Justice Department to review wireless carriers for anti-competitive behavior

Justice Department to review wireless carriers for anti-competitive behavior
The WSJ is reporting that the Department of Justice is in the very early stages of an investigation into the possible anti-competitive nature of the wireless carrier business. The Justice Department may decide at the end of the review to start a formal investigation, or just walk away. Among the topics that the Feds will take a close look at is the recent practice of carriers to enter into exclusivity deals with the manufacturers of "hot" handsets. Such agreements, like the one Apple has in the U.S. with AT&T, have raised questions in the minds of regulators about how level the playing field is in the business. Another topic for review is whether the telecom carriers are restricting the services that other firms can offer on their networks.

Anti-trust experts expect the government to drag out the ole' chestnut, the Sherman Anti-trust Act, to measure the lawfulness of the carriers. These experts feel that the DOJ would have a tough time making its case because they would have to prove that a wireless firm is abusing its power. While no specific companies have been mentioned,Verizon and AT&T are the two largest wireless firms in the U.S, controlling 60% of the 270 million wireless subscribers in the States.

source: WSJ via Phonescoop



1. Fanboys Suck

Posts: 609; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

Communist bastards! More and more regulation. Thank you big government for destroying competition and destroying the private sector. Damn, don't companies have the power to make desicions anymore without being questioned by the government? It's not like this is Mexico where one dude owns the entire cell industry down there- that is a monopoly, and is not good for that nation. However, we in America, have the freedom to choose what carrier we want, and what plan we want, etc... Thanks jerks for destroying capitalism and turning us into a communist nation. Amazing...

2. Kiltlifter

Posts: 742; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

I agree... Who cares taht AT&T has the iphone... is that the only phone that can play podcosts and itunes...? I think not... is that the only phone with a touch screen? Is that the only phone that can receive a .mac email address...? Is Verizon the only carrier that sells blackberry devices? Is the pre the only phone that can access email? There are countless substitutes out there for every single operation on your phone, who cares about alliances and contracts between manufacturers and carriers... honestly. The govt is just trying to find a way to tap into the privacy of wireless providers as they are one of the only business profiting right now because they are (for the most part) managed 1000 times better than any government institution. It is a GLOBAL ECONOMY, step the F off.

5. hmcougar09

Posts: 137; Member since: Jan 25, 2009


3. pathmarkpolice

Posts: 102; Member since: Feb 05, 2009

I don't think that this has to do with iphone exclusivity or the destruction of capitalism as it has to do with collusion amongst wireless carriers to keep the prices of their services high. Major carriers all have ridiculously priced data plans, and just in the recent past have they reduced the cost of their voice plans. Does anyone find it funny that a big wireless carrier like metropcs is able to keep its prices so low? $5 a month for unlimited INTERNATIONAL calling to over 100 countries? Problem is, GSM carriers (along with verizon and sprint) seem to all have the same prices for new users, give or take. If people could buy cool gsm enabled devices like the iphone, and use them on a cheaper metropcs-like alternative, trust me, a lot of people would. If big companies like VZW and ATT decide to work out some deals on the golf course during lunch, then fair trade loses. They control most of the market, so it's in their best interest to work together to keep prices up.

10. Kiltlifter

Posts: 742; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

i don't feel that data plan prices are rediculous at all... remember when AOL was 44.99/month for DIAL-UP! you are able to walk anywhere in the populated united states and access speeds from your 3g handset ranging from 400kbps-3.6 (UK 7.2), and you only pay $30-$50 for it (for the most part). I think that's a pretty good deal.

4. YouLostTheGame

Posts: 441; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

I agree with all of the first three comments on here. I think there needs to be a SLIGHT gov't force to make sure that a free market stays that way, but on the other hand, (especially with this current administration!) there seems to be a super-duper POOR way of handling the supposed "free" biz sector and it's KILLING our economy! Now we have banks like Citigroup that are almost 40% owned by the gov't, as well as gov't officials forcing CEOs to step down in the case of GM. Not to mention this terrible plan of Odrama's to supposedly "reform" healthcare with taxpayer dollars to force yet ANOTHER sector to teeter on the brink of destruction: the private health ins. group. Thanks to everyone out there that has voted in this current administration for making our already TOO BIG gov't, even BIGGER! We're going to be a socialist country in no time. I liken our nation's situation to an anecdote about frogs: When you place a frog into already boiling water, the frog will immediately want to jump out, however, if you place a frog in a pot of cool water, and gradually increase the water temp until it's boiling, the frog won't register the gradual difference in temp and will eventually die. This is the exact state our dear country is facing and we're all just watching it happen right before our eyes until it's too late! Let's stop bitching, and start a revolution already!

6. jherz6

Posts: 217; Member since: May 23, 2008

I agree as well, But be carefull big brother is watching.

7. dirtjenkins

Posts: 12; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

All the evidence given, so far, trying to prove how our current administrations is "big government" such as bailing out and forcing resignations are direct responses to big companies that were managed poorly and not as innovative as their competition, so they failed. In a perfect business world, that would be just another day in the market. Unfortunately, these institutions were so entrenched into the US and world economy that allowing them to fail would be catastrophic. Their failure was a result of relaxed regulations; business is like a herd of cows over finite land. The land can only support so much grazing. The government should work like a rancher and merely manage but not have to feed. As for the exclusivity thing, which honestly is the real reason for this initiative. I'll use another analogy and reference sports. Exclusivity is just like the draft and free agency. Unfortunately, not every organization is going to get a Larry Fitzgerald but it is up to that team to seek them out. As for companies, there R&D should be working hard to find that next "Blue Chip Athlete" to get their team over the hump. So, in other words, I don't mind exclusivity or things of that nature. But, in the end, there is always a competition committee in sports, as well as a commissioner. Someone has to oversee things and keep teams in line or the whole will fail. So too much or too little is never the answer. Moderation is the only way to survive.

8. jrg11

Posts: 65; Member since: Jun 12, 2009

I have a big problem with how well thought out and well written all of these comments are. Comments on this site are supposed to be written in all caps, have multiple misspellings and be filled with unintelligible slang. Shame on you commenters for bringing common sense and voices of (semi) reason to this website. /not really

9. Phullofphil

Posts: 1828; Member since: Feb 10, 2009

There is two sides two every story. You are all paranoid freaks. What is it big business controlling the government or is government controlling big business. Weather you agree with it or not it looks like to me atliest an effort to try and avoid a monopoly of the cell phone business by one company. And you know what else all these company's being bailed out is a joke. They should be heald accountable for making bad business decisions. Only in america can you write a check and not only not have to pay but have it payed for you. Well unless you are poor already. But what ever it is it is sad to see the workers suffer over decisions by people not taking the blame. There is no voice for the people any more just the company's that employ them. Everybody to afraid to stand up and rise above. Not saying unions are always the answer these days cause unless there a strong union than it just a bad name for unions. Should not have to be unions. But with out them and you get whats happening. Company's trying to compete and and make more profits. Making people do more work than they should, Trying to avoid paying benefits. Finally making competitors go away along with all their employees. And finally wiping out the middle class. which are the class that actually spend there money back int our economy. The recession is all in our minds like a big disease spreading and getting worse. If you everybody would start spending money again it would recover. Wow the power of suggestion. Last time it took world war two to get our minds off it.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.