FCC

Regulators start digging into wireless industry; exclusive deals to be examined closely

Regulators start digging into wireless industry; exclusive deals to be examined closely
The FCC opened an inquiry into the cellular industry on Thursday as part of a congressionally mandated annual review of the business. The inquiry comes at the same time that the Feds are examining exclusive deals between handset manufacturers and the carriers. Big network operators like Verizon, Sprint and AT&T have exclusive rights to sell certain popular smartphones in the U.S., a practice which small, rural carriers complain leads to less competition. While Verizon currently is the only U.S. carrier allowed to sell the BlackBerry Storm, AT&T has a similar arrangement with the Apple iPhone and Sprint likewise has a deal with Palm for the Pre. With 90% of the nation's cellular calls carried over one of the top 4 carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in order of size), and with 60% of U.S. cell calls carried over either Verizon or AT&T, the rural companies are basically shut out of obtaining the latest devices with the most wanted features.

The FCC now has 3 separate inquiries in motion. Besides the aforementioned look at competition in the wireless business and the exclusivity deals for handsets, the commissioners are taking a look at billing practices by phone, internet and cable companies. The public can leave comments on the first two inquiries for 30 days with a 15 day window for an FCC reply. The third inquiry has a 45 day public comment period with 15 days open for FCC response.

source: Reuters

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12 Comments

1. Vlondril

Posts: 91; Member since: Aug 22, 2009

yay.....is it just me or is the government starting yet another "inquiry" where everybody talks and nothing is done?

2. 22ADin09

Posts: 38; Member since: Jul 24, 2009

i'd be truly surprised if they actually do something about this issue.

3. Kiltlifter

Posts: 742; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

I say we stop trading contracts entirely and make everyone buy at full retail. People's attitudes would change real quick having to pay 800.00 for their iPhone. The little rural companies wouldn't survive because they couldn't subsidize to gain subscribers. Then AT&T, VZW, Sprint and T-Mobile would be the only companies. Prepaid would vanish becuase no one on prepaid would want to shell out 500.00 for their phones ( or nearly no one ) . Typical american attitudes... "CONSUMER RIGHTS... oh wait i have... to... pay... more... ummm.... ... crap... :( .... Let the 'man' think for me again... YAY brainless peon mode reintiated!"

4. rehnhart

Posts: 103; Member since: Mar 27, 2009

How about investigate into why Verizon is raising their "Feature phone" data plans and trying to suck more money from us.

7. hmcougar09

Posts: 137; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

All in all, I research that ATT charges people WAY more than any other company for that stupid iPhone. With Verizon in second place for thier Storm, Sprint for Pre then TMob. with the G1 being the cheapest. I would say, you have no room to talk! :]

10. ICanAffordVZW

Posts: 123; Member since: Dec 15, 2008

If you cant afford a mercedez, dont buy a mercedez. Im sure Sprint or T-Mobile would love to sell you a KIA. If people realized how much that iPhone or Storm actually costs ATT and VZW you would be thankful for those subsidized prices.

5. tofast30

Posts: 16; Member since: Nov 21, 2008

what's real stupid is looking for the government to make everything fair. First the cars, Health care, energy etc. the cell phone industry well crash when the government steps in. there won't be anything new happening in the cell phone because the government will start to listen to people on these blogs complaining about stupid stuff, that they know is not real. whatever these site make me mad. its not an issue. each carrier has to fight to stay on top. they do no always get the phones they want. whatever this is a waste of ink. peace

6. YouLostTheGame

Posts: 441; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

Seriously, the gov't is sticking it's little nose into EVERYONE'S business as of late and I'm getting more than a little tired of it. Just bring on the complete, total, utter socialist control that this administration is so desperately trying to push on an unwanting public. I am SO fed up with politicians who have little to no experience of any kind in any real life subject, running around and thinking they can somehow fix everything, that doesn't even necessarily need to be fixed. Big biz and small biz have always had these common problems, and the fact is that things have continued to be FINE! I'm sick and tired of whiney little brats in this country getting away with bullshit, all in the name of "equality and fairness". Last time I checked, LIFE WASN'T FAIR! This country is losing it's identity FAST thanks in huge part to our general naivete and STUPIDLY POOR selection of public officials. We need to stop bitching and start a revolution!

8. holby26

Posts: 9; Member since: Dec 29, 2008

whoaaaaa..... not ready to start a war over cell phone.. not my cup of tea. This happens every time we vote democrat. Every single time. Which is why we have so many years of republicans. Then a Republican is just sooo aweful we go back and say it cant be any worse lets elect a democrat. I want to be a democrat but I just cant. They have good ideas but the process is always worse than the benefits. I wish we had a third party but that will probably never happen. I hope at some point these smaller carriers do get the better phones. Then we people complain that it only works in these small areas and the companies are forced to pay roaming. Everyone will leave them anyways because they will be at the same price point as the big guys. These small carriers complain so much but if they had to pay for a nationwide network then they would cost as much as everyone else. Really metro or cricket? You are gonna charge a better price for the phone and the data? Really your going to be able to compete with sprint who has rock bottom pricing? Really.

9. jskrenes

Posts: 209; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

I'd like to see a third party too. The problem with our government, well, at least the problem I'm outlining, is that dems take control under the guise of making things 'fair.' They stick their nose in things and whether or not they make things fairer, they usually end up screwing things up to worse than before. Republicans come along promising to fix things, but find that they like having all the power that dems have wrestled from the private sector and taxpayer too much to give it back. And the cycle of broken promises continues, no party gets what they truly want, they don't undo the mistakes of the previous party, and the people get the short end of the stick.

11. Vlondril

Posts: 91; Member since: Aug 22, 2009

ok im just gonna be poink blank honest.....both governmental parties have their good points and their bad points.....the bottom line is that both want to keep the little guy down.....Dems pretend they are on our side.....Repubs are firmly entrenched in the good old boy system for big buisness.....politics has never been a clean honest buisness.....Even our first president George Washington steared away from political parties....as a matter of fact he stated that political parties would destroy this country....hows that for a fun fact?

12. hfj2007

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 30, 2009

In my opinion, it is great for certain phones to be exclusive to certain carriers. It is one of the easiest ways to advertise for a company and the best way to compete. However, local carriers should be allowed to have exclusive handsets also, or at least make deals with the major carriers to be able to carry that "ATT Exclusive IPhone" I think thats one easy way to solve that competition problem for the locals. I think they really should look into the high prices charged for data plans-- ATT and Verizon get pretty ridiculous. T-mobile has everyone beat with a $74 unlimited everything smartphone plan. It would also be nice if they looked into the hidden fees AKA " "regulatory-related" fees" or "line-item fees". Prorated charges are usually BS. If you don't have anything to prorate- it shouldn't be charged! As with the political topic- people should stop paying attention to parties and focus more on the candidates. Party really has nothing to do with it, it's actually just a way to categorize people. We as a "people" don't care about categories, we care about what the person has to offer the country. Right?

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