Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones Communications United States Your Rights Online

FCC To Probe Exclusive Mobile Deals 159

Posted by Soulskill
from the hold-off-on-that-twelve-year-contract dept.
On Tuesday, we discussed news that four US Senators would be looking into the exclusivity deals between carriers and cell phone makers. Apparently, they didn't like what they heard. Reader Ian Lamont writes with an update: "The Federal Communications Commission is planning on launching an investigation into exclusive handset deals between mobile carriers and handset makers. In a speech on Thursday, acting FCC Chairman Michael Copps said the agency 'should determine whether some of these arrangements adversely restrict consumer choice or harm the development of innovative devices, and it should take appropriate action if it finds harm.' It's not hard to imagine who might be targeted — at a separate Senate Committee on Commerce hearing on Thursday, much of the discussion centered on AT&T's exclusive deal to carry the iPhone. AT&T claimed 'consumers benefit from exclusive deals in three ways: innovation, lower cost and more choice,' but carriers and senators from states with large rural populations disagreed, saying that their customers had no choice when it came to the iPhone — it's not available because AT&Ts network doesn't reach these areas. One panelist also brought up the Carterfone precedent (PDF), which concerned an 'electrical acoustic coupling device' that a man named Tom Carter developed in the 1950s to let field workers make phone calls using a radio transceiver connected to AT&T's phone network. AT&T, which was then a monopoly, claimed no foreign devices could be connected to its network, but lost when it challenged the Carterfone in court. The result spurred innovation such as the fax machine."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FCC To Probe Exclusive Mobile Deals

Comments Filter:
  • by hansonc (127888) on Friday June 19, 2009 @07:13PM (#28397681) Homepage

    Four Senators want iPhones but don't want to leave Verizon...

    As with everything, until it inconveniences a Senator directly they don't see it as a problem

    • by Bovius (1243040)

      I'm very glad this was the first (significant) post. Thank you, good sir.

    • by geekboy642 (799087) on Friday June 19, 2009 @07:34PM (#28397879) Journal

      Suggested mod: +5, Sad but true.

      What needs to happen is some senators need to get cancer, and have their insurance company deny coverage based on them mis-reporting their weight 15 years prior. We'll see some shit change real damn fast when that finally happens.

      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday June 19, 2009 @07:46PM (#28397941) Journal

        If there's one thing the insurance companies would never be stupid enough to do, and that's screw with someone from Congress.

        • by dkf (304284)

          If there's one thing the insurance companies would never be stupid enough to do, and that's screw with someone from Congress.

          Never underestimate the power of sheer bloody stupidity!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by erroneus (253617)

        They don't pay for insurance coverage... it's just free medical care with highly prioritized and preferential treatment. That's one of the big problems with healthcare -- legislators never see the problem because they never experience it and those who have quickly forget it once they enter that arena.

        Senators do get some pretty nasty health problems if you will recall.

        • Agreed (Score:5, Interesting)

          by weston (16146) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Friday June 19, 2009 @09:02PM (#28398447) Homepage

          They don't pay for insurance coverage... it's just free medical care with highly prioritized and preferential treatment. That's one of the big problems with healthcare -- legislators never see the problem because they never experience it and those who have quickly forget it once they enter that arena

          Which is why we if we want the health care problem solved, one essential step will probably be insisting legislators and their staff have no access to any kind of group health care policy.

          Mind you some of them are probably well off enough this wouldn't be a particular inconvenience, but the staff thing ought to do it.

          • by SUB7IME (604466)
            We could just deny them access entirely. Though I would feel tension between my pledge to uphold the Hippocratic Oath and the Constitution, clearly the Constitution wins. I will defend the constitution, even to the death (of Congresspeople).
      • by PPH (736903) on Friday June 19, 2009 @10:42PM (#28398985)

        Which is why Congress has a (publicly funded) medical plan, the likes of which the insurance industry will fight to keep away from the rest of us.

        We need a law that says: Members of Congress gets the worst plan/deal/discount available.

      • by shentino (1139071)
        them lying about their weight is the easy part, but how do you give someone cancer?
    • by JohnnyGTO (102952)
      Scored 5 as Funny but 100 as sadly true!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I have not come across any "body" that attempts to lobby, write to local congressman/senators or follow legal channels to help enforce consumer antitrust.

