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AT&T, Verizon Detail Roaming Plans for FCC to Avoid Mandate

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I'm Confused

slolearner

Nov 24, 2010, 12:20 PM
Aren't these smaller rural companies complaining because they're redundant and want a piece of a larger, more relevant company's pie... or is there some precedence for this?
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thecleaner62

Nov 24, 2010, 12:29 PM
yea i was thinking that, why should a larger carrier allow a smaller one to roam off of them, so the larger carriers customers can roam in a small area, it would seem like the larger carrier would lose money on this, because the smaller carriers customers would have access to their network and the smaller carrier would then begin using the roaming agreement with the larger carrier as a selling point. I understand roaming agreements in areas where its more cost effective for both parties. just my 2 cents
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Slammer

Nov 24, 2010, 12:59 PM
If I'm understanding this correctly, Verizon and ATT have successfully been able to swallow up most of the smaller competition through buys and acquistions. This has essentially allowed them to now have massive coverage across the nation.

They don't want the smaller carriers riding their coattails. They are willing to pay the smaller carriers to fill in remaining areas they don't have but then it stops there.

It sounds like ATT and Verizon are pretty much saying to the smaller carriers, we don't need you anymore. You are on your own now leave us alone.

This is how monopolies begin.

John B.
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atandtrep

Nov 24, 2010, 1:22 PM
even if there are just 2 companies there is competition and therefore no monopoly. basic math here. who are these small carriers benefiting?
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Slammer

Nov 24, 2010, 1:40 PM
Monopoly, Duopoly. It really doesn't matter at this level. They are both motivated by eliminating all competition, controlling the industry and being the sole entities.

The question you should be asking is, how does having only two large carriers benefit consumers?

John B
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Azeron

Nov 24, 2010, 6:15 PM
Please stop.
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bearofpanda

Nov 24, 2010, 9:08 PM
it's not a monopoly it's simply good business practice. There are easily 4 major carriers VZW ATT TMO and Sprint. that doesn't spell monopoly especially considering VZW is lowering their prices to compete.
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Dollgrin

Nov 26, 2010, 9:45 AM
Oligopolies are just as bad as a monopoly, where a chosen few work together only to keep others from getting a chunk of their huge pie. So you guys are right - it's not a monopoly - but I wouldn't say it's a "good business practice" either.
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Arjuun

Nov 26, 2010, 10:11 AM
yes it is , and if a smaller company wants to get into the big 4 then they need ot step up hard , its means that any of the fly by night or ma-pa operations out there cant just use the big boys toys to connect everwhere the big 4 payed there due's to get where they are its just that if somone wants to get big then they need to expand not try to leach off a bigger company
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Slammer

Nov 26, 2010, 10:28 AM
There are three things a cellular company will need to grow.

Money, spectrum, infrastructure. These smaller "Ma and Pa" carriers will never be able to obtain these prerequisites.

ATT and Verizon practically inherited their initial networks. These networks were fairly vast already at that time. This greatly stacked a lot against the smaller carriers from the start. My first phone was in '86. During the first 4 years, I was with four carriers and never once switched. They were slowly engulfed by the larger which is now ATT.

The smaller carriers are a slowly dying entity. The FCC needs to rewrite the mandates. But also need to be very precise on the written policies and take the future onto consideration or their will be no more much n...
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Dollgrin

Nov 26, 2010, 10:36 AM
I'm not claiming to know everything there is to know about the wireless industry. I've only been working in it for about 3 years and like most of us, we're at the bottom of the decision making ladder for these businesses. I do know one thing, and that is in the end (with owning a business in general) it's all about making money. You don't open a business just to give stuff away, that's not how it works. Everyone wants to make a profit, so if it means a few guys get together to make "deals" to keep each other in business and as profitable as possible, that's what they're going to do.

