FCC to investigate markets where iPhone is not available

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
While it surveys exclusive contracts like the relationship between AT&T and Apple, the Federal Communications Commission will also look into concerns that customers in rural areas can't access limited products like the iPhone.



The U.S. government regulatory agency will investigate smaller markets where major wireless carriers like AT&T and Sprint, which carry the iPhone and Palm Pre, respectively, do not provide service, according to Bloomberg.



"There are markets in the country where if you wanted an iPhone, if you wanted a Pre, you just couldn?t get it -- from anyone," said Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission."So one question is, is that consistent with broad consumer interests?"



The FCC was asked in June by four U.S. Senators to look into exclusive contracts like the one between AT&T and Apple, or the agreement between Sprint and Palm for the Pre. Genachoswki said his main focus as the head of the FCC is to promote competition in the best interest of consumers. The request came from a petition filed by the Rural Cellular Association, a group of smaller tier II and tier III wireless carriers that provide service to parts of the U.S. where tier I brands like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile do not.



In response to government interest, Verizon recently agreed to unlock some exclusive phones for use on smaller wireless carriers in rural areas.



The Rural Cellular Association has argued that their inability to provide their customers with some of the most popular mobile handsets and smartphones makes it difficult for them to compete, especially in markets where their coverage does overlap with some of the big tier I operators.



In their letter to the FCC, the senators asked the commission to examine five specific issues carefully and act expeditiously should they find that exclusivity agreements unfairly restrict consumer choice or adversely impact competition in the commercial wireless marketplace. It was signed by senators John Kerry (D, Mass.), Roger Wicker (R, Miss.), Amy Klobuchar (D, Minn.) and Byron Dorgan (D, N.D.)



They requested a determination on whether exclusivity agreements are becoming increasingly prevalent between dominant wireless carriers and handset manufacturers, and whether these agreements are restricting consumer choice, particularly for those living in rural America.



The senators also asked the commission to decide whether the agreements place limitations on a consumer?s ability to take full advantage of handset technologies, such as the ability to send multimedia messages (MMS) or the ability to "tether" a device to a computer for internet use.
«1345

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 87
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,942member
    oh come on, they do not get it since it does not make sense to wire the entire country with data services, why not go after every business that only has outlets in large city if you want be fair to consumers. hell why no go after getting high speed internet to every home in the country via fiber optics.



    Where does it say that ever person in the country has to have equal access to everything even if the choose to live in the middle of no where. they can move it call choice and trade offs
  • Reply 2 of 87
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Sounds like rural profiling to me. Can't they all just meet at the White house and settle their differences over some beers?
  • Reply 3 of 87
    Or moonshine.
  • Reply 4 of 87
    jimerljimerl Posts: 53member
    i get why nd, miss and minn would be interested in these rural access issues, but why is my putz of sen kerry from mass in on this? ... oh wait, home of verizon, ooooOOOOOoooohhhhh.



    i agree w the maestro there are lots of business practices that aren't in the best interest of the consumer ... in fact, ALL of them are, by design, in the best interest of the business!
  • Reply 5 of 87
    virgil-tb2virgil-tb2 Posts: 1,416member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post


    oh come on, they do not get it since it does not make sense to wire the entire country with data services, why not go after every business that only has outlets in large city if you want be fair to consumers. hell why no go after getting high speed internet to every home in the country via fiber optics. ...



    This is not the same thing. If there are products in a large outlet store and that store has no presence in some ten person town in rural Louisiana, the local Ma and Pop store still has the *ability* to order it if a customer wants said product, generally speaking. That's the point of the complaint. That if AT&T doesn't want to cover some place and the other company does, that he second company should have the right to offer the handset outside of the exclusivity agreement.



    Besides exclusivity agreements are always bad for the consumer, and it's not likely that the FCC will change anything anyway. Why make a big deal over something that isn't likely to change and that if it does, it would only be a good thing for consumers anyway?
  • Reply 6 of 87
    galleygalley Posts: 971member
    I visited relatives in rural North Dakota last year. The iPhone is not sold in Fargo, and for good reason. Coverage (including EDGE) was spotty at best.
  • Reply 7 of 87
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jimerl View Post


    i get why nd, miss and minn would be interested in these rural access issues, but why is my putz of sen kerry from mass in on this? ... oh wait, home of verizon, ooooOOOOOoooohhhhh.



    i agree w the maestro there are lots of business practices that aren't in the best interest of the consumer ... in fact, ALL of them are, by design, in the best interest of the business!