      Read: http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/public/div_stats/211491.htm
      Quoted:
      "There are three main ways in which the federal antitrust laws are enforced: criminal and civil enforcement actions brought by the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, civil enforcement actions brought by the Federal Trade Commission and lawsuits brought by private parties asserti

      • by shentino (1139071)
        Simple.

        The only ones who can lobby are the ones made rich by existing favoritism.

        Positive feedback loop.
    • by andy1307 (656570)
      You'd be surprised at how close this is to the truth. Verizon is the only network that works in the DC metro. There are a lot of people on the hill who would love to get an iphone on Verizon.
      • by mcwop (31034)
        And Verizon would lock down the iPhone (tongue in cheek), so Apps will not work. I left Verizon several years ago for this very reason, and got a RAZR from ATT, and now I am still getting my money's worth from the first gen iPhone. Funny, maybe our politicians should investigate their own lobbying deals first.
      • I got Verizon because it was the only company that covered where I worked up in the mountains in NH. I didn't realize it was the same in metro DC.

        I just got the free POS phone that doesn't do anything except make voice calls and TXT. I just had to get used to the idea that I could never demand anything of my phone except for that.

    • by oneplus999 (907816) on Friday June 19, 2009 @08:35PM (#28398299)
      Does that mean if we chip in to buy them some PS3s or some 360s we might get rid of these ridiculous console-exclusivity deals?
    • by FudRucker (866063)
      what about people that want an iphone and use it with any number of carriers, i might want to use it with tracfone service,
    • The fax machine was invented long before the Carterphone issue. It even predates the telephone.

    • Funny how much of Slashdot lambastes vendor lock in of handsets unless it's Apple who is making said handsets.

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Friday June 19, 2009 @07:17PM (#28397729)

    There's AT&Ts recent withdrawal of the iPhone from Pay As You Go availability.

    Basically, if you want an iPhone on an affordable plan, you can't get it, because AT&T doesn't offer PAYG and because affordable operators like MetroPCS can't offer one either (yes, I realize MetroPCS isn't GSM, it's just an example).

  • Well, my 2 cents (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JeffSh (71237) <jeffslashdot@m0[ ]org ['m0.' in gap]> on Friday June 19, 2009 @07:22PM (#28397791)

    The carterfone and that whole line of reasoning has nothing to do with the iphone on competitor networks. I'm not sure what point is trying to be made, like as if the iPhone being able to work on Verizon would lead to some amazing innovation we're missing out on because of an exclusivity deal? I don't think I follow that one. I just don't get it, sorry. It's apples and oranges

    • by geekoid (135745)

      The point is you should be able to sue any phone on any system.
      Just like carterfone helped make it so you could use the phones system regardless of who made your telephone.

    • by sumdumass (711423) on Friday June 19, 2009 @07:56PM (#28398013) Journal

      I think the idea is that when ATT didn't service an area where service was needed, it not just temporarily, and their rules prohibited the connection of outside devices to it's phone network was shot down in court because it harmed customers.

      Much to the same here, ATT or any cell carrier not servicing some areas and locking the devices out from service there, it has the same effect as locking out competitors. We have to remember, as long as the cell phone companies use the wireless spectrum, they have to operate for the public's need or benefit. It's a condition of their license. They can do it at a profit but when they fail to provide to enough of the public, then the same concept applies that drove the carter phone ruling.

    • It really isn't that difficult to understand: the customer should have any and all options. No decision made by a manufacturer or by a vendor should lock the customer down, in any way, shape, or form. It's my $100 bucks, or $500 bucks - I should get the phone of my choice, I should get to pick my carrier, and I should be able to pick the plan that fits MY needs, as opposed to the plan that the vendor is trying to push. It's the concept of "free market" that everyone gives lip service to, but instead of i

      • If $10 data plan gives you 1gig, that is equal to more than 8hrs of voice talk per day for 1 month. Which is pretty much to unlimited voice (not including connection costs to LL).

        So having that as a fact, no voice plan should ever charge more than $20 per month for unlimited voice, anything higher is pure ripoffs.

        Can I get a $10 data plan for a mobile with VOIP?

