As a former employee of two wireless carriers and a wireless handset supplier/chip maker who help usher in digital voice & data to the industry - I have firsthand knowledge of what cell phones and data devices can and can't do.
Land line termination fees were historically the largest cost to carriers. As more and more data-centric plans evolve- one would assume that consumer cost would come down. In contrast - consumers are paying more for service, handsets, termination fees and are now being required to purchase specific plans to utilize specific phones.
As handheld data devices such as the I-PAD are introduced - the carriers quietly roll out increased costs tethered to long term contracts. The result is a reduction in choice for handsets & data devices and an engineered reliance on carrier plans as a threshold to utilizing portable data devices that double as phones.
Verizon quietly rolled out their new requirements for a $9.99 additional data/email plan in January - for many phones. It’s their right to charge what they will for service. But- combined with FCC granted license to public airways - requirements for long term contracts with huge termination fees effectively restrict competition in wireless and handset markets. Oligopolies should not be allowed to do this. Oligopolies who have FCC granted license to PUBLIC airways - need to be structured and regulated.
As land lines and cable/modem lines disappear. Carriers like Verizon have license to a customer base that is effectively the entire US population. To further allow them to restrict plane, handsets, and demand contracts is to allow a monopoly that makes Microsoft look like amateurs. This one not only controls the market, hardware and software but also the airwaves.
It’s time to plan and regulate.
LESS FCC control is what is required to achieve a higher level of service. http://mpddigital.us
the wireless data arena needs competition. The difficulty here is that we're looking at the competition having to be a player like Google. Now I'm all for Google going there but we need ... dare I say it ... a public option.
But not a government option.
What is recommend is something along the lines of a rural electric cooperative. I think the public could be involved by the charter guaranteeing capital but only if the effort collected something like $20 from 10,000,000 residents.
And, like every member owned coop, the board would then be elected by its members.
Would it work?