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Senators Target Carrier Exclusivity

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Jun 15, 2009, 4:28 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

A handful of U.S. senators has asked the Federal Communications Commission to review the practice of exclusive distribution deals between handset makers and wireless network operators. The senators believe that such exclusive deals may harm consumer choice, and want the matter explored in detail. The senators' group, which includes former presidential candidate John Kerry, filed a letter with the FCC on June 15. It read, in part, "We ask that you examine this issue carefully and act expeditiously should you find that exclusivity agreements unfairly restrict consumer choice or adversely impact competition in the commercial wireless marketplace." The senators are going to meet to discuss possible legislation regarding the issue on June 17.

Reuters »



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Jun 15, 2009, 7:26 PM

Carrier Exclusivity is BAD

Carrier exclusivity is a bad idea and is bad for the consumer. Consumers in the US should have the choice of phones like the rest of the world does. Phone companies would have to compete for your business by having a better network, more coverage, more 3g, better customer service. I live in an area where at&t has no 3g coverage and weak voice coverage and Verizon and Sprint have great 3g and voice coverage. I would love to have an iphone but it would be pretty useless with the lack of data (except for wifi) and poor reception.

In Europe, for the most part, you can buy whatever phone you want and choose what carrier you want. I don't think that's a bad thing. Manufacturers could make 2 versions of each phone, gsm or cdma and customers c...
I think they are dealing with way too many things right now.($4,000,000,000,000.00)
Yeah in Europe they also pretty much ONLY run GSM, not CDMA (which is why the Storm can be called a world phone, because it runs GSM as well as Sprints CDMA) I can see the possibility of a GSM phone being avail across all GSM networks and the same wit...
Yes, because the American consumer will pay the unsubsidized cost of the phone for their little 9 year old brat. 🙄
You know very little about the industry in the US and absolutely nothing about the industry out side the US. You want it to be like Europe? Did you know in Europe the majority of consumers can not afford a voice plan? Most of them are forced to text. ...
This has nothing to do w/ technologies used. Once subsidy's are removed from wireless phones a'la EU, then can Senators ask for whatever the heck they want. Exclusivity won't mean sh** on a device that costs $600USD+
under your line of thought then wouldn't having a choice of CDMA or GSM be a bad thing. And while were at it lets have the governemnt choose what plan we should be on no matter what we actually use. Hell lets throw out rollover because no one else h...
Yeah....I really dislike the iphone there are many things that are terrible about it, and lots of features it doesnt have that should be standard, personally if I dont get coverage everywhere and be able to use my features everywhere whats the point i...

Jun 15, 2009, 5:14 PM

Now This is a Big Deal!!!

When T-mobile first introduced the Sidekick and every celebrity in the world was showing it off, you HAD to be a t-mobile customer to have one. Now that another huge phone has come into the picture everybody thats not with att is crying. Get over it!
This is utter BS. if this passes then its all over for alot of exclusive rights...no longer can stores in the mall pay extra to keep a competitor out, no longer can a video game titles be exclusive to one console. or a feature exclusive to one car ma...

Jun 18, 2009, 12:30 PM

I wonder what kind of kickbacks they are getting.

Honestly, Verizon had the chance to get the iPhone, but the company is run by scumbags. They turned it down because Apple wouldn't put it's logo on the phone and use it's software inside of the phone.

And you know what, you still have the choice to switch carriers. the iPhone has been out for three years now. Not a single person in the US has a three year contract. AT$T doesn;t work at your house? Sucks to be you.

And don't be ignorant, the iPhone is the ONLY reason this is being brought up on a government level.

I wonder what kind of kickbacks the senaters are getting from verizon?

Jun 16, 2009, 7:27 AM

About time!!

It is about time. I hope it gets passed.

It is all about freedom of this and that in this great nation. How can people say they are free when they can't even get the cell phone they want with their choice of cell phone provider?

How free are you?
do you understand a competitive marketplace? exclusivity in technology drive the comsumer to one carrier or another. Do you think AT&T, with rights to the iphone is the best choice for you? then go to AT&T. If you like Verizons service, find a compara...
You do realize that there will be NO DISCOUNTS on any phone if this passes. The iPhone which is what you probably want would cost you between $500 & $700. Next time your checking out phones take a look at the price before discounts and that's the pric...

Jun 15, 2009, 6:16 PM

So the feds want to tell manufacturers who they have to sell to?

It seems like there are bigger problems out there.

How about the fact that the carriers are all dumping subsidized phones on the market? That is literally stopping dozens of phone models from being offered in the US every year, but they don't have a problem with that. Heck, we even have existing laws against it, but they won't do anything.

Maybe some idiot senator just wants an iPhone. Somebody give him a G1 and tell him to get back to work.
...stop the Carriers from INTERFERING with the manufacturers right to sell to EVERYONE.