        And surely having one plan for everyone would save marketing and confusing options, no more crap, just one plan, $20 = infinite voice, 1c text, 1gig

    • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday June 19, 2009 @11:27PM (#28399207) Journal

      The carterfone and that whole line of reasoning has nothing to do with the iphone on competitor networks.

      Carterphone is directly applicable.

      The carterphone decision is specifically about letting people buy phone equipment of their own choice and requiring the phone companies to let them attach it to the network, rather than renting the limited choice of company-provided equipment.

      It led to the "foreign attachments tariffs" and in two steps to the type-approval process, where any equipment that would meet the standards for interoperability could be certified by a lab hired by the manufacturer, then bought and connected by a customer.

      (It also led to long-distance service competition, antitrust litigation, and the breakup of the AT&T monopoly: MCI was formed, strung microwave links between cities, hooked 'em up to local phone lines, and let people bypass the AT&T long-distance service by dialing a local number then a customer ID and a long-distance number. AT&T sued, MCI counter-sued on antitrust and won, Southern Pacific Railroad strung fiber beside the tracks for their train signals and formed Sprint to sell the extra bandwidth on their network, ...)

      Carterphone was about breaking an anticompetitive tie-in between a network provider and its captive equipment supplier - with wireline rather than wireless equipment. Yes, in this case the bite is on the other carriers more than on the customers of the offending carrier (though the tiny General Telephone company, with its smal islands of local-phone customers, couldn't get Western Electric phones back then - a similar situation). So though the precedent won't transfer directly, IMHO the comparison is still apt.

  • Not really much of an improvement.

    • Not really much of an improvement.

      I gotta disagree - I'd love to see the iPhone available on T-Mobile, since they're my current provider. I have no interest in switching to AT&T at all.

      Given Verizon's consistent disabling of phone features in order to force use of their for-fee services (which is why I left them), it's hard to see Apple ever allowing the iPhone to be offered by Verizon.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Friday June 19, 2009 @07:34PM (#28397873) Homepage

    In response, Roth argued that exclusive deals enable innovation because the operator and manufacturer share the risk. He suggested that operators will ask manufacturers for certain features on phones but manufacturers will often only do so if the operator agrees to buy a certain number of phones, he said.

    Corporate trusts are not supposed to decide what features go into products. That is one of the reasons that anti-trust regulation exists. Picking features and rewarding risk takers is the exclusive domain of the silent hand of the market. If you want to share the risk and get some exposure, then buy corporate bonds or non-voting shares from the handset manufacturer that pleases you. It is not a cartel or lateral monopoly's prerogative to manipulate decisions about product features.

    The reason it is not the prerogative of trusts, cartels, or monopolies is because they are worse at it than the free market. Demonstrably so:

    Did you notice, for example, that it took a computer company -- that had never had anything to do with cellular -- entering the market to finally get a smartphone that didn't suck into the US market?

    Did you notice that the second acceptable smartphone came from a search engine company that had also never done cellular before?

    Did you notice that that second smartphone got relegated to a third tier provider because the big boys were too busy sucking each others dicks to be bothered with an innovative product?

    Did you notice that prior to the iPhone, America had just about the crappiest phones in the entire first world? Tiny little Taiwan was about a decade ahead of where we would be today were it not for Apple -- a complete outsider to your supposedly "innovative" little idiocracy.

    You guys have been using your cartel to sit on your lazy, incompetent asses. Just like the auto manufacturers, except that Southeast Asian companies have a much harder time getting variances for cell towers than you, you fat, lazy fucks, so they haven't managed to kick your ass all up and down like they did to the auto makers.

    I understand that you want to dictate features and restrain trade, but as it turns out, the free market(*) is a more efficient solution. So shove your transparent cartel rationalization up your ass and get out of my face.

    Well, that's what the Senators should have said, anyway.

    * Not laissez-faire, not anarchy: Adam Smith's free market, including regulation of anti-competitive behavior. Go re-read The Wealth of Nations if you doubt me.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      good lord.... I agree with you, but I'm not as emotionally invested as you are in this discussion.

