This week the Rural Cellular Association declined to accept an offer from Verizon that would have allowed any carrier with fewer than 500,000 subscribers to offer their subscribers Verizon-exclusive handsets after a six-month exclusivity window. The RCA basically argued that the problem is that this would only be for future handsets, and thus wouldn’t include current exclusive devices, such as the BlackBerry Storm.
Of course Verizon likely wants to settle things, and as I’ve reported it has the Department of Justice snooping to see if those exclusive deals are really in violation of Federal anti-trust laws.
I should also add that The New York Times has posted an editorial on this very subject, arguing that it is about time that the Feds look into this matter, going so far as to state:
“It is gratifying to see that the leviathans of mobile telecommunications in the United States are finally drawing the attention of regulators and Congress.”
It also compels me to write a rebuttal. The main argument that the Times makes is that consumers would benefit from more choice, and that those in areas where cellular service is limited would level the playing field. But as a staunch opponent of government interference in this matter, this reporter finds it ironic that this comes just as there are more handset options that every before and (as I discussed earlier this week) a plethora of mobile operating systems.
Yes, there are fewer mobile networks than before, but what many – including the Times – fails to see is that for consumers this isn’t such a bad thing. In-network calling is a way that many users can lower their mobile phone bill, and for small- and medium-sized businesses, fewer mobile carriers makes it easier for the company to try to get on the same carrier and save on those minutes!
This isn’t to say that the telecos are totally innocent. It is about time that someone look into why mobile texting plans cost so much, while text messages take up far less bandwidth than typical calls. But instead of worrying about what really matters, exclusive deals are under fire.
Samsung Mondi to Arrive August 1st
The world may soon be at your fingertips thanks to Samsung. Come August 1st the Mondi (which is the Latin word for “world”) will arrive. This is being touted as one of the most advanced mobile WiMax-enabled handsets yet released in the United States.
And while it isn’t exactly a mobile phone, it has the makings of a great all around communications and convergence device. It is a touchscreen device that has been designed for use with the Clear mobile WiMax service. It offers a compact slider form factor, and features GPS navigation, full QWERTY keyboard and optical mouse to make sending of e-mail and messages a snap.
It further features the Opera 9.5 Web browser, which comes in handy with the devices 4.3-inch touchscreen, and offers Wi-Fi connectivity for smooth connections in the office for using Outlook e-mail, and Microsoft Office.