The Big Four Wireless Carriers Have Too Much Control Over Handset Choice

from the sue!-sue!-sue! dept

Back in January we had an article about a lawsuit against the major wireless carriers that wasn’t particularly clear about what the lawsuit actually was about. I’m assuming that this new article is about that same lawsuit – but with much more in the way of details. Basically, people are suing because they say the four major wireless carriers (AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Sprint PCS and Verizon) have way too much power over consumers’ choices when it comes to mobile phones. The various carriers force you to buy a mobile phone from them or their partners – and set up the phones so that they can’t be used on any other carrier’s network. It is something of a pain that certain phones can’t be used with certain carriers – but part of that is a technological issue (and I’m sure the carriers will claim they need to “approve” the various phones first for the sake of quality).

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Comments on “The Big Four Wireless Carriers Have Too Much Control Over Handset Choice”

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Mike (profile) says:

Re: The bigger issue to me...

I agree. Though, the law now says that the carriers are supposed to allow number portability – and I keep hoping it comes through so I can finally switch carriers. Of course, Verizon is trying to get them to amend the law so that it no longer includes them. This seems stupid, because if anything, I’d switch from Sprint PCS to Verizon right now.

prashant says:

Re: No Subject Given

Exactly. This complaint by the Wireless Consumers Alliance seems poorly informed. For example, VoiceStream is pretty lax about using unlocked phones and providing configuration information for their data services. Locking phones to carriers is a completely seperate issue from number portability. You can call most carriers and ask them to unlock your phone, just be prepared to pay a fee which covers the cost of the phone’s subsidy. Phone choices are limited and totally in the carriers’ hands, but only so that carriers can provide the best user experience possible.

If this complaint gets any traction, which I doubt, it could lead to more, not less, expensive phone costs for everyone.

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