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Bill to Challenge Mobile Phone Contracts

Article Comments  100+  

Feb 27, 2008, 9:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Today the U.S. House of Representatives is holding a hearing to discuss legislation that would prevent carriers from forcing customers into two-year contracts when they pay full price for a handset. Massachusetts Representative Edward J. Markey, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, is behind the Wireless Consumer Protection Bill. It mandates that customers should be given the option to pay full price for handsets, and those that do should not be obligated to sign lengthy contracts and they should be offered voice and data services at a rate that is comparable with those offered with subsidized phones. Another provision of the bill would force carriers to prorate ETFs in a way that would only allow them to recover handset subsidies.

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This forum is closed.

psycho dramatic7

Feb 27, 2008, 11:55 AM

THIS IS GOOD NEWS FOR CONSUMERS

oh boo hoo poor babies....all these years the consumer has been getting the shaft by carriers and now when some fairness shifts towards the people. woe is us cry the carriers. its like they're making it seem like they're doing us a public service. i could care less about their operating costs and crap. they're getting richer while everyone else is getting poorer. all i know is that when my service sucks to the point i dont want it anymore. i dont want to feel forced to stay. i out without being spited. here take your piece of crap phone back. 😁
EDIT: I WANT OUT WITHOUT BEING SPITED.
Actually this is bad for consumers. Big business always wins. The house does not care about us little people one bit this is all an act to make us think they care to get votes when in reality it will do no good and they know it. All that will happen i...
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you receive a 150 - 200 or more disc when get a phone for first time and you are charged 200 dlls if you cancel before 2 yrs, so it will be the same, you pay 200 more for the phone but you are not charged those 200 dlls if you cancel, ¬_Â...
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T-Mobile already does a no-contract option, and a customer pays full retail for a phone. In my store, full retail is generally cost or just below cost. I make my money on the first months access fee that the customer pays.

The notion that this wil...
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psycho dramatic7 said:
i could care less about their operating costs and crap. they're getting richer while everyone else is getting poorer.



You obviously have never been in business for yourself. Businesses do ...
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This is neutral for both consumers and the carriers. CPGA (cost per gross add) could be decreased if the customer pays for the handset. Every dealer in America has an unactivated price for handsets and it is nowhere near $500.00 for a simple phone. An...
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psycho ... we are just thinking realistically here. sure I can voice my opinion like you too ... but all of us are approaching this in an objective, analytical mentallity. if X happens, then Y will happen.
Are you Crazy! This is Bad News for Consumers but ok. Hope you ready to see very expensive phones! In Europe they do this No Contract thing.. A Basic phone for them, the one that would be free to you, is about $400 to $500 depending on the country!
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I work for Sprint and in no way has it been a requirement to sign a 2 year contract when paying full price for a phone. You can buy as many phones at full price as you want without signing a contract. You can also change your plan, including the new...
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texaswireless

Feb 28, 2008, 3:08 PM

Legislation is not needed - Education is needed

Legislation is not needed. Whether you not it or not every time government legislates action on the free market choice is taken away.

Consumers have been able to choose for years the ability to buy a phone with no service agreement and pay an unsubsidized price. The problem is the press, the government, the consumers and even the retailers don't know this fact. AT&T has offered it for years with several plan choices and most carriers offered it with prepaid.

Consumers chose the contract option. Consumers DEMANDED the contract option in places like California (can you say 8th largest economy in the world?).

If consumers wanted this they could do it now, no legislation needed. Are there exceptions, yes. Are the prices higher? Ab...
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Actually, on a new activation, AT&T (at least in the region I support) requires a contract even if you do pay full price for the phone, at least in the market I handle. We also have the example of the iPhone where you're paying full price and still re...
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The cell phone industry is one of the few with these iron clad, extend when they want contracts, which only recently has been modified. They have no problems getting government regulation when it works in their favor, but bitch when it goes against t...
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texaswireless said:
Legislation is not needed. Whether you not it or not every time government legislates action on the free market choice is taken away.

There are a few folks out there, like AvgJoe, who chose not to sign an ag
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icsprint

Feb 28, 2008, 7:06 PM

Good Stuff!!!

I work for Sprint and I have to say that it would be nice to be able to let a customer pay full price for a phone and chose any plan they wish. And in all honesty the main reason we have customers sign contracts is so we can make the money back from the discount we gave them on the phone when they signed up. You could chose to go pre paid but you wouldn't get the coverage that our standard plans have. We do have one month to month plan but it is $39.99 for 200 min and 9 pm nights and weekends. I personally think this would be a great step in the right direct for customer satisfaction.
icsprint said:
I work for Sprint and I have to say that it would be nice to be able to let a customer pay full price for a phone and chose any plan they wish. blockquote>

Good Stuff??? Seriously... If you work for Sprint then yo
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LatinoGeek

Feb 27, 2008, 10:09 AM

I sincerely hope...

