unlimited text, talk AND data for around $45. The network quality is shit compared to Rogers, but I'm still glad to be done supporting the cartel.

Re:Finally caught up to Canada (1)

DemonGenius (2247652) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625806)

Yeah, come back and talk to me when Wind is nationwide, maybe then I'll retract my statement. Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa isn't even close to being all of Canada. I live in a major city and I've been waiting for Wind since they came to Canada. One more thing I should add is Wind has rural roaming agreements with the big three, so unless you stay in the city your whole life and never leave, you will end up using the services of these providers at some point. It's like me saying, "I don't use Bell, I got MTS!". Think about that one [howardforums.com] .

But it saves the TelCos money! (1)

trunicated (1272370) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625248)

They only have to bribe one guy instead of 50! The consolidation makes it so that they can spend more money on this individual, while spending less overall.

I'm sure they pass that value on to the consumer, too!

Idiotic article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625262)

Another idiotic article.

DoMoCo owns 50% or the Japanese wireless market. SK Telecom owns 50% of the Korean wireless market.

AT&T/T-Mobile USA combined don't even come close to that level of market concentration.

Re:Idiotic article (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625660)

they're arguing a duopoly. what's the combined market share if you add up Verizon + ATT/Tmobile?

Re:Idiotic article (1)

doctrbl (306815) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626082)

Maybe you missed the acronym GSM there. Or are there scads of smaller GSM providers in the US?

US telecom trailing others isn't a fair assessment (1)

blahbooboo (839709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625272)

I am not saying the US telecom industry has done a great job nor isn't greedy assholes. It is unfair to compare US telecom to any other region when almost all the countries are the size of a single state in the USA.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe European telecom plans are per country with significant roaming costs from country to country (or buy a SIM for each country). Whereas in the US all the wireless carriers allow at no "extra cost" use across the entire country -- and the US is approximately the same size of all of Europe.

It's a lot simpler to have great features/service at a cheap rate in a single state (which is a country if you're in Europe). Try doing that across the entire European continent and see how the US fares. What are the real costs for a European to get the same features in their country and ALL the countries in the same plan (i.e. data use, texting, minutes, etc)? I have a feeling it isn't as cheap or superior than the US...

Just my $0.02 and I don't work in telecom. :)

Re:US telecom trailing others isn't a fair assessm (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625510)

You have to pay to receive a call. That is so 90s.

Re:US telecom trailing others isn't a fair assessm (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625572)

Bullshit. I work for a telco in Finland, and covering a piece of land is as easy/hard in both as the average population density is in the same ballpark. I would even accept that covering rural America is harder, but by that logic most Americans in the cities should have the best broadband in the world. The real difference is that we have four national networks for a population of 5M and the competition is fierce. The regulator is here FOR the people.

Every nation gets the government it deserves.

Re:US telecom trailing others isn't a fair assessm (1)

blahbooboo (839709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625618)

You missed the point of my write-up. When you go to Spain, how does your telecom provider work for you? Cost a lot extra to use in spain right? Or just buy a pay as you go sim, but your number is now different so not that useful while there...

Re:US telecom trailing others isn't a fair assessm (2)

manekineko2 (1052430) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626154)

I'm not sure how much water you argument holds when the worst European country in terms of telecom price/quality is still better than the best states in the US. Finland has a lower population density than the United States, and simultaneously better telcom.

So while true that Europe is a patchwork of carriers across its different states, every state there is better than any state in the US.

Re:US telecom trailing others isn't a fair assessm (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626684)

How often does your average American leave the state? I don't personally consider that to be a major concern when I leave the state so infrequently. The bigger issue is the shit service around town.

The fact that I can't get decent coverage in a major city is an absolute embarrassment. And As for ISPs, Qwest apparently has written off much of Seattle in terms of upgrades deeming 1.5mbps to be fast enough. Same basic problem, shit regulation and a company that's figured out that it's cheaper to not bother to invest in infrastructure due to a lack of competition and regulation making them do it.

Re:US telecom trailing others isn't a fair assessm (1)

NovaSupreme (996633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625880)

>> It is unfair to compare US telecom to any other region when almost all the countries are the size of a single state in the USA.

Ever heard of India?

1.1 Billion people. Land area is 40% of USA. 70% of the people live in remote rural areas with sporadic electricity, no roads etc. But, in remotest areas, I got full bar signal from multiple networks.

I don't know exactly how it's done now, but couple of years ago, you paid Re 0.05/minute on outgoing call. That is $0.1/min. No charge on incoming SMS either. Many networks offered free in-network calls. Phone sells without contract, and there are gazzlion models. Priced around $100-400.

