Kevin Martin's Latest Gift To Telcos: Dismissing Skype Petition

from the we-don't-need-no-discussion-at-all.. dept

A little over a year ago, Skype filed a petition with the FCC asking to extend the Carterfone decision to mobile networks. The Carterfone ruling was what allowed people the opportunity to connect non-AT&T telephones to the phone network, and kicked off an awful lot of innovation in the telephone arena (getting everyone past the black rotary phones). The Skype petition was a bit misguided, because the situation in the mobile world was quite different than the AT&T telephone monopoly of the 1960s. In fact, there is a lot more competition and openness in the mobile world -- and that competition has pushed many of the players to continue to open up at a greater rate, knowing they need to in order to compete.

So, it probably doesn't come as much surprise to find out that telco buddy Kevin Martin is dismissing the Skype petition outright. He announced this at the CTIA conference, where it was greeted by applause -- suggesting that it was mostly employees from mobile operators in the room. Martin pointed out that there was a lot of competition in the mobile space and also noted Verizon Wireless' move towards openness. Of course, it may be a bit early to declare Verizon Wireless truly open, and it seems a bit odd to dismiss the Skype petition out of hand without any public discussion. While it's probably true that the Skype petition was asking for unnecessary regulations, you would think that at least a discussion could have been held around questions of openness on mobile networks before the petition was totally dismissed.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Cynic, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 6:04pm

    The Federal Communications Commission is not about open communications with the US public...only back room deals need apply.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Palmyra, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 6:50pm

    How long before this POS term ends?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Mitchell, Apr 1st, 2008 @ 9:19pm

    I must say I greatly disagree with your assertion that there is "a lot more competition and openness in the mobile world". The mobile world is very closed, this is everything from what hardware you are allowed to bring onto a carriers network to what software you're allowed to load onto your phone. Would you please clarify your statement?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 3:27am

    Re:

    I must say I greatly disagree with your assertion that there is "a lot more competition and openness in the mobile world".

    Compared to 1968 AT&T? Uh... yes, there's a lot more competition.

    The mobile world is very closed, this is everything from what hardware you are allowed to bring onto a carriers network to what software you're allowed to load onto your phone.

    Yes, that's partly, though not totally true. On GSM networks you can bring anything onto that network with a SIM card, and most phones will let you load whatever software you want right now (VZW is still something of an exception to this rule). The competition between the different carriers has made it so that all of them are opening up more and more.

    So, yes, it's quite a different world and while it's not truly open yet, it's moving in that direction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re:

    Compared to 1968 AT&T? Uh... yes, there's a lot more competition.

    That's kind of like declaring China of today to be a free and open democracy by comparing it to China of 1968. In other words, while it may not be as closed as it once was, to declare it free and open today is still an exaggeration.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Nasch, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    He said there is "a lot more competition and openness". That is a relative statement, not an absolute one. In other words, it doesn't say anything about how open the market is, except in comparison to 1968. I can't tell if this is two different people making the same mistake or one person making it twice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Mitchell, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re:

    The point about GSM is a valid one, but I can't say I think it really has the same punch to it if we were to talk about CDMA carriers being open because of the difference in coverages offered by each service type. In my are GSM isn't a reality outside of what are IMO a couple of very poor local carriers.
    As far as CDMA opening, I'm looking forward to seeing what Verizon's open access rules do. At this point though, it really sounds like more of the same, even if they are open you still need to have that particular model of device approved by them before you can have it on their network. I won't call CDMA totally open until I can walk into a Best Buy, pick what cell phone I want, then walk over to their carrier services desk and choose my plan and features.
    Though to counter this you have IMO Alltel going the exact opposite direction and actually locking down their phones harder then they were before, if you want confirmation of this check Howard Forums.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's kind of like declaring China of today to be a free and open democracy by comparing it to China of 1968. In other words, while it may not be as closed as it once was, to declare it free and open today is still an exaggeration.

    Um. I didn't declare it "free and open." I simply said that it was a different scenario than the one that caused the Carterfone decision to be put in place (1968 AT&T). And then I noted that because of competition in the market the *TREND* is towards more openness.

    So, I never said that the market was free and open, because it's not. But it's moving in that direction, which was NOT the case in 1968. Hence the criteria that required Carterfone isn't necessarily present for a wireless Carterfone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    MaxB312, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 2:24pm

    I wonder if Martin knows that we know that he has a jones for the bells. I mean it really is outrageous the two different reactions. Nailing Comcast for their deal with BitTorrent but making sure that Verizon sees no competition from Skype. The over favoritism is pretty brazen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Originalamazed, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 4:12pm

    Re; Skype Petition

    Michael,

    With regard to competition in the world of handsets, please give that tired "Industry Shill" argument a rest.

    Handsets are the "golden key" to the handcuffs that hold so many subscribers hostage. As long as they keep dolling out features a little bit at a time and don't *quite* hit the "sweet spot". They can continue to sell a new handset every 18 to 24 months and continue to keep customers for another 24 months with the threat of early termination fees.

    The real deal is that if competition in handsets were open, the incumbent carriers might actually have to be competitive on price once again.

    And we both know that after all the PAC money they've sprinkled on both parties, they wouldn't want that to happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Re; Skype Petition

    With regard to competition in the world of handsets, please give that tired "Industry Shill" argument a rest.

    Wow. Are you new here? Considering how often I slam the mobile operators, it's rather ridiculous to claim I'm an "industry shill."

    Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I'm a shill.

    The real deal is that if competition in handsets were open, the incumbent carriers might actually have to be competitive on price once again.

    Again, I absolutely agree (did you even read what I wrote?!?). All I'm saying is that the market is heading in that direction already. There's no reason to force the market there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 10:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So, I never said that the market was free and open,...

    If you want to be pedantic, I didn't say you did either.

    because it's not.

    No, it certainly isn't.

    But it's moving in that direction, which was NOT the case in 1968.

    Again, like democratic freedom in China, that movement though is too little and not guaranteed to even continue. It certainly isn't enough to convince me that no further pressure is needed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Apr 2nd, 2008 @ 10:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you want to be pedantic, I didn't say you did either.

    Um. You did. And I quote: "I greatly disagree with your assertion that there is "a lot more competition and openness in the mobile world"."

    To which I responded in pointing out that there clearly is a lot more competition and openness than there was. I don't think you can debate that point.

    To which you responded with the China comparison, which wasn't the point. I made a relative statement: that there is much more competition and openness. You are making an absolute statement.

    I'm not sure why this is even worth repeating.

    Again, like democratic freedom in China, that movement though is too little and not guaranteed to even continue. It certainly isn't enough to convince me that no further pressure is needed.

    You having trouble understanding the point here? The point I made was that the situation is quite different than 1968. You disagreed, but have yet to explain why. Instead, when I called you on it, you started discussing that things are still bad... which wasn't the point I was making at all.

    Besides, I would disagree that things are as bad as you say, and again, if you look at the trends, they're moving in a much more open direction.

    You have failed to explain why, given those trends, the FCC needs to step in. If history has shown us anything, when the FCC steps in, bad stuff happens.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 3rd, 2008 @ 8:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Um. You did. And I quote: "I greatly disagree with your assertion that there is "a lot more competition and openness in the mobile world"."

    No, you seem to be confused. Check which message you were replying to. You do know how to used threaded mode in your own forum, don't you? Mitchell made that comment, no me. And I used the China analogy, not Mitchell.

    You having trouble understanding the point here?

    The confusion seems to be yours.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This