    • Someone mentioned it in the Tuesday posting comments that all they are looking for is campaign contributions. While I do despise the contract agreements that one has to enter into to use a cellphone; -pay-as-you-go plans not withstanding- whatever happened to month-to-month or usage-based billing? FCOL, that's how it was done nearly twenty years ago when I had my first cellphone. It worked then, why not now?
    • by Facegarden (967477) on Friday June 19, 2009 @08:02PM (#28398075)

      In response, Roth argued that exclusive deals enable innovation because the operator and manufacturer share the risk. He suggested that operators will ask manufacturers for certain features on phones but manufacturers will often only do so if the operator agrees to buy a certain number of phones, he said.

      Corporate trusts are not supposed to decide what features go into products. That is one of the reasons that anti-trust regulation exists. Picking features and rewarding risk takers is the exclusive domain of the silent hand of the market. If you want to share the risk and get some exposure, then buy corporate bonds or non-voting shares from the handset manufacturer that pleases you. It is not a cartel or lateral monopoly's prerogative to manipulate decisions about product features.

      The reason it is not the prerogative of trusts, cartels, or monopolies is because they are worse at it than the free market. Demonstrably so:

      Did you notice, for example, that it took a computer company -- that had never had anything to do with cellular -- entering the market to finally get a smartphone that didn't suck into the US market?

      Did you notice that the second acceptable smartphone came from a search engine company that had also never done cellular before?

      Did you notice that that second smartphone got relegated to a third tier provider because the big boys were too busy sucking each others dicks to be bothered with an innovative product?

      Did you notice that prior to the iPhone, America had just about the crappiest phones in the entire first world? Tiny little Taiwan was about a decade ahead of where we would be today were it not for Apple -- a complete outsider to your supposedly "innovative" little idiocracy.

      You guys have been using your cartel to sit on your lazy, incompetent asses. Just like the auto manufacturers, except that Southeast Asian companies have a much harder time getting variances for cell towers than you, you fat, lazy fucks, so they haven't managed to kick your ass all up and down like they did to the auto makers.

      I understand that you want to dictate features and restrain trade, but as it turns out, the free market(*) is a more efficient solution. So shove your transparent cartel rationalization up your ass and get out of my face.

      Well, that's what the Senators should have said, anyway.

      * Not laissez-faire, not anarchy: Adam Smith's free market, including regulation of anti-competitive behavior. Go re-read The Wealth of Nations if you doubt me.

      +1 awesome.

      The US cellular market still blows. It was terrible years ago and it will be forever unless something changes! I switched away from verizon because their selection was shit, and instead now I have AT&T, whose network blows compared to verizon. But I still don't have 3G on my damn phone because I want android and AT&T is too into the iPhone love to agree to do anything with android. I could switch to t-mobile but now my work is paying for AT&T, so I'm stuck with EDGE only on my unlocked G1 even though my *FLIP PHONE* 4 years ago had 3G! I used to stream the daily show!

      If the manufacturers weren't so damn entangled with the carriers, they wouldn't be able to keep selling the complete shit they call most phones and there might be some real innovation to get consumer interest! I mean really, look at any cheap phone today and tell me what, if any, features it has over a cheap phone from 4 years ago!? They have pretty much stopped developing things on that end.

      As far as smartphones go, i hear rumors that AT&T is finally coming out with an android phone this summer, and it has a *QVGA* screen!? WTF? That is horrible. the iphone and g1 have TWICE as many pixels! Why go backwards!?

      That may not be true but either way, the US cellular market is just shit and I would LOVE for something to change!
      -Taylor

    • by Kesch (943326) on Friday June 19, 2009 @08:07PM (#28398127)

      * Not laissez-faire, not anarchy: Adam Smith's free market, including regulation of anti-competitive behavior. Go re-read The Wealth of Nations if you doubt me

      Thanks for pointing this out, I get so annoyed by people who assume that trying to apply free market solutions means endorsing complete anarchy. And then there are others who don't see how regulation can sometimes help make a market more free and increase competition.

      • by shentino (1139071)
        It's always wise to remember that anarchy and free market don't get along with each other.

        Without a neutral referee, i.e., the government supervising the market to make sure nobody cheats, the strongest will overrun the system and become the new "government"
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Did you notice, for example, that it took a computer company -- that had never had anything to do with cellular -- entering the market to finally get a smartphone that didn't suck into the US market?

      While I take your meaning, I wouldn't say that Blackberries "sucked." True, they were boring business tools and not the sexy web-browsing media players that the iPhone and its successors are, but there were a few decent data-capable phones in the US before it.

