Feeds

US edges towards mobile antitrust case

Another senator joins the baying voices

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Calls for an investigation into monopolistic practices by US mobile operators have been answered with a review by the Justice Department that could quickly turn into an investigation.

On Monday the chair of the Senate antitrust subcommittee, Herb Kohl, wrote to the FCC and the Justice Department, regarding operators abusing their power through exclusive handset deals, price matching and refusal to make roaming agreements. Now the Wall Street Journal reports that the Justice Department has launched a review of the matter.

Herb Kohl's letter pointed to increases in the cost of text messaging as an indicator of the risk America is taking by having so few companies with such market share. He described it as a "warning sign for the state of competition in the cell phone market", and called for mandated roaming to allow smaller companies to compete more effectively.

We've had calls for mandated roaming in the UK too. But it is more complex in the US, where the lack of a single mobile standard complicates things, though wildly different levels of coverage make intra-country roaming much more important.

The FCC is already examining exclusive handset deals, to see if they unfairly benefit the larger operators. This follows a letter on the issue from Senator Kerry, so the operators should be suitably on edge by now anyway.

Exclusive deals do lead to cheaper handsets, which is what consumers want. But price matching is certainly cheating, even if it's not the result of any formal meeting between the operators. Christine Varney, antitrust chief at the Justice Department, hasn't launched an investigation yet, but it won't take much evidence of anticompetitive behaviour to trigger one. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.