    As much as I do not care for Kerrys politics, I must commend him on this, he is the only one who talks about T-Comm issues, like the NFLs DTV deal that shuts out all of us who cant get DTV dishes because our apartments face the wrong direction, as a direct result of Kerry's concern, I will be able to get Sunday ticket as an HD Streaming webcast service like MLB.TV starting next season.



    Kerry may not take action, but at least he has the balls to ask the questions as opposed th the last white house that beleived in government of by and for corporate executives.
  • Reply 8 of 87
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,631member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post


    oh come on, they do not get it since it does not make sense to wire the entire country with data services, why not go after every business that only has outlets in large city if you want be fair to consumers. hell why no go after getting high speed internet to every home in the country via fiber optics.



    They aren't talking about forcing AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, et al. to provide service in rural areas. This is about customers in rural areas not having the choice to get iPhones, Pres, etc. even though there are wireless companies in their areas willing to provide them service, simply because one of the large companies has them locked out. Clearly this is not in best interest of consumers, and the idea that there is a "second class" of citizens in this country who ought not be able to enjoy the benefits of living in this country simply because of the accident of their place of residence is entirely elitist and undemocratic.



    And, yes, every home in this country ought to have broadband access, although, not necessarily via fiber optics. Lack of access to communications technology, just like lack of access to education, undermines our democracy and when the business practices of large companies go against the public interest, it is the obligation of our government to intervene.
  • Reply 9 of 87
    bigmc6000bigmc6000 Posts: 767member
    Ok, seriously, wtf? You CHOSE to live where you live. If you chose to live in a place that's remote you give up some of the luxuries of living urban. Is the senate going to get together to figure out why BFE Montana doesn't have a 12 screen, DLP, stadium seating, 7.1 surround cineplex as well? Personally I could live without the iPhone more than I could a decent movie theatre...



    Honestly, this sense of entitlement that so many people seem to have needs to stop. 99% of what people think are 'rights' anymore are actually privileges (like driving).
  • Reply 10 of 87
    bigmc6000bigmc6000 Posts: 767member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    ...the idea that there is a "second class" of citizens in this country who ought not be able to enjoy the benefits of living in this country simply because of the accident of their place of residence is entirely elitist and undemocratic.



    And, yes, every home in this country ought to have broadband access, although, not necessarily via fiber optics. Lack of access to communications technology, just like lack of access to education, undermines our democracy and when the business practices of large companies go against the public interest, it is the obligation of our government to intervene.



    WTF? Accident?? If you don't like where you live and it really bothers you that much - MOVE. Do you realize how many people living in BFE (where I'm from actually) think all the people living in urban areas are disadvantaged because they don't have wide open spaces and fresh air? It's a choice - just like with every other choice you make there are pro's and con's and, frankly, there is nothing more democratic than that...
  • Reply 11 of 87
    bigmc6000bigmc6000 Posts: 767member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by a_greer View Post


    As much as I do not care for Kerrys politics, I must commend him on this, he is the only one who talks about T-Comm issues, like the NFLs DTV deal that shuts out all of us who cant get DTV dishes because our apartments face the wrong direction, as a direct result of Kerry's concern, I will be able to get Sunday ticket as an HD Streaming webcast service like MLB.TV starting next season.



    Kerry may not take action, but at least he has the balls to ask the questions as opposed th the last white house that beleived in government of by and for corporate executives.



    Oh no, you can't watch NFL games - I'm SOOOOOO glad the Senate is taking the time to make sure that you can stay home and watch it. I mean, it's not like there might be a bar or a friends house or some other place to watch it. (Big Ten fan living in Texas - until I got a house I had to go to the bar to watch Big Ten Network games) Again, it's not as if you don't have another option - you just don't have the perfect option - that's called life. I'd like to have my house right next door to my work so I could walk to work and have everything I ever wanted within walking distance but I CHOSE to have a house a little further outside of town than live in an apartment. It's life, deal with it.
  • Reply 12 of 87
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,631member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post


    Ok, seriously, wtf? You CHOSE to live where you live. If you chose to live in a place that's remote you give up some of the luxuries of living urban. Is the senate going to get together to figure out why BFE Montana doesn't have a 12 screen, DLP, stadium seating, 7.1 surround cineplex as well? Personally I could live without the iPhone more than I could a decent movie theatre...