      • by Bob9113 (14996)

        >> to finally get a smartphone that didn't suck into the US market?

        > I wouldn't say that Blackberries "sucked."

        Nor would I -- I owned one for a few years. But I wouldn't call them smartphones, either. Smartphone implies "pocket computer." The Blackberries (the models that earned them the name "crackberry") are very nice wireless email devices, poor web browsers, and lousy cell phones. The wireless email device part they really nailed, but they're not smartphones any more than an electric typewriter

  • by reboot246 (623534) on Friday June 19, 2009 @07:47PM (#28397945) Homepage
    1. Be able to buy your phone from anybody who sells them.
    More stores selling more phones has to lead to lower prices

    2. Then choose your carrier.
    Kill the link between phone brand & model and the company that provides your service. And for God's sake kill those 2-year contract extensions!

    Maybe these Senators are on the right path -
    there's a first time for everything. :)
    • by AndrewNeo (979708) on Friday June 19, 2009 @08:00PM (#28398047) Homepage

      And for God's sake kill those 2-year contract extensions!

      You're going to see people crying about the price of unsubsidized phones awful fast.

      • by edalytical (671270) on Friday June 19, 2009 @08:29PM (#28398271)

        That's why they need plans that don't subsidize phones. I'd like to actually pay for service and not pay back the cost of the phone.

        Plus it would give people perspective to where there money was actually going. Is that transparency? IDK, but I still want to be able to purchase the hardware and the plan separately.

        Currently I have an iPhone that I bought unsubsidized, yet I still pay the same monthly rate that the subsidized buyers pay. That's just plain unfair.

        • by aaarrrgggh (9205) on Friday June 19, 2009 @11:35PM (#28399239)

          Subsidized phones aren't the problem; the fact that the cost isn't a separate line-item on your bill is. When you are out of contract, why don't your rates go down? You have paid off the cost of the phone...

          If people are too stupid to understand, well, not much you can do for them.

        • by Solandri (704621)
          I don't even understand why there are subsidized phones. If the cellular companies are worried about people being unable to pay for the cost of a phone up front, then give them a loan. They already run a credit check when you sign up for service. If the customer is credit-worthy, then offer them a 1-, 2-, or 3-year loan for the cost of the phone, complete with amortization tables. Then tack it onto their monthly bill. They already tack on a gazillion other fees and taxes so it's not like this would be
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Allow subsidizing phones, but change how it works.

        Right now, the phone subsidy is used as an excuse to lock you in to a lengthy contract. They carriers claim they have to do this to recover the value of the phone. They do, of course, need to recover that subsidy, but the minor truth obscures the bigger lie. There is no reason you need to be locked in to a contract to recover the subsidy.

        A simpler less antagonistic way to recover the subsidy would be to tell customer the value of the subsidy, then tell the c

        • by KiahZero (610862)

          If you look at many cell phone contracts, they do in fact decrease the early termination fee (recovering the value of the subsidy) by an incremental amount each month, such that an early termination results in a roughly pro-rata recoupment of the subsidy.

          • by shentino (1139071)
            which they only started doing to avoid the wrath of the FCC.

            Seems somehow they still managed to piss off big fed.

            Or maybe big fed saw through the smoke and mirrors for once.
        • by sumdumass (711423)

          You forgot another reason why they don't like doing that. Once the subsidy is paid off under the current system, you still pay the surcharge in your monthly bill and they profit it.

          They may be covering the cost of the phone in the first couple years, but after that, your bill doesn't decrease.

      • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Friday June 19, 2009 @09:18PM (#28398537) Journal

        But, you see, this doesn't preclude subsidized phones.

        Look, I have no problem with AT&T saying, "Hey, join our network for two years and we'll give you an iPhone for $199!" That's a fine way to get business and I have no problem with it. I don't even have a problem with Apple making this deal exclusive with AT&T.

        Where I have the problem is when that's the only way. If I want to spent $700 on an iPhone and use it on T-Mobile, Commnet, Indigo Wireless, Smartcall, or Union Wireless, that's fine, too. If any of the above companies want to support Visual Voicemail, they should be able to get the specs from Apple and implement it as well.

