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MacRumors
Jul 11, 2007, 11:44 PM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

Several stories today came out about a hearing at the House Subcommittee on Telecomunications and the Internet.
During the hearing of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, representatives from both sides of the aisle called for a more open wireless system where new innovations aren't held hostage to the competition-killing carriers that control the network.
The iPhone was used as an example of a mobile phone tied to its carrier. AT&T has a (rumored) 5 year exclusive contract with the iPhone -- restricting use with other providers.

Marketwatch notes (http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/wireless-phone-industry-tactics-criticized/story.aspx?guid=%7B25DDFA68%2DCB6C%2D450F%2DAFA4%2D5B1037F26545%7D&dist=MostReadHome) that the U.S. is unique in this regard:
Several industry critics who testified at the hearing noted that Asia and Europe obligate carriers to ensure that any device will work with their networks. Wireless entrepreneur Jason Devitt, chief executive of SkyDeck, said 800 devices would work on Vodafone Group plc's wireless network in Europe, whereas only 30 devices work on Verizon's network in the U.S.


Neither Apple nor AT&T testified at the hearing, and no laws have yet been proposed (http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-9742441-7.html) to address this issue.



Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/07/12/u-s-mobile-phone-carrier-practices-questioned/)



milk242
Jul 11, 2007, 11:49 PM
Wow the iPhone is changing the way our telecommunication network will be setup in the future. Awesome!

aricher
Jul 11, 2007, 11:52 PM
interesting. It will be a long time until you see laws passed on this. It somehow reminds me of the original deregulation of the phone monopoly that was the Bell System (ma bell) back in the day.

theheadguy
Jul 11, 2007, 11:52 PM
^ Actually, the shady practices of cell phone carriers are causing this. The iPhone was one of many examples.

kymac
Jul 12, 2007, 12:00 AM
is this saying that all phones should be able to be used on whichever network one may choose? ..so like iPhone will be able to be used elsewhere from att?

retroneo
Jul 12, 2007, 12:04 AM
Verizon needs to do the CDMA EVDO to HSDPA upgrade. This kind of network changeover has successfully been done in South Korea and Australia.

HSDPA has a very large range of devices and has designed-in interoperability (SIM cards).

The Telstra changeover in Australia concurrently allows people to use HSDPA phones and CDMA phones until all customers have changed over - both standards concurrently sharing the same spectrum. It also uses the same frequency band as the US versions of these standards (850MHz)

The Australian example took 10 months to complete from concept to completion.

An unexpected side effect was greatly increased coverage footprint (98.6% Australian population) and higher than expected data rates.

ghall
Jul 12, 2007, 12:12 AM
People are finally starting to wake up! :rolleyes:

Digital Skunk
Jul 12, 2007, 12:13 AM
I hope this means that Stinkular can shove it very soon and Apple can put there phone on more worthy networks. The fact that they don't offer insurance for the their phones is keeping a lot of people on my side of town from getting on.

darwen
Jul 12, 2007, 12:13 AM
um. no. free enterprise allows carriers to sign exclusive contracts. maybe other countries will allow laws to pass that tell companies they need to open their products but here in the US, that isnt how things work.

Unless it is a monopoly (which this isnt), they cannot tell Apple the product needs to work on all networks. Apple for example could create their own wireless service and make it exclusive to that. They are selling a product, they can limit it as much as they like. People do not need to buy it, nor do they need to use AT&T. There are plunty of other phones and plunty of other carriers out there. No part of this is a monopoly. Except for the fact that AT&T has a monopoly on the iPhone (but no more than any football team has on a player... it is called a contract). If you don't like it than move on, nothing to see here.

zflauaus
Jul 12, 2007, 12:14 AM
Verizon needs to do the CDMA EVDO to HSDPA upgrade. This kind of network changeover has successfully been done in South Korea and Australia.

HSDPA has a very large range of devices and has designed-in interoperability (SIM cards).

The Telstra changeover in Australia concurrently allows people to use HSDPA phones and CDMA phones until all customers have changed over - both standards concurrently sharing the same spectrum. It also uses the same frequency band as the US versions of these standards (850MHz)

The Australian example took 10 months to complete from concept to completion.

An unexpected side effect was greatly increased coverage footprint (98.6% Australian population) and higher than expected data rates.
There is absolutely no way Verizon would change over from CDMA to GSM. It would require way too many resources as well as a very large chunk of change to covert all their towers to GSM. You have to take into fact that Verizon is a very greedy company and CDMA is working just fine.

