Thursday, September 17, 2009

Exclusivity - Not Wireless Providers Agree

Sprint's head honcho, Dan Hesse, is fine with the government looking into exclusive phone deals.  ATT doesn't.  Now that you know this, suppose you had lived in a cave for the last three years and someone were to present you with an iPhone, and they ask you which of the two networks has an exclusive deal with Apple to carry the iPhone on their network, you probably would go with ATT.

Personally, I don't have a position on this.  It's about money and who's willing to take the risk and if the risk pans out, earn gobs of money.  ATT did.  Verizon and Sprint didn't.  Obviously, not having to pay $600 or more upfront for the Bold, G1, or iPhone 3GS is great.  But someone's paying for it.  It's that mobile providers.  And as mad as I am with them at times (a lot of times), they risk such deals and hope that they can attract subscribers to sign up for lucrative multi-year deals.

However, there is something I don't like.  Even if you were willing to pay for the whole cost of the iPhone yourself, you can't take it and use it with T-Mobile.  I think that's going too far.  

In Electronista's post about this matter, Sprint has its deals.  So what's the problem?  Well, they've got a shorter term agreement with the phone makers.  However, I'm sure had Sprint offered more money, the phone makers like Palm or HTC might oblige.  

And if Sprint were in a stronger financial and market position today, I wonder if Hesse would be singing a different tune about this.  

Perhaps having the FCC look into this matter will help.  I honestly do believe there is a better way to reform the wireless market so that consumers benefit.  But I don't know if the heavy hands of the government is the way to go.    I guess I'm just the middle of the road kind of mobile warrior.  

Here's a solution.  Still have exclusive deals, no limits, but the phone makers has to sell unlocked versions of their phones and sell to those willing to pay for it to use other competing networks.  I'll go even one step further.  The phone makers cannot sell these unlocked devices for the first two or three months of the deal.  

What do you think?

More at Electronista.

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