Small cellphone operators want Congress or the Federal Communications Commission to prohibit larger carriers from becoming exclusive providers of popular handsets, like the Apple iPhone (AT&T), Blackberry Storm (Verizon Wireless), Palm Pre (Sprint) and Samsung Behold (T-Mobile).
John E. Rooney, President and CEO of United States Cellular Corp., testified at a recent Senate Commerce Committee hearing:
These arrangements harm consumers in rural areas and decrease competition nationwide and do not enhance innovation.
Let’s examine these arguments.
Rooney bemoans the fact that
many rural residents of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming are not served by AT&T network facilities
while Victor H. “Hu” Meena, President and CEO if Cellular South, Inc., claims that
Vast portions of America – including all or part of Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin – are not served by any of the largest carriers, so Americans in these areas are prohibited from acquiring the newest and most innovative devices.
There are advantages and disadvantages no matter where one chooses to live. The fact that someplace is without a particular amenity traditionally hasn’t justified limiting the ability of private entities to exercise their own judgment as to parties with whom they will deal. While I am fortunate to have the opportunity to own an iPhone, I don’t get to live in a pristine rural setting with a wide open outdoors, low housing costs, etc.
Continue reading →