No government regulation until very recently when they decided to control 4G spectrum auction and like all the worthy and honorable governments of the world, decided to screw the customers. Massive corruption, sellout and what not.

And, before you say India is cheap, I read somewhere (dont remember the specifics) only 30% of telecom cost is labor. Everything else is tech which is more expensive in India and imported from outside.

FCC is one of the most corrupt organizations. They have been screwing us for last 75 years in the name of protecting us. This time will be different though!

Re:US telecom trailing others isn't a fair assessm (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626066)

Ever heard of India? 1.1 Billion people. Land area is 40% of USA. 70% of the people live in remote rural areas with sporadic electricity, no roads etc. But, in remotest areas, I got full bar signal from multiple networks.

Did India ever have the heavily subsidized rural wireline telephone initiative that the US did? Long before cell was a glimmer in anyone's eye, the US took action to build the wired telecom system, to the point that there was a charge on everyone's phone bill to pay for it. If you lived "in remote rural areas" everyone else helped pay for that wire that ran from the nearest CO to you.

I don't think India ever had that.

Why is it important? Because when most of the people already have a telephone (wired) there is less need to cover the area with cells to provide basic phone service. Less demand, less supply.

So, now, in India, they skipped the wired part of the process and went right to cell when cell became cheap. Since people didn't have ANY phones they wanted THIS -- because it was all that was available. Lots of demand, lots of supply follows.

Like they say, "good enough is the enemy of perfect." Getting "good enough" phones in the rural areas meant the "perfect" solution of high bandwidth cell/4g etc wasn't as necessary, because it cannot piggyback on the need to provide "good enough".

Re:US telecom trailing others isn't a fair assessm (2)

Manip (656104) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626006)

That would be a fair point, if the US had tons of small inter-state cellular companies, with a few big evil cross-state providers. But that isn't the situation. Fact is, almost NO small businesses are currently operating in the US cellular sector. There is almost no competition at all in the US, the big two just make agreements on territory so they can both keep their prices high.

Honestly the EU isn't perfect but at least competition is healthy. The US has become so bad, the only solution I see at this stage is to make it illegal for a company to own both the core infrastructure and to also sell to the end consumer. That is what they did with the UK's BT monopoly. Broke it into three companies - consumer, wholesale, and Open Reach. And that was an massively successful route to take, with competition in the UK being extremely good.

Re:US telecom trailing others isn't a fair assessm (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626692)

Compare US telecom to Indian telecom..

Indian telecom is WAY behind on Data, but calls and SMS are one of the lowest in the world.
( incoming SMS are actually free nationwide, and incoming calls statewide)

Knee jerk, dr tfa (1)

LoadWB (592248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625274)

I'm not even interested in reading the blog post when I see a horrible conclusion that Verizon dropping its unlimited data plans are a result of the AT&T/TMO merger. It makes MUCH more sense that a response to the merger would be, "hey, everyone! We have unlimited data plans!!"

Re:Knee jerk, dr tfa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625332)

I'm not even interested in reading the blog post when I see a horrible conclusion that Verizon dropping its unlimited data plans are a result of the AT&T/TMO merger. It makes MUCH more sense that a response to the merger would be, "hey, everyone! We have unlimited data plans!!"

It makes more sense if you're trying to compete, but competing lowers your bottom line. It's much easier to collude and make more money when your "competition" consists of one friendly company whose interests are the same as yours... charging more money for services already being rendered with no additional benefits to the consumer.

Re:Knee jerk, dr tfa (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625664)

And the assumption that the desire to be regulated by the feds instead of 50 separate state government has anything to do with corruption or bribery. ANY company would rather be regulated by ONE common set of standards and not 50 "almost the same but not quite" different sets. That's just good business practice. Even if that one set is more difficult to comply with, at least you don't have to worry about a customer in Idaho using a tower in Montana and which laws cover that situation.

Re:Knee jerk, dr tfa (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626004)

Haven't you ever heard of price fixing? Same idea, but it's feature fixing. It's tacit collusion and highly profitable.

Re:Knee jerk, dr tfa (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626706)

But, this way verizon can spend less on infrastructure, and people dont really have another choice

No competition? (2)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625288)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_wireless_communications_service_providers [wikipedia.org]

Just because they don't have stores on every street corner doesn't mean there aren't a hundred different wireless providers to choose from.

Re:No competition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625406)

Just because several (most?) of them resell service from the big three network providers doesn't mean there is competition...

Re:No competition? (3, Insightful)

crow (16139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625414)

Yes, but how many of those are just resellers? Essentially, they a virtual carriers with roaming agreements with the ones that you've heard of. Some may have a small area of real service, but I doubt that many do.