The whole point is that these smaller businesses can't just "step it up hard". That makes no sense. Basic economics can tell you that there are pros and cons...
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JeffroPuff

Nov 26, 2010, 7:53 PM
I'm sorry, but that is a really uneducated thing to say. It isn't as simple as "stepping up hard", whatever that means. There is no "leeching" going on. Carriers collect roaming revenue when other companies' customers use their networks. Disallowing this to happen, only serves to squash competition; after all, why would they turn a revenue stream? In and of itself, that makes good business sense; however, this practice is bad for the consumers. Smaller carriers typically are more aggressive with pricing to offset their lack of popular handsets and smaller networks. They can't "step up hard" and buy spectrum that doesn't exist in some markets. As the big 4 swallow up smaller companies, that leaves fewer and fewer other small companies that ca...
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bearofpanda

Nov 27, 2010, 8:30 PM
if you don't see squashing competition and getting more customers as a "good business practice" then I don't know what else is? For the customer I'm not saying it's a good thing but let's be realistic here. If you were the CEO of ATT and found a way to impede business for metro, cricket, ztalk, mountain cellular....(the little guys) would it not be perfectly logical to shut them down and continue to make millions? business is cutthroat.
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Dollgrin

Nov 27, 2010, 8:47 PM
I see what you're saying, and I guess we just have two different views of what "good business practice" means.

When I hear the term I think of being honest, trustworthy, and thinking of the long term rewards for not getting into the Wal-Mart effect in gowth. I think about a business who cares about it's customer and making sure they're truely happy, versus caring about having customers.

I personally feel that if you take care of customers they'll take care of you. Yes we could go into the debate of customers taking advantage of whatever they can get, but for the most part if they're given a good deal in the first place without hidden consequences and sharks roaming the sales floor than they wouldn't be so disgruntled in the first pla...
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WiWavelength

Nov 24, 2010, 1:43 PM
atandtrep said:
even if there are just 2 companies there is competition and therefore no monopoly. basic math here.


Yes, that is not a monopoly, rather a duopoly. W/ VZW & AT&T, that means that consumers often get to choose between a rock and a hard place.

atandtrep said:who are these small carriers benefiting?


These small carriers benefit rural populations that VZW or AT&T serve w/ poor coverage or do not serve at all.

AJ
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Slammer

Nov 24, 2010, 1:53 PM
And if VZW and ATT have their way with mandates, they will be positioned well to watch the smaller carriers wither to their deaths and then the Duopoly will be complete.

John B.

It is good to see a familiar and very knowledgeable face.
Have a happy thanksgiving.
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WiWavelength

Nov 24, 2010, 3:12 PM
Slammer said:
And if VZW and ATT have their way with mandates, they will be positioned well to watch the smaller carriers wither to their deaths and then the Duopoly will be complete.


That would be a blow to competition, a loss for consumers, as VZW & AT&T cannot be everything to everyone. Indeed, the smaller carriers often do it better.

For example, if you live in Clayton, NM, VZW has native service (through its acquisition of ALLTEL, which acquired coverage through its purchase of WWC), but local carrier Plateau Wireless offers a notably broader, stronger coverage footprint. If you live in Coldwater, KS, VZW has native service (through its acquisition of ALLTEL) and AT&T has no coverage or a faint w...
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Slammer

Nov 24, 2010, 3:48 PM
You have nailed my point! Overtime, VZW and ATT have acquired much in buying up these smaller carriers. Then within the last few years, the two have successfully corresponded with one another and did their fair share of swapped assets. This has essentially bolstered a greater hardship on the meek. Smaller carriers have taken a big hit ever since the original telecoms broke up their assets while VZW and ATT won big on these moves. Now it is totally almost a no win situation.

So where does it go from here? I can't see the FCC or DOJ reversing their past decisions. They do need to be more restrictive on their final decisions forward.

John B.
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Azeron

Nov 24, 2010, 6:19 PM
It's too late. The damage is already done. Where were you guys in 2000 when Verizon and Cingular were formed? Where were you when Cingular was allowed to buy the largest independent carrier AT&T Wireless? When Sprint was allowed to foolishly buy up Nextel or the worst of them all when Verizon was allowed to buy Alltel? It is too late.
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WiWavelength

Nov 24, 2010, 6:38 PM
Azeron said:
It's too late. The damage is already done. Where were you guys in 2000 when Verizon and Cingular were formed? Where were you when Cingular was allowed to buy the largest independent carrier AT&T Wireless? When Sprint was allowed to foolishly buy up Nextel or the worst of them all when Verizon was allowed to buy Alltel? It is too late.