I must admit, I like the CDMA networks very much because it handles traffic very well and voice quality is very good. I've never used GSM, but another thing would be building penetration. From reports I've seen, GSM has poor building penetration compared to CDMA.

CHROMEDOME
Jul 12, 2007, 12:14 AM
The U.S. telecommunication systems are totally messed up. CDMA sucks but they have a much larger EVDO network compared to AT&T's HSPDA network. There needs to be one network with super fast data network. Unfortunately that costs money and I don't think any of the huge corps are down for spending any of it.

BlackLilyNinja
Jul 12, 2007, 12:15 AM
Its all about supression of the customer's will. Keeping people from having the ability to switch services for any reason. Or making it damn difficult and damn expensive.

top shareholders decide how to keep customers. The more customers then the more stocks are sold. Control control control.

Digital Skunk
Jul 12, 2007, 12:17 AM
um. no. free enterprise allows carriers to sign exclusive contracts. maybe other countries will allow laws to pass that tell companies they need to open their products but here in the US, that isnt how things work.

Unless it is a monopoly (which this isnt), they cannot tell Apple the product needs to work on all networks. Apple for example could create their own wireless service and make it exclusive to that. They are selling a product, they can limit it as much as they like. People do not need to buy it, nor do they need to use AT&T. If you don't like it than move on, nothing to see here.

I agree, but the rest of the capitalist world is enjoying a very good and vibrant cell phone market with options galore, and here in the US we are about three years behind in cell phone tech and business practices. I like the iPhone, but don't believe the hype, Apple won't sell nearly as many as they would like if they don't open it up to the other carriers. Sprint is a better data service provider for businesses, they offer fast speeds and insurance for any smartphone at any price. Until Cingular can do that a lot of people won't buy the iPhone.

The iPod didn't take off until it was usable on a Windows machine.

Mr.Gadget
Jul 12, 2007, 12:23 AM
I think there won't be any "real" competition until the U.S. cell market opens up considerably. I agree with the Skunk...

I cannot believe Apple has such an expensive phone (that only works with one carrier) and does not offer insurance! :confused:

How can Apple feel that they can make more money with an exclusive carrier of the iPhone. I am sure there are thousands of people who would use it if it were available outside of AT&T... What a crazy decision to lock it for so long with one carrier. AT&T must have really sweetened the pot for Apple...

CJD2112
Jul 12, 2007, 12:28 AM
I cannot believe Apple has such an expensive phone (that only works with one carrier) and does not offer insurance! :confused:

Apple is going to offer Apple Care Protection Plans for the iPhone later this month. I asked the Apple Store on 5th Ave where I purchased my iPhone and was told any one who purchased the iPhone will be able to buy the extended warranty plan, which has been rumored to extend coverage to water damage, for $69. I find this to be a much better deal than spending the typical $4.99/month for phone insurance that is currently offered by most mobile phone providers - not including the standard $50 deductible (a one time fee of $69 for three year coverage is a much better deal than $59.88 a year + a $50 deductible for a normal phone).

EricNau
Jul 12, 2007, 12:29 AM
I'm still waiting for the U.S. to follow Belgium and ban the sale of locked phones.

pika2000
Jul 12, 2007, 12:42 AM
I'm still waiting for the U.S. to follow Belgium and ban the sale of locked phones.
I'm with you. I'm tired of locked cell phones in the US, and having to resort to ebay or questionable import stores to get a better selection of cell phones. Apple would've sold more iPhones if they sold it unlocked. Speaking of the iPhone, Apple said the iPhone is coming to Asia in 2008. Apple would be dumb not to sell unlocked iPhones in Asia. It would be even more ironic if we in the US have to import iPhone from Asia to get it unlocked.

Digital Skunk
Jul 12, 2007, 12:45 AM
Apple is going to offer Apple Care Protection Plans for the iPhone later this month. I asked the Apple Store on 5th Ave where I purchased my iPhone and was told any one who purchased the iPhone will be able to buy the extended warranty plan, which has been rumored to extend coverage to water damage, for $69. I find this to be a much better deal than spending the typical $4.99/month for phone insurance that is currently offered by most mobile phone providers - not including the standard $50 deductible (a one time fee of $69 for three year coverage is a much better deal than $59.88 a year + a $50 deductible for a normal phone).

