The Federal Government Has Had Enough With Cell Phone Exclusivity

Annoyed by cell phone exclusivity deals? The federal government may agree with you. The FCC and Department of Justice are both looking into the issue, concerned about limitations on consumer choice and good old-fashioned competition.

Consumer Reports has the story:

The FCC has already announced they’ll open a proceeding to investigate handset exclusivity-another recent development-with the exact question they’ll be investigating expected to be announced within the next few weeks, after which comment will likely be received from interested parties representing consumers, carriers, and manufacturers, among others.

Today’s Wall Street Journal report indicates a parallel, broader investigation at the Department of Justice into whether cell phone carriers are abusing their market power to the detriment of consumers and competitors. Areas of investigation, according to the report, could include exclusivity deals and limitations on the types of competing services that can be offered on carriers’ networks-such as curbs on voice-over-internet calling from smart phones using third-party applications.

Consumers Union (owner of Consumerist) supports the feds in looking into this. Who, other than cell phone companies, wouldn’t support some change in the market?

Concern grows in Washington over exclusive cell-phone deals [Consumer Reports Electronics]
Telecoms Face Antitrust Threat [Wall Street Journal]

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