During the past few weeks we have been captivated by the reception problems that Apple says all cell phones exhibit. Whether this is true or not is up for debate. But one fact about the cell phone industry no one can dispute is the way cell phones have been locked to a specific carrier. There is once again a movement that is trying to get the FCC to unlock all cell phones and let the consumer decide which carrier they wish to use. In a recent article it stated that:
For more than a year, the FCC has been examining exclusive contracts after members of the Senate Commerce Committee urged the commission to review the issue. Handset providers and carriers offer their phones on different levels of exclusivity with Apple’s iPhone offered only by AT&T in the U.S. and other carriers having different degrees of exclusivity for mobile phones from a variety of providers.
The RCA has hammered away on the issue for years, arguing that rural consumers in particular often can’t get the phones they want and have to pay high rates for what is available for them.
Long complaining about the “digital divide” that exists between rural and urban America, RCA has argued that the end result for consumers of exclusive handset provider-carrier deals has been that consumers must “pay a premium price for the handset because the market is void of any competition for the particular handset.”
If you live in a rural area of the U.S., where AT&T doesn’t provide service, you cannot use an Apple iPhone. While Apple is pleased that it has sold three million iPhones in three weeks, those sales could explode if the phone were unlocked. Having once lived in a rural area in which AT&T did not provide service, the availability of any type of a smart phone was non existent for many of us.
What do you think?