    Honestly, this sense of entitlement that so many people seem to have needs to stop. 99% of what people think are 'rights' anymore are actually privileges (like driving).



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post


    WTF? Accident?? If you don't like where you live and it really bothers you that much - MOVE. Do you realize how many people living in BFE (where I'm from actually) think all the people living in urban areas are disadvantaged because they don't have wide open spaces and fresh air? It's a choice - just like with every other choice you make there are pro's and con's and, frankly, there is nothing more democratic than that...



    Seriously. For large numbers of people in this country, their place of residence is to a large degree an accident of birth. And not only may they not be able, for whatever reason, to move so that they can have access to technology, or education, they should not have to. I'm sorry, but your attitude is elitist and in opposition to the best interests of this country's citizens.
  • Reply 13 of 87
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,942member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post


    This is not the same thing. If there are products in a large outlet store and that store has no presence in some ten person town in rural Louisiana, the local Ma and Pop store still has the *ability* to order it if a customer wants said product, generally speaking. That's the point of the complaint. That if AT&T doesn't want to cover some place and the other company does, that he second company should have the right to offer the handset outside of the exclusivity agreement.



    Besides exclusivity agreements are always bad for the consumer, and it's not likely that the FCC will change anything anyway. Why make a big deal over something that isn't likely to change and that if it does, it would only be a good thing for consumers anyway?



    I did not say "large outlet stores" i said Large City stores, there are stores which only exist in large cities they they do not have a web present so they only provide product and service to people near them, oh many time if they have counter part in the country, their pricing is better since they do more business than their country counter parts, some time it is the opposite.



    Again, no where does it say every one should have an iphone is right, it a choice, you can buy any number of products from other companies that does the exact same thing. Consumers have choice all over the place.
  • Reply 14 of 87
    lafelafe Posts: 252member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    They aren't talking about forcing AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, et al. to provide service in rural areas. This is about customers in rural areas not having the choice to get iPhones, Pres, etc. even though there are wireless companies in their areas willing to provide them service, simply because one of the large companies has them locked out. Clearly this is not in best interest of consumers, and the idea that there is a "second class" of citizens in this country who ought not be able to enjoy the benefits of living in this country simply because of the accident of their place of residence is entirely elitist and undemocratic.



    And, yes, every home in this country ought to have broadband access, although, not necessarily via fiber optics. Lack of access to communications technology, just like lack of access to education, undermines our democracy and when the business practices of large companies go against the public interest, it is the obligation of our government to intervene.



    I agree. I live in a rural area, and can't figure out why no senators are working to get me

    3G or DSL. We need connectivity. The posters who are slamming you and saying that

    those of us who choose to live in rural areas just have to suffer the inconvenience are not

    looking at the whole picture. Every area in the US should have these basic things, not just

    where the population density makes it super-profitable. I've been to rural areas in Europe

    where there is 3G. I've been to small villages in Bulgaria where ordinary people have

    affordable high-speed internet in their homes. Why is it there? Because the government

    and corporations care to provide service, knowing that it helps keep people connected,

    educated, buying things, etc. It's the right thing to do.



    If they can do it, why can't "the greatest, richest country in the world" do it?
  • Reply 15 of 87
    bigmc6000bigmc6000 Posts: 767member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Seriously. For large numbers of people in this country, their place of residence is to a large degree an accident of birth. And not only may they not be able, for whatever reason, to move so that they can have access to technology, or education, they should not have to. I'm sorry, but your attitude is elitist and in opposition to the best interests of this country's citizens.



    I'm from BFE, I didn't have broadband or any of those nice things. I'm really not sure how exactly that's elitist - it's called being realistic. Does life require high speed internet? Does life require NFL Sunday Ticket? Does life require an iPhone? You're a complete and total idiot if you think the answer to ANY of those questions is yes. I spent 20 years without high speed internet (as a matter of fact it is STILL not available at my parents house), Sunday ticket and I didn't get my first cell phone until I was in college. In fact, the idea that you think that being denied these things makes you a second rate citizen makes you exactly what you claim I am - an elitist. I don't think those people are second rate citizens at all, as I said, I'm one of them. You, however, seem to think they are - so, yeah...