Actually, I filed comments w/ the FCC against several of those mergers. But the Bush administration decided that the open market could better regulate Big Business. Wireless, oil, finance. Now, we get to taste the rotten fruit of that laissez faire oversight.

AJ
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Azeron

Nov 24, 2010, 7:16 PM
The problem is America cannot make up its mind what it wants to be. This balancing act between socialism and laissez faire capitalism is quite tedious.
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Slammer

Nov 24, 2010, 8:06 PM
I voiced my opinion with limited results as you can see.

Government is motivated by money and more so at that time. The wireless industry was of little concern to them.

Here's an interesting note just for kicks. Sprint was set to pay an astronomical amount of money to purchase MCI. This would have made them one of the largest telecoms in the world. Government says no way. Unfair and monopolization. Years later, Government grants VZW aquistion after acquistion to make the Vodafone, Verizon entity one of the largest telecoms in the world.

How do you think Sprint has felt through all these merges and buys?

John B.
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Azeron

Nov 25, 2010, 12:33 AM
Politics. Were the democrats in power when Sprint attempted to buy MCI?

Too bad Sprint was not prevented from cutting their own throats in the Nextel fiasco.
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CellStudent

Nov 25, 2010, 4:26 PM
Slammer said:
Here's an interesting note just for kicks. Sprint was set to pay an astronomical amount of money to purchase MCI. This would have made them one of the largest telecoms in the world. Government says no way. Unfair and monopolization. Years later, Government grants VZW aquistion after acquistion to make the Vodafone, Verizon entity one of the largest telecoms in the world.

How do you think Sprint has felt through all these merges and buys?

John B.


First, I think it was MCI looking to take over Sprint, not the other way around.

Second, that all happened long before VOIP became all the rage and cable companies were
capable of competing with telco outfits for business.

The landscape ...
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Slammer

Nov 27, 2010, 2:39 PM
You are right and I stand corrected cellstudent.

Even so, the industry is severely broken as you say.

The FCC and DOJ continually eat away at my respect for their motivation of listening to rhetoric from carriers that want the ball in their court and no one else's, then grant the notions.

This request my not be all unjustified, but still culminates an injustice to try and leverage more weight against the little guy for future extinction.

John B.
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CellStudent

Nov 24, 2010, 2:34 PM
atandtrep said:
even if there are just 2 companies there is competition and therefore no monopoly. basic math here. who are these small carriers benefiting?


This statement displays a blatant lack of economic understanding. Even with four major nationwide carriers, the FCC was still able to conclude (correctly) earlier this year that the cellular marketplace is not sufficiently competitive.

They haven't proposed any intention to intervene, but to say that any market that "isn't a monopoly" is a healthy market is completely false.
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slolearner

Nov 24, 2010, 2:57 PM
What would bolster "healthy competition" in the cellular industry? I feel like at least what this article states is that the rural carriers want something for nothing other than being a small company who needs more towers. Not a healthy solution for sure?
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CellStudent

Nov 24, 2010, 3:39 PM
slolearner said:
What would bolster "healthy competition" in the cellular industry? I feel like at least what this article states is that the rural carriers want something for nothing other than being a small company who needs more towers. Not a healthy solution for sure?

I don't have a magic bullet for that one.

Fundamentally speaking, having access to four or more sources providing almost identical products in any given marketplace would usually (but not always) qualify as sufficient competition.

As this is not possible in telecommunications, due to the high cost of new companies to compete in the marketplace, government regulation may be the only method of ensuring price wars continue.

Hell, even...
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ScribeD

Nov 24, 2010, 4:49 PM
What isn't being said here is the Major Carrier side of things. We all like to assume (albeit usually correctly) that the Big Four are at fault. However, what isn't being said in this instance is that the Rural Carriers are asking for roaming agreements with price per packet/minute at the same rate as those who are giving like territory to trade on. In other words, they want the same rights without paying the differential cost. Economically speaking, even in this Four Network Lead Segment, this does not make sense. All AT$T and Verizon have asked for is that these smaller companies either pay a small amount more for the roaming rights or to have a territory for their customers to use in exchange for a slightly lower cost.