No it isn't. If you loose your phone your screwed.. PERIOD. Apple won't give you a new phone if you just lost it and told them that you lost it or if it were stolen. If Apple did do that then they wouldn't do it a second time. The Apple Care does sound nicer than most other AppleCare plans Apple has but it isn't anywhere near what Sprint offers for insurance on the Treo or other smartphones.

Sorry man.

psendeavor
Jul 12, 2007, 12:47 AM
I'm still waiting for the U.S. to follow Belgium and ban the sale of locked phones.It's no so much locked phones that are outlawed here, but rather selling a plan coupled to a phone (or vice versa) that is strictly illegal here. And that's not explicitly in a mobile phone law, it's just a general consumer-friendly law that buying something shouldn't oblige you in buying anything else.

natejohnstone@g
Jul 12, 2007, 12:53 AM
I read this in USA Today a couple days ago, and it sounds like the FCC is really interested in new laws that make it less easy for carriers to lock phones, intentionally restrict the use of certain features, etc. They are using the iPhone as an example and have WAITED for the iPhone to come out intentionally so that they could do so. It's a great phone that people on other carriers wish they could use.
The bottom line: Europe and Asia are MUCH MUCH farther ahead of us in the cellular arena. Why? because their carrier companies don't hold all the cards like they do here.
On the one hand Apple's unusual approach and bartering with AT&T is a step forward (Veriozon tuned them down, unfortunately for everyone). One the other hand, I'm dissapointed that Apple with all of their high-and-mighty talk and ideals about changing the industry has chosen to shill for the powers just as much as anyone else. Exclusivity, locked products, intentionally NOT letting people use certain services like Skype or iChat...its's sad.
Prediction: Apple will jump on the FCCs bandwagon sooner rather than later, and claim to be "holier than thou" and want to change the industry for the better of the consumers, etc. In actuality, they just like press and want to make more money. The iPhone will be unlocked in 2 years.

Digital Skunk
Jul 12, 2007, 12:53 AM
It's no so much locked phones that are outlawed here, but rather selling a plan coupled to a phone (or vice versa) that is strictly illegal here. And that's not explicitly in a mobile phone law, it's just a general consumer-friendly law that buying something shouldn't oblige you in buying anything else.

So what you are saying is that Apple is turning into a PC company? Forcing buyers of the iPhone into AT&T contracts just like HP, Sony, Compaq, and Alienware forces you to buy Windows on their machines.

miketcool
Jul 12, 2007, 01:16 AM
This is called reality. Apple only allows Mac OS X to work on Apple's hardware. It is called reality. In reality people sign contracts, or legally binding agreements that allows this so called evil behavior. Look at the laws and read a book on capitalism or the free market. If you do not like it, leave reality.

JesterJJZ
Jul 12, 2007, 01:20 AM
Well, whatever. Just pass a law that get's iPhone on Verizon and I'll be happy.

greenwrangler
Jul 12, 2007, 01:42 AM
um. no. free enterprise allows carriers to sign exclusive contracts. maybe other countries will allow laws to pass that tell companies they need to open their products but here in the US, that isnt how things work.

Unless it is a monopoly (which this isnt), they cannot tell Apple the product needs to work on all networks. Apple for example could create their own wireless service and make it exclusive to that. They are selling a product, they can limit it as much as they like. People do not need to buy it, nor do they need to use AT&T. There are plunty of other phones and plunty of other carriers out there. No part of this is a monopoly. Except for the fact that AT&T has a monopoly on the iPhone (but no more than any football team has on a player... it is called a contract). If you don't like it than move on, nothing to see here.

This kind of thinking is exactly what is wrong with the die-hard free wheeling dealing capitalists. Yes, Capitalism is a good thing. But didn't your mother teach you that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing? In other words, a little regulation can only be good for the health of the overall capitalist system. In a nutshell, a real free market would allow the consumer to buy his phone anywhere he wants and use it on any network that he wants and pay the operator for that usage. Thats what will foster true competition and real innovation. Thats why US lags so much behind the rest of the world in this arena.