...that there's some verbiage in that bill that states that if you pay the full price of the phone that it *NOT* be SIM Locked and that you also get all of the hardware features enabled. but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Plus, I hate the trend of the carriers requesting US only variants of popular phones. For example: the Samsung i600 (European)and the i607 (US "Blackjack") are the same phone. The differences are the supported 3G frequencies and the i607 had it's wifi radio ripped out (at the request of at&t.) It's the same story with the Nokia e61i/e62; you can't ask to enable something that is not there. So now we have no shot at getting all of the functionality that the manufacturer of the phone saw fit to include.
Yeah, I feel the same way. They provide service and access to they're network. The wireless carriers *are NOT* in the business of *MAKING* handsets! ! ! ! !

I so, so much agree w/u, unlocked/unbranded is the way to go.

But you know what though,...
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htemboy78

Feb 27, 2008, 4:53 PM

UNLOCKED PHONES

if this bill becomes law, then would that mean that ALL cellphones will be unlocked. if thats not the case , well then it should be part of this bill.
Why? It's not hard to get your phone unlocked. You just call your provider and get the unlock code.
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I so, so much agree! ! ! ! I've owned 2 unlocked phones! The Sharp V903 and the Nokia N95-3.
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phoneslinger

Feb 27, 2008, 11:09 AM

cost per gross activation

This bill will give the customer the ability to switch from carrier to carrier with a limited early termination fee that is merely the difference between the equipment cost and the sale price. The problem lies in the fact that the dealers will lose their commissions because most providers require 6 months of service. The retail stores will lose money because they have overhead expenses that are not getting covered. The customer who wants to keep up with every new model that comes out is losing money because this will promote irresponsible spending (same as buying a new car off the lot and trading it in the next year to get the new model). The only group that makes out here are the cell phone manufacturers. Carriers will probably raise ...
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not true, all they have to do is kick back first month of service plus act fee to the store. That would cover commision for these not to mention that phones purchased at full retail from the store will also have a mark up. I see what you are saying bu...
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1techguy

Feb 27, 2008, 9:31 AM

More important things?

I realize this is somewhat of a pretty good idea.

But shouldn't they be worrying more about health care, environment, corporate taxes, etc? Competition will inevitably sort out these wireless issues.
oh like questioning Roger Clemens for 7 hours on injections in his rear? Or wanting to investigate if the Patriots taped some warm up drills?

This is definitely a step up for our gov't.
Well, the job of the members of Congress is to serve the interest of the people they represent. Unfair practices in cell phone contracts are a pretty big deal for a lot of people I know. I think this is perfectly within their realm of duties.
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1techguy said:
I realize this is somewhat of a pretty good idea.

But shouldn't they be worrying more about health care, environment, corporate taxes, etc? Competition will inevitably sort out these wireless issues.
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alex_mar

Feb 27, 2008, 4:03 PM

almost no point to it

cellular svc is like blu-jns, something that
came to stay... the cost for a plan whether u act ur own phown or a free phoen will be the same, i will alway have a cellphone... so whats the the issue time will pas the same and i will have saved money the companies recover the cost of the free phone whith the overge and and the long term for the ovrge i have no issue bc i always cheke my slñf svc op... i peref the free phone any way im alwais going to have svc from some one...
Crapbag

Feb 27, 2008, 12:43 PM

I see two things happening if this passes

One will be the emergence of basic voice plans for people who do not want to sign up for a contract. In other words, no unlimited plans and no mobile to mobile or free nights and weekends. AT&T already offers pick your plans, so I doubt they will even change anything.

Also, it says they would have to pay the difference in cost from what they paid to the cost of the phone. Cell phones currently have a meager 25% markup on average. Most industries have a minimum of a 33% markup, so the likely answer would be that the Market value of the phones will go up in conjunction with this bill.

I'm guessing it will be the indirects that ultimately pay the price.
25% markup? What are you smoking? Suggested retail is often LESS than what an authorized dealer pays for a phone. At most, there is a $20-30 price difference between cost & suggest retail.

The change will not be reflected in rate plans, rather ph...
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working man

Feb 27, 2008, 11:10 AM

US Cellular...we connect with you!

Yet one more reason as to why I have stayed with them since 1996. With a new activation they DO NOT impose ANY contract term if the customer activates with their own handset or pays full retail for the equipment.
yea im from chicago now living in michigan and i know all about uscc. their service is good. my mom and brother have them.
tony007

Feb 27, 2008, 12:26 PM

Why? They already do this

I know of a national carrier who will give the option of a month to month svc agreement if you pay full price for the handset.
Heather

Feb 27, 2008, 12:24 PM

Come on now!

Ok, so this is silly. If you do not want to sign a contract, then get pre-pay. That is what it is their for! 😛
ceric20

Feb 27, 2008, 10:58 AM

About time!

About time something like this is brought up! I agree if we want to pay full price for a phone then we shouldn't have to sign a 2 year contract!
ceric20 said:
About time something like this is brought up! I agree if we want to pay full price for a phone then we shouldn't have to sign a 2 year contract!

i don't mind contracts for equipment. what i hate is contr...
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