Feeds

FCC to investigate iPhone-like deals

No more network exclusives?

Application security programs and practises

Interim Federal Communications Commission chair Michael Copps is calling for an examination of exclusive handset deals to establish if they are restricting innovation.

In an informal presentation on broadband policy at the Pike & Fischer Broadband Policy Summit(pdf) Mr. Copps brought up the subject of exclusive deals and how they could "restrict consumer choice or harm the development of innovative devices".

Earlier in the week Senator Kerry wrote to the FCC suggesting that such deals risk giving too much power to dominant networks, with particular reference to the iPhone and AT&T and using much the same language as Mr. Copps.

Mr. Copps said: "we should open a proceeding to closely examine wireless handset exclusivity arrangements that have reportedly become more prevalent in recent years, and I have instructed the Bureau to begin crafting such an item."

Network operators love exclusive handset deals, even if they only last a month or two: not only can they associate their brand with the new handset, but the network also gains from the advertising spending of the handset manufacturer. Device manufacturers know this, and will demand a much higher handset subsidy in exchange for an exclusive, which, after all, limits their market.

In markets with healthy competition between equally-sized networks that all works fine, but where a dominant player can snap up the exclusives - perhaps by refusing to list a handset at all rather than offering a substantial subsidy - then smaller networks can easily be sidelined - which is what the FCC will be seeking to establish.

While it might be hard to imagine Apple being forced to sell handsets operating on networks other than AT&T, it's worth remembering that they are already required to do so in several counties that already restrict such deals. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.