What I dont get is how can an oligopoly, that colludes every second to limit consumer's choices be defended? Its the same type of argument people made during the MS antitrust trial.

voodoofish
Jul 12, 2007, 01:45 AM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (Danger hiptop 3.1; U; AvantGo 3.2))

Even though they're using the iphone as an example, the example about vodafone being able to use 800 phones on its networks in europe sounds more like they're talking about the way all operators in europe where told they had to use gsm/3gsm at the same frequencies, which means once sim unlocked and phone that meets the gsm standard on the two frequency bands used here in europe can be used on any network.

SeaFox
Jul 12, 2007, 02:06 AM
If this were on Slashdot I would be tagging it "finally".

I can't decide if this is the same thing this story (http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20070710/tc_usatoday/newrulescouldrockwirelessworld;_ylt=An5cgjylvXnoY0k6HpGF7dLMWM0F) was talking about a couple days ago.

The FCC head wants new wireless internet connectivity devices unlocked. The important note is that he's talking about devices to be used on a yet-to-be-auctioned 700mhz wireless spectrum space, so it has nothing to do with the iPhone or cellphone carriers. Everyone on Slashdot immediately said "it should be the cellphone industry that gets changed" and what ho! So maybe the iPhone was only being used as an example for this. Both these articles are ambiguous enough (and I fear plagued by authors who don't quite know what they're writing about) to tell.

blueflame
Jul 12, 2007, 02:21 AM
Apple did not get popular until after it was available to PC users. The iPhone in a way is the equivilent to the original ipod. Locked tightly to a network, IE: a ipod was tied to the mac.

Was this done on purpose. I bet apple is very much playing the same game, and possibly intentionally making it so not everyone can get one? part of a much grander scheme?

My quesiton is, what is apple getting from this deal? why couldnt they sell phones like nokia? they are certianly getting something worthwhile, and somehow, I do not completely belive this profit sharing stuff, it doesnt sit right. on the other hand, I belive something bigger that we do not yet know, some sort of trial market, or eventually free data for all iphone sold or somehting. i dont know

What is for sure is: the iphone is/was a big deal, they are getting something very nice out of it. are they copying in purpose the same method used to make the ipod a sucsess, start off slow and build?
A

irun5k
Jul 12, 2007, 02:37 AM
Yes, Capitalism is a good thing. But didn't your mother teach you that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing? In other words, a little regulation can only be good for the health of the overall capitalist system.

This type of non-absolute thinking is completely irrational. By your logic, free speech (a good thing) is dangerous if not regulated, therefore, the government should start regulating speech occasionally.

Property rights are good- so a concept like eminent domain is even better because it allows government to step on property rights by seizing private property.

Freedom of religion- good, but for good measure, we should restrict the concept to include everything except Buddhism and certain flavors of Christianity.

Protection from false imprisonment- seems like a good idea, but lets throw a few people in jail every day just because we don't like the way they look, talk, etc.

Equal rights? Good concept, but on occasion we should favor certain races when giving people jobs, an education, or other benefits.

Police protection from other citizens? Nice concept, but it would be better for everyone if on occasion we let people murder one another and turn a blind eye.

Capitalism and a free market? Let us not get carried away. Sure, it is a great concept, but wouldn't we be better off carving part of it out and replacing it with restrictions and regulations?

A non-absolute philosophy is very convenient, because it allows you to fulfill your own self interest at the expense of another. You can demand someone else's property, silence their speech when they say things you don't like, or take their job because you're the "right color." Heck, you can even pass a law saying a cell phone made by a private company has to be compatible with every cell network out there. Hell, lets do it. It benefits YOU, right? It might screw Apple. It might screw AT&T. But hey, it is OKAY to screw big companies, right? As long as we don't screw the "little guys."

Instead of complaining about this and passing new laws so that everything in the world works to your benefit, why don't you just go out and buy this phone: http://www.openmoko.com ? That's right- vote with your dollars!

zflauaus
Jul 12, 2007, 02:45 AM
The U.S. telecommunication systems are totally messed up. CDMA sucks but they have a much larger EVDO network compared to AT&T's HSPDA network. There needs to be one network with super fast data network. Unfortunately that costs money and I don't think any of the huge corps are down for spending any of it.
CDMA alone does not suck. CDMA is a great technology. It's the carriers that impose their ideas on you that make their service, not the technology, suck. And we do not need one network. We do not want a monopoly ala Ma Bell. Because then we would just be stuck where we are now, even if it did get that far, which it never would.