I will be t...
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Slammer

Nov 24, 2010, 5:06 PM
This may make sense in an economical point of view. But technically, there is an ulterior motive here to their reasoning.

They want to make it harder for the smaller carriers to survive while continually gaining an upper hand in the industry. That's all we've heard the last few months on how the top two carriers(VZW specifically) have so eloquently decided to be generous in helping out the little guy. When in turn, the long run results will kill these carriers. They ask the smaller carrier to help carry the burden of spending millions upon millions in building out a network, sit back and watch them struggle, die and then buy their infrastructure for far lower price. instant gain.

There is no disputing your point, but enough is enough...
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ScribeD

Nov 24, 2010, 5:39 PM
Slammer,

I would heartily back your point if the fiscal requirement by Verizon and AT&T were sufficiently choking enough that it would be unfairly burdensome. However, the "premium" that they are asking for non-roaming trade agreements is in the neighborhood of 8% over those with a roaming trade agreement. This is hardly insidious at all, merely an attempt to recoup some of the costs they will incur while supporting a larger network load.
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Slammer

Nov 24, 2010, 6:23 PM
You will need to excuse my lack of weaker business knowledge on this subject. However, I think it depends on what side of that 8% your on. One of the largest carriers in the world asking for 8% percent reduction from one of the smallest carriers. Hardly seems like a walk in the park. While this might seem minuscule, what effect do you think that 8% hit will have on the these smaller carriers?

Regardless, this is going to hurt the smaller carrier in the long run.

John B.
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ScribeD

Nov 24, 2010, 6:57 PM
No Slammer, you took my comment backwards. 🙂

The Regional Carriers are being asked to pay an additional 8% more if they do not offer a reverse roaming agreement over those companies, such as US Cellular, who do offer a roaming trade.

Honestly, whether in a full monopoly or a completely open utopia, do you think that any carrier would discount their services to someone who is not giving something in return? When you are speaking of an increase of a fraction of a penny per bucketful of packets, it isn't much.

in this instance, the Big Two are actually playing pretty fair, but are getting hammered in the public eye. They spent the money to get the spectrum; whether they bought regionals or won auctions, they did spend the money....
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Slammer

Nov 25, 2010, 10:10 AM
I am not in disagreement with you ScribeD. But here is a perfect example of how the smaller carrier greatly loses. This was posted this morning and it does reflect many actual occurrences.

"Cellular South goes on about nationwide coverage .
Little people know that you are limited to
amount you can roam before they shut your
service off . This happen to some family of
mine . They now use Verizon".

This is why these small carriers are in trouble and why the slow process of elimination is being carried through by the two largest. They are strategically putting the smaller in an uncompromising position.

John B.
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Azeron

Nov 24, 2010, 6:24 PM
Verizon and AT&T do not want to be forced to have roaming agreements with those carriers at all.
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WiWavelength

Nov 24, 2010, 6:46 PM
Azeron said:
Verizon and AT&T do not want to be forced to have roaming agreements with those carriers at all.


Indeed. And if proverbial Small Town Wireless customers cannot roam when they leave their rural market area to visit Capital City, then Small Town Wireless will struggle and be forced to sell out to Big Red or the Death Star.

AJ
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Azeron

Nov 24, 2010, 6:22 PM
There is only a Big Two. Sprint and T-Mobile are not on the same level as Verizon and AT&T. The trick for the Big Two is propping up Sprint and T-Mobile as paper tigers and pretending that they are competitors.
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WiWavelength

Nov 24, 2010, 6:55 PM
Azeron said:
There is only a Big Two. Sprint and T-Mobile are not on the same level as Verizon and AT&T. The trick for the Big Two is propping up Sprint and T-Mobile as paper tigers and pretending that they are competitors.


Bingo! VZW & AT&T are deceitfully two faced. In filings w/ the FCC, they speak of the "intense competition" against Sprint & T-Mobile. Yet, in pronouncements to the media, they say that they consider only each other to be legitimate competitors; Sprint & T-Mobile are just minor concerns.

AJ
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SPCSVZWJeff

Nov 27, 2010, 11:58 AM
Some build their business by building their business, others buy their way in. Verizon and AT&T did not get big because the public flocked to them, their gains are modest for the size of carrier they are.
They grew at the expense of a smaller competitor. The list is....

