US regulators probe wireless competition
Devices and infrastructure focus
US regulators are probing the level of competition in the wireless sector in a move that could lead to broader investigation of the communications industry.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has said it's seeking input on new issues and topics since its last report was released in this annual process in May.
The Commission said it wants to include new market segments not covered in earlier reports, such as in devices and infrastructure.
Importantly, regulators want to examine "vertical relationships" between "upstream" and "down stream" market segments and how these relationships affect the competition.
That means the Commission want to examine whether deals between, say, handset manufacturers and carriers have locked out rivals to the detriment of customers.
This is the first such under President Barack Obama's FCC chairman Julius Genachowski who said his organization would seek to provide "a solid foundation for policy making with respect to mobile wireless services" using the report's findings. Genachowski is a leading supporter of the idea of net neutrality.
The Commission also announced an inquiry looking at ways to support and encourage further innovation and investment in wireless.
Spectrum availability, wireless networks, devices, applications, and business practices will be looked at along with how the public has used wireless services and technology to solve real-world problems in areas such as health care, energy, education, and public safety the FCC said. ®
What this is really about is new rules for government take over of the internet. Soon they will be telling us what when and where we can download, surf or email. Get that Nazi bastard out of the white house first. Then talk about telecom.
Well, this can hardly be worse than the last FCC Chairman, who seemed to think that we'd benefit from having a 100% telecoms monopoly under AT&T.
@ Jim Metz:
Just ignore or forward the yahoo email to an address you'd like to use, and don't let them mess with your browser. I'm sure they haven't blocked Google or Bing or whatever you'd rather use than Yahoo. I have a feeling that blocking Google would lose them customers and earn them a lawsuit asap, while blocking Bing would probably just get them a lawsuit.
For your plan to work, it'd require all mobile service providers to use compatible wireless technologies. There's no way to take a phone that will work with AT&T (GSM) and take it to Verizon or Sprint (CDMA.) Since AT&T and Verizon are the only two providers that really count, size-wise, and they are incompatible, it doesn't matter a whole lot whether they keep you on their network, since there's nowhere else to go.
The GSM vs CDMA mess is really the root of this country's wireless problems, and it's probably not going to change in the near future.
Hinges on the definition of ownership
Like many recent digital advances this hinges on the definition of ownership. Do I own my cellphone or merely lease it from the provider for 2 years? If I own it, competition law ought to say it's mine to do what the hell I like. Bored with AT&T? Fine, go stick a Verizon SIM in the back and move on. If I lease it, on the other hand, I am really stuck with the carrier and all the law can do is say that after the two year period I should be able to trivially unlock my device and go to whoever I like.
Personally I would rather pay the full price for a handset and be able to do what the hell I like with it rather than have the price obscured in a two year contract. Any kind of cross-subsidy or price occlusion is always to the detriment of the customer. (Exhibit A is the US healthcare system, but let's not even go there today.....)