I'm still waiting for the U.S. to follow Belgium and ban the sale of locked phones.
This would be absolutely great. Although in today's society, the carriers would fight to the death to have all their phones unlocked and let you take the phone elsewhere within a matter of minutes of signing up.

Just a note, the biggest thing I think we should be focused on is convincing Qualcomm to settle with Broadcom on this whole patent debate. The whole, every new, untested phone is banned from the U.S. until an agreement is reached, is kind of disturbing to me. This means that we will be stuck in this time period of no innovation for some time unless phone manufacturers switch to a different, non-Qualcomm chipsets or Qualcomm settles.

Ugh... What a great time for cell phone users in America! :rolleyes:

coday182
Jul 12, 2007, 02:48 AM
Wow the iPhone is so amazing that the government had to get involved.


... oh yeah and for you people getting your hopes up that you will be able to use an iphone with verizon or other carriers in the future, don't expect anything to happen to soon. It is the government.

mixel
Jul 12, 2007, 02:54 AM
This type of non-absolute thinking is completely irrational. By your logic, free speech (a good thing) is dangerous if not regulated, therefore, the government should start regulating speech occasionally.Eh.. It didn't seem that irrational.

"Non-absolute thinking" could be a good idea in some cases.. Doesn't mean it applies to everything. (You have to be non-absolute in the application of non-absolutism?).. Your "good things" are decided by you anyway, nobody's completely impartial, and others would disagree with your choice of absolute "common sense" rules.

I see both points, but sometimes an open system is better for the consumer, and if they can make it happen without damaging functionality it could be a good thing. I don't think Apple would have anything to lose.. AT&T would, but.. Oh well. :)

peestandingup
Jul 12, 2007, 02:59 AM
For Apple to be such a "global" company, having the iPhone tied to only certain carriers is really a kick in the balls to its fan base.

Also, Apple could sell a TON more units & had a global launch instead of this half-a$$ed effort with AT&T if it were just unlocked & sold directly by Apple. Sad.

princigalli
Jul 12, 2007, 03:11 AM
This is called reality. Apple only allows Mac OS X to work on Apple's hardware. It is called reality. In reality people sign contracts, or legally binding agreements that allows this so called evil behavior. Look at the laws and read a book on capitalism or the free market. If you do not like it, leave reality.

This is not reality, this is fanatism, and the aggressive style of your post shows only that. No free market can exist without regulation. You write contracts, regulations allow your contracts to be enforced. You deposit cash in a bank, regulation stops the bank from leaving with your money. This is reality. And the same happens with consumer goods. Without regulation we would not even have electrical standards, and every brand would force you to use a different plug or even voltage. And your TV would only work with a specific power company. If Apple made desk lamps they would probably force you to sign a 5 year contract with an expensive power company.

greenwrangler
Jul 12, 2007, 03:15 AM
This type of non-absolute thinking is completely irrational. By your logic, free speech (a good thing) is dangerous if not regulated, therefore, the government should start regulating speech occasionally.

But that is exactly what we have essentially. You cannot yell "Fire" in a crowded theater. In other words, you cannot say anything the hell you want and get away with it. No one seems to have a problem with that concept.


Property rights are good- so a concept like eminent domain is even better because it allows government to step on property rights by seizing private property.

To be sure, I dont agree with the concept of Eminent domain. However, your property rights are in fact regulated. You pay for the right to own property and that allows the government to protect your right by arming the police to protect that right. Absent that regulation is chaos, where the one with the biggest guns gets to control all the property.


Freedom of religion- good, but for good measure, we should restrict the concept to include everything except Buddhism and certain flavors of Christianity.

Can you practice your religion with impunity if it asks you to sacrifice a virgin every Friday the 13th? Again, a little regulation in form of laws helps keep such insanity from running amuck.


Protection from false imprisonment- seems like a good idea, but lets throw a few people in jail every day just because we don't like the way they look, talk, etc.

Can't argue with you on this point. Its valid and written/granted in the constitution explicitly. However, last time I checked there was no such protection in the constitution offered to corporations to trample over consumer's rights.


Equal rights? Good concept, but on occasion we should favor certain races when giving people jobs, an education, or other benefits.

No. But there needs to be protection to make sure those equal rights laws are being applied well. Again a little regulation.


Police protection from other citizens? Nice concept, but it would be better for everyone if on occasion we let people murder one another and turn a blind eye.

Police protection is exactly the form of limited regulation I am alluding to.


