April 13, 2007

Change Is In The Air

In today's LA times there is an editorial about possible changes to the cell phone industry. If we are lucky, prices will drop.

What's the deal with cell phones? Well you see, right now there is nothing you can really do if your cell phone sucks. All the problems with your cell phone which should be fixed by competition, such as
dropped calls, high hidden charges, bad phones, poor and costly wireless Internet and roaming costs, aren't being taken care of due to the current system.

Verizon and AT&T run a digital plantation where they don't let phones and features they can't control onto their network. It's an exclusive system; if you want to use your phone on a Verizon network, you have to get permission, so you couldn't get an iPhone even if you wanted to. In Europe and Japan you can pay for sodas with your phone but you can't do that here. This permission system is also why roaming charges are so high.

It's possible that if the FCC policy on selling or renting the new broadband spectrum is fair, we could get a wireless broadband wholesaler, which would simply rent their network to whomever wants it for whatever purpose they want it. You'd be able to plug your phone into your computer and get broadband. Cell phone and broadband service would be instantly cheap and universal, getting around redlining that denies broadband to poor and rural areas. There would be fewer dropped calls. Roaming charges would drop dramatically. You could pay for things with your phone (or any mobile device you can invent). You could use any phone for any network, and download ringtones more easily. And the big national telecom companies would actually have to compete with all of this.

This would make life better for anyone.

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