|by verizon voyager on May 9th, 2009|
Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile – these are the wireless carriers that matter in the United States. There are smaller guys like Cellular South that dot rural areas not covered by the Big 4, but these 4 clearly dominate the United States. And with that domination comes leverage, often in the form of exclusive deals on handsets for an extended period of time. These exclusivity clauses are exactly why the smaller carriers seem like they’re in the Stone Ages in terms of hardware offerings.
Verizon Wireless has agreed to help change that… but the recipient of their offer has said, “Not good enough.”
Verizon put a deal on the table that would allow LG and Samsung to work closer with a rural group called Associated Carrier Group that is composed of 25 carriers with 2.6 million subscribers across the nation. Loosening the reins, LG and Samsung could begin working with the carrier 6 months after the phone launched on VZW.
But 6 months marks the START meaning those rural carriers still need to modify the technology to work on their own network. I’m not sure if 6 months sounds like a long time to you, but that essentially puts these rural carriers perpetually 1 year behind. And if you take a look at exclusivity deals like that of the iPhone and AT&T… it could be much, much longer:
On Thursday, the chief executive of Cellular South, Victor Meena, told a U.S. House subcommittee hearing on wireless competition that “the situation with exclusivity agreements is bad and is only getting worse.”
I’m not sure this is something the FCC can regulate but I also agree that being 6 months behind in these terms puts them 1 year behind in shelf life and then what is the point in having the agreement in the first place? Do you think there is any happy medium that can be reached?