        This way, I can sit down and determine what kind of plan I want. Do I want a contract where I'm locked in for x years, but I have less immediate out-of-pocket expenses, a subsidized phone, and more predictable bills? Do I want a pay-as-I-go plan which may mean some really heavy months but some really light months, too? Must I have an iPhone? Is it better to spend $700 for the iPhone and $50/month for my plan, or spend $200 for iPhone and $70/month for my plan. Have I gotta have the latest/greatest phone and I'll want to switch every year? Am I the kind of person who keeps a cellphone for three or four years?

      • Uh, why? We've had four Moore cycles since phones got tiny. They ought to be cheap as dirt to produce (at least "just-a-phones" anyway). Sure, you can pay $500 for your smartphone if you want, but there already are pretty capable phones that cost less than $100, and aren't subsidized. You can get them at wal*mart, and they go under the name "go fone" or "trac phone" or whatever. They have few frills and cost as little as $30.

        That's right. Cell phones that cost less than some "cordless" phones. No s

      • You're going to see people crying about the price of unsubsidized phones awful fast.

        WTF?!

        Here's something interesting: in Denmark, 3 (a phone service company) has just announced the HTC Magic, running Android.

        They charge ~3600 DKK for the phone plus a half-year subscription (excluding the 200 DKK account creation and SIM card fee).

        (1 USD =~ 5-6 DKK)

        Here's the kicker: you can either pay 1200 DKK for the phone and 400 DKK per month in minimum usage, or 1800 DKK for the phone and 300 DKK per month, or 2400 DKK for the phone and 200 DKK per month.

        What does that tell you? You pay 3600 DKK for

      • It is more like a deferred payment of the phone.

    • by Zarf (5735) on Friday June 19, 2009 @08:21PM (#28398221) Journal

      You know...

      • I can buy *any* TV I want then get cable or dish service from *any* provider I want.

      • I can buy a computer from *any* company and then get Internet from *any* provider I want.

      • I can buy a land-line phone from *any* phone maker and then get phone service from *any* provider I want.

      It does make one wonder why the only exception is my cell phone.

      • Well, you can't buy any kind of modem and get internet from any provider. First you need the right kind of modem (i.e. ADSL, fiber, cable or regular old dial-up). And as far as I know, I can't go out and buy just any kind of cable or ADSL modem either. Granted, I don't rent or buy those (apart from the dial-up), but still.

      • by dissy (172727)

        Probably because, as in all the examples you have listed, no one wants to dangle an adapter that weighs more than the phone, to the cell phone, to get what you claim the others do.

        I can't plug my TV into a single cable company to take advantage of their services, i need a converter box that ONLY works with them.

        I can't plug my computer into any internet service. I need a modem/router/bridge device that generally only works with their service.

        Only the land line (POTS) phone is a ligit example, and you have

    • by PPH (736903)

      1. Be able to buy your phone from anybody who sells them.

      I've done that. An unlocked Motorola RAZR.

      2. Then choose your carrier.

      I can do that (within limits). I can choose AT&T or T-Mobile here in the USA, or throw a prepaid chip in it in Europe.

      Why Apple needed to cut any kind of deal with AT&T I never understood. Anything with GPRS voice plus a data plan should work. Just sell the phones at Apple stores and tell the customers to walk around the corner to an AT&T reseller for the chip. Or T-Mobile. Maybe build two prorocol models to support Verizon, etc. as well. If AT&T tr

    • by wfolta (603698)

      1. Be able to buy your phone from anybody who sells them.
      More stores selling more phones has to lead to lower prices

      This sounds like a recipe for lowest-common-denominator phones... like we had before the iPhone.

  • by BondGamer (724662) on Friday June 19, 2009 @08:00PM (#28398045) Journal
    Apple first went to Verizon but was turned down. AT&T was the only company that would let them do the iPhone, so they got it. Now everyone is crying foul because AT&T is stealing millions of customers. AT&T has every right to keep their deal with Apple. Just wait a few more years and the iPhone will be open for everyone, just as iTuned came to the PC. Apple's best interest is to sell the iPhone everywhere but has an obligation to repay AT&T for making all this possible.
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday June 19, 2009 @08:07PM (#28398121) Homepage

    This has nothing to do with spectrum, and is not the FCC's jurisdiction. The FTC should be investigating this - and in 2006.

