Congress vs Exclusive contracts?
Congress is finally waking up to the noncompetitive situation in the Cell phone industry and may take exclusive contracts under close review.
On Monday, four members of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet sent a letter to the FCC expressing their concern around agreements, like the one between Apple and AT&T, that allow an operator to exclusively sell a phone for a period of time.
Senators to examine exclusive handset deals | ITworld
The letter: from Senator Kerry's site: Senator John Kerry's Online Office :: Releases
We write to express our concern regarding the use of exclusivity arrangements between commercial wireless carriers and handset manufacturers with respect to wireless handsets that are made available to consumers.
We ask that you consider the following factors in making this determination:
· Whether exclusivity agreements are becoming increasingly prevalent between dominant wireless carriers and handset manufacturers;
· Whether exclusivity agreements are restricting consumer choice with respect to which handsets are available depending on a consumer’s geographic region, particularly for consumers living in rural America;
· Whether exclusivity agreements place limitations on a consumer’s ability to take full advantage of handset technologies, such as the ability to send multimedia messages or the ability to “tether” a device to a computer for internet use;
· Whether exclusivity agreements are manipulating the competitive marketplace between commercial wireless carriers. Specifically, whether the ability for a dominant carrier to reach an exclusive agreement with a handset manufacturer is inhibiting the ability of smaller, more regional carriers to compete; and
· Whether exclusivity agreements play a role in encouraging or discouraging innovation within the handset marketplace.
Blackberry, perhaps trying to get ahead of the curve is offering its new "Tour" on at least two different carriers with hints of more to come:
RIM to Sell New Tour on Two Carriers - WSJ.com
So if innovative phones can be offered on subsidy contracts in several European countries which are not LOCKED to specific carriers, why can't we have that here?
Why if you walk away from ATT/Rogers do you have to give up your iPhone (or Jailbreak it, which Apple also claims is against the law).
What's your opinion.