Alltel
Unicel
SBC Wireless
Ameritech
Bell South
Airtouch (via merger)
Bell Atlantic (via merger)
GTE (via merger)
McCaw cellular
AT&T Wireless
Western Wireless
Primeco
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CellStudent

Nov 25, 2010, 12:23 AM
If what you've said is true, then the existing agreements are a farce and need to be reworked.

Data roaming agreements need to be cash-only agreements in both directions.

We'll pay you $X.XX per GB of data roaming from our customers, you pay us $Y.YY per GB of roaming data from your customers.


That should be the end of it. If the rural carrier is offering coverage to the Big Boy in an expanded area, then market dynamics are such that VZW or AT&T would be writing outbound checks more then they are receiving inbound checks.

The common denominator in transactions like this needs to be cash- not coverage!

If what you claim is true, I fully support FCC regulations to implement a balancing sys...
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Slammer

Nov 24, 2010, 4:49 PM
Yet it is the FCC together with the DOJ, that helped create this unbalance by consistantly allowing VZW and ATT to exchange assets or buy out the smaller carriers without thinking about repercussions of such deals. Business stinks at times.

John B.
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Azeron

Nov 24, 2010, 6:14 PM
Problem is there are two of them so it would only be a monopoly if they were allowed to merge.
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Slammer

Nov 24, 2010, 7:51 PM
In a certain perspective, the two have swapped and divested so much assets between the two of them, it almost seems like a monopoly by the way they have conducted business. Almost like a partnership.

John B.
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CellStudent

Nov 25, 2010, 12:27 AM
Slammer said:
...it almost seems like a monopoly by the way they have conducted business. Almost like a partnership.


I believe cartel is the word you were looking for, John.
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Slammer

Nov 25, 2010, 7:37 AM
Yes Cellstudent. Cartel.

A word I do not use very often. It does better describe my content. Thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving.


John B.
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Cosmic Spiderman

Nov 24, 2010, 7:57 PM
Not at all how monopolies begin. Monopolies are a lack of competition. There is PLENTY of competition in the wireless market. Just because a company has no need for a parasite doesn't mean they are creating a monopoly. Smaller companies that would allow AT&T, Verizon, or even Sprint to fill holes in their coverage map are beneficial to both companies. The smaller companies that do not have that ability can offer no benefit to the larger company to use their network.
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CellStudent

Nov 25, 2010, 12:45 AM
Cosmic Spiderman said:
There is PLENTY of competition in the wireless market.

Three years ago, before Centennial and Alltel were consumed, I might have sided with you on this one.

Now, no way:

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/ ... »

There was "not sufficient competition" in the marketplace 6 months ago, and it's only getting more consolidated today.

When I see ONE quarterly earnings report where T-mobile or Sprint gains more customers than AT&T or Verizon, I'll rethink that stance.

No sooner.
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Azeron

Nov 25, 2010, 10:52 AM
Why would companies half the size of VZW and AT&T be expected to add more customers?
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CellStudent

Nov 25, 2010, 12:08 PM
Azeron said:
Why would companies half the size of VZW and AT&T be expected to add more customers?

Well, supposedly, because they're more competitive.

But they aren't, because the market isn't behaving like an open system. I wonder why.
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Azeron

Nov 28, 2010, 6:05 AM
If an industry is competitive and two companies grow at the same rate then of course the company half the size of the other will never add more customers than the larger one.
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Slammer

Nov 25, 2010, 9:52 AM
Monopolies do not form overnight. It can take many years to accomplish this goal. However, It does start somewhere.

In the last few years, competition has been getting eaten up one by one by the larger carriers. This has greatly diminished the competitive angle within this industry. This does fit into the path of aggressively eliminating some of the the higher ranking chess pieces then going for the pawns that are in the way for checkmate.

The smaller carriers are on the hit list. But the larger carriers want to plan and utilize savvy strategies to put competition in uncompromising positions. This will leave the vulnerable with little choice. Merge or sell. This also will close the door to any accusations of unfair practices. If a co...
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Azeron

Nov 25, 2010, 10:54 AM
There is no monopoly. Your answer to lack of competition is to have yet another merger? Sheesh!
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Slammer

Nov 25, 2010, 12:24 PM
Ahhh yes. It would appear as such. But let's take this from a different angle.