Take this quick survey for me please:

Did you buy your television from your local TV station?
Did you buy your water heater from the gas company?
Did you b...

Jun 15, 2009, 4:42 PM

nothing better to do?

the economy is collapsing, our president doesn't know what the job of a supreme court justice... and all we are worried about is if a senitor can get an iPhone/Pre/Env Touch/MyPhone on another network?

so much for "Change"...
Yes.. having the Iphone on all carriers by brute force is the best way to spend their time on the floor... 🙄

Let's.. I don't know, work on reducing our budget and stimulating local businesses (rather than simply low paying mass market sto...
xmfd yeah bro i know what you mean obama does everything in the government and doesnt let anyone else propose any bills dude you're so smart xfd
Senators don't have hobby horses like this, they have constituents. Some nerds out there really wanted to have any phone they wanted on any network, so after getting nothing from the carrier, they went to Congress.

That's how things work in this c...
it'll snowball if this ever does pass. first cellphones then videogames, then cars, and then who knows. a business has the right to compete, and offering somthing another business does not have is healthy competition, **** the senate, they don't know ...

Jun 15, 2009, 10:17 PM


WTF Congress!!!!!

You can make laws but you can not force Apple to make an CDMA Iphone if they do not want to. (or a GSM Voyager, or CDMA G1 etc...)
Again, it's NOT about forcing manufacturers to comply with a federal mandate.

It's about prohibiting CARRIERS from inflicting a mandate on manufacturers to pad their own pockets with handheld monopolies.
Prohibiting AT&T from keeping Tmobile out ...

Jun 16, 2009, 11:57 AM

Yet another nail in the coffin of free market.

The question is not really whether exclusivity agreements are beneficial or hurtful, right or wrong, the question is does the government have a right to tell an industry how to run its business? I mean seriously where in the constitution is government given the right to tell business what they can and can not do? This is an extreme abuse of the interstate commerce clause.
There should be re-regulation. The greed by corporations and the greedy Republicans and some conservative Democrats on Wall Street have put this country in the shape it is in now.`There has to be rules of conduct in business not just businesses polici...

Jun 16, 2009, 6:51 PM

From The Horses Mouth

I can tell you right now, Verizon is kicking it'self in the butt for turning down the Iphone as it did. They (we) have lost more customers to AT&T and continue to do so because of it and maybe I shouldn't even go into work the day the 3GS comes out, When a customer discontinue's service with us we ask why and one of the question we ask is about the Iphone and is that why they are leaving, why would corporate put that question out there if the Iphone was not cutting into business? We keep hoping for an Iphone killer to come our way, problem is there is none!

Jun 16, 2009, 2:12 PM

I think the most important issue...

...is the fact if an account with multiple lines under a family plan, every line is forced to pay for one line that has it.

E.G.) I upgrade a phone that requires an entire data plan. Everyone under my account is forced to pay extra including the dumbphones. It's unfair and it should be a practice eliminated.
Can't slam Big Red for this one, you can add secondary lines to any of their high-end plans (connect or premium) at the $9.99 rate, and smartphone plans are a per-line deal.

Jun 16, 2009, 1:01 PM


If it was stopped, competition wouldn't cease, just a different competition would show more. Competitions for the phones themselves would switch to just the manufacturer, and the carriers wouldnt be able to rely on that anymore being forced to be more competitive with pricing/coverage/features. Huh. This doesn't sound that bad at all. Plus it would kill the giants also good for competition.

Jun 16, 2009, 3:46 AM

I hope it passes...

I know this has already been addressed, but it does bother me that I can't choose any phone I want unless I break a contract and switch to another carrier. Right now, the AT&T and the iPhone (yes, yes, I know) is a borderline monopoly. Yes, there are other phones that are getting out there like that nifty Palm Pre, but the apps store alone on the iPhone is unlike anything out there. I'm with AT&T and I don't own an iPhone fyi.

AT&T charges $150 (with iPhone) for unlimited minutes, data, texting (texting IS data btw, phone company jerks. Stop making it separate 😡 ). Verizon charges $140 and Sprint charges only $99 for their unlimited plans. I know once the higher speed data comes into effect, Sprint will probably go the way of the d...

Jun 15, 2009, 5:38 PM

Why the FCC?

Thats what I don't get. Sure they have control over the waves, but isn't this issue more of a business related issue? Like the SEC or DoJ should be involved...
FCC handles way more then spectrum auctions and censorship issues. Check out their website, it's huge.
If FCC says they don't want to deal with it, expect DoJ to be on the case within 24 hours.

Jun 15, 2009, 7:13 PM

Looks to me like...

Looks to me like these congressmen don't like that they can't have an iPhone with their government issued Verizon lines. This is ridiculous...don't these men and woman have anything more important to do? Say...like fixing this broken economy? 🙄
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