Re:No competition? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625494)

List of actual carriers:

  • AT&T
  • T-Mobile
  • Sprint
  • Verizon
  • MetroPCS

Unless I'm missing something, that's pretty much it. Everybody else is either a regional carrier that only provides service in a small area or is an MVNO that leases service from one of the services above. And frankly, even MetroPCS is basically a glorified regional carrier....

Re:No competition? (1)

bkaul01 (619795) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626118)

Probably add US Cellular (they have a mix of their own towers + roaming agreements with Verizon).

Everybody else is either a regional carrier that only provides service in a small area or is an MVNO that leases service from one of the services above.

Sure, but even regional carriers like Cellular South still cover larger areas than many European carriers do ...

Re:No competition? (1)

tjb (226873) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626602)

Virgin Mobile

Re:No competition? (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626662)

The list above says whether or not the carrier is an MVNO or reseller. I'm guesstimating half are MVNO's. That's still a fair bit of competition.

Reduced competition in the US mobile market (1)

__Reason__ (181288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625306)

    /@
    \ \
  ___> \
(__O)   \
(____@)  \
(____@)   \
(__o)_     \
       \    \

Verizon likes this!

My take on this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625330)

"blah blah blah... monopoly... corruption.... blah blah blah"
 
Do you guys ever stop flogging this dead horse?

please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625356)

We need unlimited.. some of you say people like me are bandwith hogs onopen networks which caused this limited plan in the first place... bit I say no.. these services are designed to be unlimited.. it is definatly greed. Even isps are becoming limited.. so if my computer crashes and I redownload my steam games I will use 500+ gb that month im paying for bandwith not for caps.. this is just the first step of many to fail the network for non facebook surfers.. mobile or not..

Sprint (1)

tycoex (1832784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625434)

Sprint is still better than AT&T or Verizon. As long as Verizon doesn't buy them up we have at least one good choice for awhile.

(Unless you're unfortunate enough to not live in an area where Sprint has good coverage, to which I must say, that sucks.)

Re:Sprint (3, Insightful)

neurocutie (677249) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625586)

Sprint will not survive this buyout... even Hesse admits this...
Either Sprint will be bought by Verizon, or Sprint will die a slow death, then be bought for pennies on the dollar.
Sprint will be strangled by 1) high roaming costs, or NO roaming, which means poor coverage for its customers, who will then leave,
2) handset freeze out, prime example being the iPhone which Sprint *still* cannot get,
3) price war: AT&T and Verizon can just decide to wage a price war for a couple of years and decimate Sprint,
4) landline/call termination obstruction and rate hikes, since between AT&T and Verizon, most of the landline are controlled by them, they can and will simply charge Sprint huge sums to allow Sprint consumers to call landlines. This is already a big cost for Sprint and it will get bigger.

Re:Sprint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625882)

A price war would actually mean sprint's existence would be serving a purpose [ competition drives price down]
so that doesn't really belong on your list.
And as a sprint customer now, if VZW were 50%+ cheaper, i'd switch with no remorse.

Now if you're talking about ATT and VZW engaging in collusion price fixing explicitly to destroy sprint, that's another thing entirely. (ie illegal)

Re:Sprint (1)

bkaul01 (619795) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626158)

(Unless you're unfortunate enough to not live in an area where Sprint has good coverage, to which I must say, that sucks.)

Sprint actually has coverage? News to me ...

Can't compare only cell phones (4, Interesting)

vijayiyer (728590) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625450)

Does anybody on Slashdot actually travel? Prices in general of most goods are _way_ cheaper in the US than in Europe or Japan (I haven't been to South Korea). US taxes are relatively low. Why do I care if a cell phone bill is a few hundred bucks a year more?
And then people miss the point that cell infrastructure scales both with population and with physical area. Someone has to pay for that.

Re:Can't compare only cell phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626204)

You should factor into that comparison that various social security measures in the European Union are more generous, and the public debt by capita is less than half of what it is in the U.S. If the EU gave every citizen 25 000 USD, which would bring the debt level to that of the United States, the higher prices won't matter so much.

Depends where you are. (4, Interesting)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626372)

Does anybody on Slashdot actually travel? Prices in general of most goods are _way_ cheaper in the US than in Europe or Japan (I haven't been to South Korea). US taxes are relatively low. Why do I care if a cell phone bill is a few hundred bucks a year more? And then people miss the point that cell infrastructure scales both with population and with physical area. Someone has to pay for that.

I think it depends on where you go, and what goods you're looking at. I lived in Tokyo for three years. Moved back to the US, to California, and naively expected the cost of living to be lower.

It wasn't.

What was more galling, not only was I paying more living in CA, but the quality of the goods and services purchased was generally lower.