    (Unrelated - why does my Karma bonus not work any longer? My Karma is Excellent)

  • AT&T claimed 'consumers benefit from exclusive deals in three ways: innovation, lower cost and more choice,' While guaranteeing monopoly rents to AT&T for anyone that wants an iPhone may actually provide more funding for innovation, economies of scale dictate that more iPhones could be sold if they were allowed on any network, thus lowering unit cost. The contention that less choice = more choice is truly Orwellian. Perhaps AT&T should use as their new slogan, "War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery;
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Perhaps AT&T should use as their new slogan, "War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength."

      True, that sounds even better than their current slogan ("Your world. Delivered. To the NSA.")

  • Cheaper my ass. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DynamiteNeon (623949) on Friday June 19, 2009 @08:54PM (#28398411)

    I save at least $50 on T-mobile using an iPhone and unlocking it (my wife has one also, so it's a shared plan). ATT has taken advantage of the iPhone to tack on the $30 data plan per phone, which is quite a bit more expensive than most other plans with similar service.

    I haven't fully decided if the iPhone penetration has reached a point where the government should be regulating them, but for ATT to argue that their deal really helps make things cheaper is bullshit.

    • I save at least $50 on T-mobile using an iPhone and unlocking it (my wife has one also, so it's a shared plan). ATT has taken advantage of the iPhone to tack on the $30 data plan per phone, which is quite a bit more expensive than most other plans with similar service.

      I haven't fully decided if the iPhone penetration has reached a point where the government should be regulating them, but for ATT to argue that their deal really helps make things cheaper is bullshit.

      Actually it's not. I assume you're comparing iphone on an EDGE network plan to a 3G speed network, so of course T-mobile is cheaper. I just finished pricing out comparable 3G speed plans and was shocked that Verizon was basically the same cost as AT&T for 3g. T-Mobile was about $10/month less than Verizon and AT&T for 3g, but heck T-mobile network is even worse than At&T :).

      • To be fair, I've had my plan for a lot longer since I've been with T-mobile for a while, so my current bill is closer to $90 after taxes. It's a little harder for me to justify a switch right now, though I certainly have been tempted at times for the 3g upgrade.

        I also went to compare the prices though a little bit ago, and while they've gone up, they're still a bit cheaper than the other plans and I wasn't that far off. My example is close to what I would be getting now.

        For example, go add familytime 1000

  • Precedent (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eldridgea (1249582)
    Originally Ma Bell got sued because you could only connect Bell telephones to your landline - nothing else would work. It was decided this was anti competitive. Now all of a sudden carriers *can* decide what devices we use? I think there's precedent for this. Verizon may not manufacture my phone, but there is a Verizon logo on the back of *every* phone I can choose. That seems like an unnecessary amount of control.
    • It wasn't that non-AT&T phones wouldn't work, there -were- no phones except AT&T phones manufactured by Western Electric, an AT&T subsidiary. Not only that, AT&T owned 100% of phones. You could only rent them. If you were in possession of a Western Electric phone not rented from AT&T, it was stolen. No non-AT&T devices could legally be connected to the PSTN, because this (AT&T FUD) would damage the network. There were no RJ-11 modular phone jacks, phones were connected to te

  • Do something about Verizon saying "you may not use a smart phone without paying $30/month above and beyond your voice plan for data even if you don't want to use our data network". The phones have WiFi - that's what I want. Period. I don't want data. I want a smart phone and I don't want to sure the web using your network. That should be my right to choose.
  • In the UK, whole departments are deployed to ensure the offerings can never be like-for-like compared - AFAIK that's partly to withhold that opportunity for customers but more so that regulation doesn't get much grip.

    If they want to drill through that game I wish them luck - they're up against years of well practised obfuscation..

  • I'm American, I have a "right" to have an iPhone! Another brand phone with similar features won't do, I insist on the Apple (TM) iPhone(TM)! Whaaa! I'm calling my senator!

    What a bunch of fucking crybabies.

  • bribes,,,,er,,,"campaign contributions". As soon as the right palms get enough greese on them this "issue" will go away faster than due on the morning grass.

Riches: A gift from Heaven signifying, "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." -- John D. Rockefeller, (slander by Ambrose Bierce)

Working...