The Ups And Downs Of A Competitive Market
In the competitive US wireless market, carriers offer (confusing, but) ever better deals to try to win customers. Techdirt readers may be aware that you can negotiate with wireless carrier for even better terms. For example, you can ask for a new handset for free – even when the offer isn’t published. Based on your proven or potential value as a customer, the carrier might comply – in fact, you could push harder and request an upgraded handset, or a lower calling rate. You can do this because in a competitive market, the carriers are desperate to keep you as a customer. The downside is a lack of transparency: your neighbor may be getting a better deal than you. That lack of equity has recently irked a Cleveland woman, who has sued Verizon wireless claiming that a “common carrier” is obliged to offer the same deal to all customers. Verizon seems to be winning with the defense that in a competitive market, customers can and should get different rates depending on their value to the carrier. The “special deals” only end up benefiting consumers – albeit unevenly.