A random sample list:

  • Eggs - cheaper in Tokyo, and fresher there too.
  • Dry cleaning - cheaper in Tokyo.
  • Prepared ready-to-eat foods (a.k.a. chûshoku in Japanese, a bit like a carry-out buffet) - hard to find in the US outside of grocery stores, but generally tastier, more varied, and cheaper in Tokyo. Great for anyone living on their own, or in a household where no one has time to cook.
  • Telecoms - both cell and internet service were *way* cheaper, with *way* better coverage and data speeds. I could place a phone call on the Ôedo line, the newest and deepest subway line in Tokyo, but I would drop out of service while driving on US 101 from Mountain View north past Google's massive campus. Yay, AT&T. :-P

And would people *please* give the population density argument a rest? It's a red herring. The San Francisco Bay Area is quite densely populated and is supposedly the center of the US high-tech industry - and yet cell coverage is kinda crappy, and internet service is much more expensive and much slower than anything you get in Japan (unless you're out in the boonies). It's not about population density, it's about profit margins, and what regulators and the competitive environment will allow.

Cheers,

Slashcode - Broken Again! Yay! (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626398)

Gah, whatever happened to unordered lists in HTML? Sheesh...

Re:Depends where you are. (1)

tjb (226873) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626628)

What was more galling, not only was I paying more living in CA

For piddly stuff (prepared food? really?), yeah, maybe. How much does a 1000 sq. ft. apartment go for in Tokyo, though?

2 year agreements almost up (1)

space_jake (687452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625474)

It'll be interesting to see what happens with Sprint in late 2011 early 2012 when the 2-year contracts expire for all of those Motorola Droid early adopters. It probably won't stop the death of unlimited data plans as they're too small compared to AT&T and Verizon.

In Russia.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625584)

In (Ex-Soviet) Russia, you can choose from MTS, MegaFon, Beeline, Tele2, or a few other GSM Providers.
In China, you can choose from China Mobile (Easyown, GoTone, M-zone, Peoples, ZoNG), ChinaUnicom. (Yes, the main ones are state-owned)

In the "Free" United states, you can choose any GSM provider you want, as long as you "want" to use the government-approved AT&T/T-mobile.

So you say: "If there's customer demand, Capitalism shows another company will be created so competition remains..." Yeah Right. The State (FCC) owns 100% of the spectrum, and it's all been sold to AT&T T-Mobile. So exactly what GSM spectrum is available for competition?

It's also the only country in the world that will put you in jail if you even /attempt/ to buy and import a Citroen C5 or a Citroen DS3 ("R", preferably) Automobile.
Don't give me the safety line -- both of these cars are rated very well for both safety, and emissions. (Google NCAP) And they look cool too.

I'm not feeling very "Free" as we celebrate our "Freedom" this weekend.

I for one... (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 3 years ago | (#36625602)

I swore I'd never do this but...

I, for one, welcome our new Call Dropping Overlords.

So much easier... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36625652)

Its so much easier to bribe 1 than to bribe 50. Sure the bribe has to be about 10 times as big, but its still a 5:1 savings. Worse: some of those 50 can't be bribed. Gold watches, luxury homes, 'padded' expense and retirement accounts, exotic vacations, motor yachts, girls (and boys) who will pop till you drop, laugh at all your stories and always be game for a good time. Anything you want, so long as you press those others to do what the company wants. There need not be any consideration for 'whats good for the people'. Those naive days ended somewhere between 1945 and 1955.

"says blogger Tom Henderson" (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626078)

I'm not disagreeing with him, but it is the best we can do? "Some random guy my son met on the playground disagrees with Tom Henderson." Should that be the next article submitted on the topic?

Spectrum reasoning appears to be bullshit. (1)

bongey (974911) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626132)

Seems CNet ran a story about how much spectrum at&t actually has http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20058494-266.html [cnet.com] .
From the article, AT&T has more spectrum than Verizon, but Verizon doesn't seem to be whining about spectrum. Seems AT&T line of more spectrum is complete bullshit.

Blogger fail? (2)

Evil.Bonsai (1205202) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626178)

"Why should consumers care about the AT&T/T-mobile merger? Already, Verizon has dropped unlimited data plans and the US trails Japan, South Korea, and others in variety and performance of mobiles. Don't think for a second that those aren't the direct result this new monopoly", says blogger Tom Henderson. I'm pretty sure "Japan, South Korea, and others..." were far ahead of the US in mobile performance LONG before any merger talks came about.

Oh for Pete's sake! (3, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#36626516)

State Agencies get eaten alive by something as big as AT&T/T-Mobile. Did a State agency break up Ma Bell? All I can say to these State's rightser Loons is Divide and Conqueror.

Besides all that.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36626568)

They could just call it titty mobile..get it? T/T..

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>