If the FCC was really interested in empowering the consumer and promoting competition, then they should require:
1. Hardware (cell phones, etc. ) should be unlocked and freely allowed to be taken from one carrier to another. If the carriers know that their customers can leave them at any time, it would make them provide better services. This would also keep more perfectly good cell phones out of the landfills.
2. Change the contract model that the carriers are currently using to something that doesn't lock the customer in for several years. I'm not sure what would be a viable replacement but I know several people that would like iPhones and can't (won't) break their contracts because of the severe fees associated with it.
It will be interesting to see how this all pans out.
1. Except that effectively in any given place there are few companies providing service.
2. The change needed is to call that fee what it is, a loan. The company gives you a loan to buy the cell phone through them and you pay off the loan over the coarse of the contract. As such, when the balance is paid, the company should stop charging me for the phone. Of course, at the back end of this you will find manufacturers making a killing on new phone sales as a constant stream of revenue flows in off this policy. You can bet that they don't want the policy to change...because then people may stop upgrading...it would certainly slow the process.
The whole industry is a bit crooked.