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We just filed this under the “what took you so long?” category. Actually, it has been going on for quite some time, but we suppose the coming spectrum auction is bringing more of this news to the forefront. Anyway, tech companies are fed up with the major carriers being picky and choosy with which devices and services can be used on their networks. Because of this selectiveness, many companies are barred from offering their products or service on particular carriers. In fact, some are blocked from all carriers. Call us old fashioned, but we call that an oligopoly — or at least the beginnings thereof.
It’s the age old story: tech companies want more access because they feel that it will open up a necessary level of competition. The phone companies want control over what devices and services can be used on their network because they own it. Of course, they don’t explicitly say that; the company line is that there is plenty of competition out there already. But what they’re really saying is that they own it, and they can bar your product or service if they damn well please.
Tech companies now see the spectrum auction as a way to break into the wireless market. And, if rumors are to be believed, they may have won a preliminary battle. That decision will be challenged mightily by the major carriers, though, leaving tech companies still with an uphill battle.
We’re going to share the most disgusting quote from the story we just read. Emphasis is ours.
Steven Zipperstein, vice president and general counsel of Verizon Wireless – a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group Plc. – argued that open access is unwarranted because no one has identified that the current system is failing consumers.
Excuse us? Isn’t that exactly what the tech companies are arguing? Yes, the current system is failing consumers. The phone that they purchase and own cannot be used with another carrier. They are not being offered the latest in cell phone advances, because many of them are either barred from being used or are behind held back for competitive reasons (though that’s speculation on our part).
Look, tech companies don’t exist for the sake of it. They exist to pump out products that are supposed to make people’s lives easier. That’s obviously what they do 100 percent of the time, but it’s the intention. Why not let them do their job? Let them pump out phone after phone and offer them all to the public. Eventually, feedback will circulate and they’ll be able to build a better devices. Are we naive to think that this is the way things should work?
So, to summarize: big carriers want control, tech companies want access. Problem: big carriers have what they want, tech companies do not. This will be very useful information as you read more of these stories in the near future. There are sure to be plenty.