    EDIT: So where exactly are you from? Did you grow up in a tiny @ss town like I did without any of those things or do you just feel bad for those poor rural people who don't realize how awesome it is to have an iPhone? (yes, that makes you an elitist...)
  • Reply 16 of 87
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,942member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    They aren't talking about forcing AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, et al. to provide service in rural areas. This is about customers in rural areas not having the choice to get iPhones, Pres, etc. even though there are wireless companies in their areas willing to provide them service, simply because one of the large companies has them locked out. Clearly this is not in best interest of consumers, and the idea that there is a "second class" of citizens in this country who ought not be able to enjoy the benefits of living in this country simply because of the accident of their place of residence is entirely elitist and undemocratic.



    And, yes, every home in this country ought to have broadband access, although, not necessarily via fiber optics. Lack of access to communications technology, just like lack of access to education, undermines our democracy and when the business practices of large companies go against the public interest, it is the obligation of our government to intervene.





    Come on I live in the country and I do not have FIOS, why not force Verison to string FIOS to everyone. Personally I have Directv which is better choice in quality, but this is no difference. If I really want FIOS i can move. since not rural carrier can afford to support fiber to the home to deliver FIOS quality or better yet put up the satellites like Directv. Oh wait, I have choice, get crappy cable to get Directv.



    So people can buy a blackberry or LG smart phone form their local guys and they got an Iphone competitor.
  • Reply 17 of 87
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,631member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post


    I'm from BFE, I didn't have broadband or any of those nice things. I'm really not sure how exactly that's elitist - it's called being realistic. Does life require high speed internet? Does life require NFL Sunday Ticket? Does life require an iPhone? You're a complete and total idiot if you think the answer to ANY of those questions is yes. I spent 20 years without high speed internet (as a matter of fact it is STILL not available at my parents house), Sunday ticket and I didn't get my first cell phone until I was in college. In fact, the idea that you think that being denied these things makes you a second rate citizen makes you exactly what you claim I am - an elitist. I don't think those people are second rate citizens at all, as I said, I'm one of them. You, however, seem to think they are - so, yeah...



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post


    Come on I live in the country and I do not have FIOS, why not force Verison to string FIOS to everyone. Personally I have Directv which is better choice in quality, but this is no difference. If I really want FIOS i can move. since not rural carrier can afford to support fiber to the home to deliver FIOS quality or better yet put up the satellites like Directv. Oh wait, I have choice, get crappy cable to get Directv.



    So people can buy a blackberry or LG smart phone form their local guys and they got an Iphone competitor.



    Yes, it's one of the strange paradoxes of America that often those who would most benefit from reform are most opposed to it.
  • Reply 18 of 87
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bigmc6000 View Post


    Honestly, this sense of entitlement that so many people seem to have needs to stop. 99% of what people think are 'rights' anymore are actually privileges (like driving).



    There are essentially two models for rights.



    1) You have the right to do anything you want unless prohibited.



    2) You have the right to do nothing other than that which is expressly permitted.



    Which system would you prefer?





    .
  • Reply 19 of 87
    bigmc6000bigmc6000 Posts: 767member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lafe View Post


    I agree. I live in a rural area, and can't figure out why no senators are working to get me

    3G or DSL. We need connectivity. The posters who are slamming you and saying that

    those of us who choose to live in rural areas just have to suffer the inconvenience are not

    looking at the whole picture. Every area in the US should have these basic things, not just

    where the population density makes it super-profitable. I've been to rural areas in Europe

    where there is 3G. I've been to small villages in Bulgaria where ordinary people have

    affordable high-speed internet in their homes. Why is it there? Because the government

    and corporations care to provide service, knowing that it helps keep people connected,

    educated, buying things, etc. It's the right thing to do.



    If they can do it, why can't "the greatest, richest country in the world" do it?



    Geography is a b!tch. I feel your pain, it sucks to not have it my entire childhood (graduated HS in 2000) and most all of my friends were talking about surfing cable internet at 3Mbps and we didn't even get dial up until AFTER I graduated. Yes, that's right, I had NO internet at my house until 2001 (maybe 2002, I'd have to call my parents and ask). Does that mean I'm a second rate citizen? Umm, no. Frankly, if someone thought I was a second rate citizen because I didn't have high speed internet I'd think they are completely out of touch with reality and are snobby pricks...
  • Reply 20 of 87
    bigmc6000bigmc6000 Posts: 767member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Beauty of Bath View Post


    There are essentially two models for rights.



    1) You have the right to do anything you want unless prohibited.



    2) You have the right to do nothing other than that which is expressly permitted.



    Which system would you prefer?





    .



    All of the things listed are luxuries - the problem I have is with people thinking those luxuries are rights - it completely undermines what right means.
Sign In or Register to comment.