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Regional carriers oppose open access spectrum

Normally, we show support for regional cell providers because they’re competing with the large companies, which we seem to loathe more and more every day. So when they voice opposition to the open access provision of the 700 MHz spectrum auction, we listen. Problem is, we’re not exactly agreeing with them. It’s not that we don’t want them to expand their business and provide an attractive alternative to the Big Four. It’s that we think they’re being just as selfish as the big telecoms.

The complaint from the regional carriers — including Prepaid Reviews favorite MetroPCS — is that an open access requirement on 60 megahertz of the spectrum would force all companies to start bidding on licenses in the lower 700 MHz band. That would push the smaller companies out, since the Verizon and AT&T will likely seek that band.

“The proposed open-access requirements trade the benefits of rural deployment by small and regional licensees, and their proven track record of providing service to their customers, for—at best—speculative gains of an open-access network,” stated cellular industry association CTIA on behalf of 139 small and regional carriers and organizations.

We abhor that kind of logic. So because the gains of open access are speculative, we shouldn’t try them? Give us a freakin’ break. That’s almost as bad as “we’ve always done it this way, so why change?” It necessarily impedes progress.

Yes, we feel that small and regional providers should have some access to the spectrum to further their businesses. However, to write off open access as speculative is just foolish. They don’t want it open access, because they have on interest in becoming open access companies. They want your phone locked into their service, just like the big companies.

This is seriously getting ridiculous. These companies have bigger voices than individual consumers, and they’re using those voices to screw us. In our humble opinion, the whole spectrum — across the whole damned country — should be open access. That would even out the competition, and force companies to provide consumers with good products and services, lest they turn to another company.

Is that too much to ask?