FCC

Senators ask FCC to investigate cell makers exclusivity deals with carriers

Senators ask FCC to investigate cell makers exclusivity deals with carriers
Four Senators are asking the FCC to see if the public is being harmed by the exclusivity deals that carriers are entering into with phone manufacturers. Apple's iPhone and the BlackBerry Storm are sold in the U.S. by AT&T and Verizon respectively, and the politicians want to know if such deals not only hurt consumers, but also whether they stifle innovation in the industry. The four Senators are Commerce Committee members John Kerry (D-Mass.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn). The committee plans hearings on issues for cellular customers this week.

The Senators also want the FCC to check if the exclusivity deals are restricting consumer choice by geography, especially for those in rural areas, and if the wireless carrier market is being manipulated as a result of tying a specific handset to one carrier for a period of time. In a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Copps, the politicians wrote, “We ask that you examine this issue carefully and act expeditiously should you find that exclusivity agreements unfairly restrict consumer choice or adversely affect competition in the commercial wireless marketplace”.

source: Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

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14 Comments

1. SilverPearl

Posts: 31; Member since: Jul 08, 2008

And while they're at it, if they can get the US carriers to allow more of the tasty phones the UK gets all the time, that'd be great!

9. ErikSax

Posts: 21; Member since: May 20, 2009

You are correct. Our lawmakers need to correct this immediately.http://www.vodafonebusinessshop.co.uk/Phones.html

10. ErikSax

Posts: 21; Member since: May 20, 2009

Also see these to illustrate what SilverPearl has eluded to in his excellent comment. Thank you SilverPearl for opening my eyes. http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/shop/mobile-phones/phones/pay-monthly/phone-finder/results/all/1004/all/ http://threestore.three.co.uk/handsets.aspx http://shop.o2.co.uk/bestfor/All_round_performance

2. LatneeStorm911

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 11, 2009

Oh and while you two are at it you should ask why there are no Sony Xbox 360s or Ford Corvettes...keep up the good work fellas.

4. phoneguy

Posts: 213; Member since: Jan 08, 2009

ahh but there is a flaw to that statement. The idea is that a consumer should have the right to purchase an Iphone if they want and not be bagged down on a horseshit network or the storm and not have to pay absorbent costs. Not to mention people in outlying areas where rural carriers exist and the big 5 dont to allow them to have the tasty devices.

6. LatneeStorm911

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 11, 2009

This would all make sense if every carrier had the exact same coverage, data speeds, and prices. That is not the case, therefore they can keep the exclusive deals. If you are one of those people who can't get an iPhone because you don't get good coverage from AT&T, get on AT&T for their network coverage, not other carriers.

3. asears08

Posts: 24; Member since: Jun 16, 2009

Im glad they are doing this. There are areas where one provider is weaker than the others. For example where I live ATT is pretty terrible, I would have really liked to get the Blackberry bold or the Iphone but the service around here is terrible. So I am forced to use a carrier that doesnt have the phone I wanted. The death of exclusive phone deals will allow consumers to have the phone they want on the service provider that has the best coverage where they live. That said.....arent there bigger things to worry about at the moment.....

5. PL007

Posts: 22; Member since: Feb 09, 2009

Yes I agree with you. I too think there are bigger things to worry about than exclusive deals. But if it does happen, it would be interesting to see how these carriers will attract new customers. Let's say the iPhone, Bold, Storm, G1, G2, all are available on all carriers, now those carriers have to come up with other ways for them to sign up new subscribers. Maybe limited promotional plans, offering extra features or services on certain phones. Not a bad idea. This will benefit the customer which is what's important.

12. Fanboys Suck

Posts: 609; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

Benefiting customers is a great thing, but look at this from the businesses point of view: They exist to make money. They make money by providing a great product. Consumers (customers) purchase and use their products. Apple would not have allowed AT&T to purchase an exclusivity on the iPhone if they did not think it would make them the most money. AT&T spent a LOT of money for that right. The exclusivity will run out, and eventually Verizon and other carriers will get the phone (even a much better version than the first three). Apple knows this, but they made a shit-ton up front from AT&T for the exclusivity. This is how business works. This move by these Senators are taking businesses' rights away. This will help no one. Think of Movie Theaters: Regal and Century. They purchase movie exclusivity so they can have only certain films at certain theaters. If they have the better movies that weekend, they will make more money. Think about it. Do you really want the government to get into every little private sector and regulate what they can and cannot sell? This is ridiculous.

14. tedkord

Posts: 17320; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Individuals have rights. Businesses have regulation. And individual rights trump business every time in a capitalist society.

7. surethom

Posts: 1669; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Exclusivity deals are ok BUT only for a short period of time (6 months or so) & that phone should also be available Sim Free at the same time if not then the exclusivity deals should not be aloud.

8. idmcmillan

Posts: 9; Member since: May 13, 2009

I really agree with what they are doing. I am currently with at&t because verizon gets no reception at my house, i would really like to see the enV line go to at&t. I desperatly want one of them but am restricted to at&t because of the horrible verizon coverage at my location. But i also agree that there are way more important things to be having hearings over other then cell phone exclusivity

11. Fanboys Suck

Posts: 609; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

F*ck That!!! It is called capitalism & competition!! A company (AT&T) purchases an exclusive for a phone (iPhone). They get to have it for a while, or a lifetime, whatever it may be. Another company (Verizon), gets pissed because they want a phone that is touchscreen like that, so they purchase an exclusive phone (Storm) from another company (RIM) and have it for a while or a lifetime. Other companies too...Sprint, T-Mobile... everything! Now... tell me this does not create competition!! It DOES create competition!!! Unbelievable! You are lying to yourself if you think it doesn't!! Sure, screw capitalism, usher in socialism, and let the government intervene in EVERYTHING the private sector is doing. Take all the freedoms and liberties from the businesses that continue to drive the economy... without businesses, there would be no economy. You who support this are trying to Force private businesses to do whatever you want then to do. This is completely wrong. You are taking their choices, as a private firm, away. Damn, if the government doesn't want to screw things royally...

13. Jyakotu

Posts: 867; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

Phone exclusivity deals are not really important. Every company has phones that set them apart and that's a good thing. AT&T has the iPhone, Verizon has the Blackberry Storm, Sprint has the Palm Pre, and T-Mobile has the G1. Competition is a wonderful thing.

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