You had posted a very accurate insight that the two largest carriers did NOT fear T-mobile or Sprint. In fact, you had referred to them in your post as Verizon and ATT propping the two smaller as "Paper Tigers" to appear as competition.

Let's go with that for a second.

Sprint and T-mobile are not considered good competition, so VZW and ATT can effectively continue the path of leveling the small miniature companies and take more control.

T-mobile and Sprint continue to lose subscriber base regardless. Eventually, one or both need to shutter assets and liquidate personnel. The two largest continue to grow and eventually buy what's left of the two or:

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Azeron

Nov 24, 2010, 6:13 PM
brags about their 'nation-wide' network here. It is very irritating.
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Mark_S

Nov 24, 2010, 8:33 PM
.....where the buffalo roam!!!!!!
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VZW611LA

Nov 25, 2010, 1:17 AM
You are thinking about US Cellular. LOL. I remember that US Cellular TV ad tho. Cellular South goes on about nationwide coverage. Little people know that you are limited to amount you can roam before they shut your service off. This happen to some family of mine. They now use Verizon.
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JeffroPuff

Nov 26, 2010, 7:36 PM
The big carriers do this too. When I worked for Dobson, before at&t gobbled us up like Pac-Man eating pellets, we would ALWAYS have people come in when they had Cingular/AT&T, but got shut off for roaming too much on our network (i.e. if they moved here). We still get that with our customers today when they travel frequently. This is especially true on our "Canada" plans. They're all well and good, but spend too much time up north, and they'll drop you.
Sprint does it as well all the time here in WNY, where they have a "partner market" and their coverage comes primarily from roaming agreements with Verizon. All carriers will boot you if you roam too much.
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SPCSVZWJeff

Nov 27, 2010, 12:31 PM
Even big red does it. Except their tele sales people go out of their way to sign people up in markets where they have no network coverage. They are even good enough to add data plans so the customer can not use them and then get told that they are being dropped because 100% of their usage is on another carrier's network.
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Azeron

Nov 28, 2010, 6:02 AM
I've never heard of that. When I worked in tech, I dealt with customers who lived in Pennsylvania or Virginia (prior to the Alltel merger) in extended areas and Verizon never batted an eye at them. Do you have first hand knowledge of a customer being shut down?
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SPCSVZWJeff

Nov 27, 2010, 11:51 AM
You are thinking of it completely backwards.
Why should the smaller carrier allow a much larger competitor to roam on their network?
What would Verizon's big red map look like without roaming partners networks?
Those of you who do not venture outside of a metropolitan area would not understand what the smaller carriers mean to the people they serve. They provide the services those markets care most about for a reasonable price. When you have a billing question you go in and talk to the person who sold you your phone without taking a number. Whenever there is a community event you can be sure you will see the "cell phone people" front and center.
They provide coverage out where you are, even though you live out on a county road 20 miles...
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Azeron

Nov 28, 2010, 5:59 AM
Don't believe the hype. If you really want to see a carrier's coverage take a look at their prepaid map. The areas where they will allow you to use your phone without the user paying for roaming is their native coverage.

http://vzwmap.verizonwireless.com/dotcom/coverageloc ... »


The purple on the above map is native coverage. Who really gets the best out of the deal? As an over the road truck driver, Oklahoma and Mississippi are the only areas I have seen extended network personally traveling thirty-five states. Verizon is making a BIG mistake going forward with Voice over LTE without a clear ruling on this. They should use LTE for data only and continu...
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Mark_S

Nov 28, 2010, 5:54 PM
Absolutely correct.
Prepaid is the best way to get the best perspective of a carriers "true" coverage.
The big 4 state they no longer charge for roaming, hence...the "post-paid" plans where you technically roam on other carrier networks from time-to-time depending on location.
Pre-paid it is clear-cut, no surprises.
LTE for all carriers should be strictly "data only" as stated previously to avoid any confusion on where something begins, how far it goes, and where it ends.....
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