Capitalism and a free market? Let us not get carried away. Sure, it is a great concept, but wouldn't we be better off carving part of it out and replacing it with restrictions and regulations?

On the other hand, unfettered capitalism will lead to a few people controlling everything. There is no free market without a somewhat level playing field.

Why is it that taking away individual rights is all right with the same people who raise hell when corporations are asked to be more respectful and conscientious of consumer rights? Why is it wrong to demand corporations to respect the same society that makes it possible for them to operate and be profitable?

I will not bother responding to the rest of your diatribe.

JBaker122586
Jul 12, 2007, 03:16 AM
I can't believe people don't realize this. The iPhone WILL NOT be unlocked anytime soon, because it WILL NOT make Apple any more money than they are making now. Apple is taking a significant percentage of the sales of any iPhone contract from AT&T.
For instance, if you pay AT&T $60 a month for your iPhone, let's say $50 is going to AT&T and $10 is going to Apple. Assuming 1 million iPhones were sold, Apple is making $600 million from hardware sales PLUS $10 million a month for the next two years, just off early adopters.

And how about we let a capitalist economy work instead of imposing more ridiculous regulations. FDR died 60 years ago, let his legacy go with him.

RedTomato
Jul 12, 2007, 03:18 AM
While I agree with *some* varieties of social anarchism, you seem to be on a different planet. You seem to be totally unaware of the daily functioning mechanisms of government. And I'm not sure why you're ranting about this on an iPhone discussion.

This type of non-absolute thinking is completely irrational. By your logic, free speech (a good thing) is dangerous if not regulated, therefore, the government should start regulating speech occasionally.

Sorry to patronise you, but free speech is indeed absolutely regulated. For a trival example, see shouting 'fire' in a crowded theatre. It is less narrow in some ways in the USA than in some countries, but more strictly regulated in other ways - for example, in most western countries, Janet Jackson's nipple slip would have caused no fuss whatsoever. Here in the UK, it was replayed on the daytime news about 50 times in slow motion the next day and no-one complained and no laws were broken :)

Property rights are good- so a concept like eminent domain is even better because it allows government to step on property rights by seizing private property.

The USA does it all the time. Compulsory purchase exists. So does requisitioning in wartime or times of civil emergencies.

Freedom of religion- good, but for good measure, we should restrict the concept to include everything except Buddhism and certain flavors of Christianity.

Religion is indeed restricted. It's not allowed to become part of goverment. (in theory). Also some religions which have certain harmless practices are rather vigorously suppressed in their full form e.g. Rastafarianism with its smoking of ganja. (and will you say 'that's not a proper religion'?)

Protection from false imprisonment- seems like a good idea, but lets throw a few people in jail every day just because we don't like the way they look, talk, etc.

Happens every day legally in the USA and most countries. Arresting on suspicion, or racial profiling (overt or covert). Internment in times of war is provided for in law. (based on nothing more than being the wrong race.) New Orleans in Katrina - when a wealthy, healthy nearby community let whites over the bridge but tried to shoot blacks. With support from their police.

Equal rights? Good concept, but on occasion we should favor certain races when giving people jobs, an education, or other benefits.

Happens every day in the USA. Legally too. I shouldn't have to explain more.

Police protection from other citizens? Nice concept, but it would be better for everyone if on occasion we let people murder one another and turn a blind eye.

Judicial executions - which are still regarded as murder in most western countries. Cop killings. (ignored by many police and supported in the courts). Killings of people you don't know and have never met, and mean no harm to you is greatly funded by the US government - both in times of war and peace (see bombings of unidentified targets and collateral damage in Iraq and Afghanistan.) Or do they not count as they're not USA lives?

Capitalism and a free market? Let us not get carried away. Sure, it is a great concept, but wouldn't we be better off carving part of it out and replacing it with restrictions and regulations?

Unfettered capitalism works about as well as unfettered Communism. Or do you advocate abandoning all services to disabled people, the absolute buying and selling of votes, the right of companies to take over public utilities like water and refuse to sell to any except the rich, to create a virus that infects everyone then charge for a vaccine?

A non-absolute philosophy is very convenient, because it allows you to fulfill your own self interest at the expense of another. You can demand someone else's property, silence their speech when they say things you don't like, or take their job because you're the "right color." Heck, you can even pass a law saying a cell phone made by a private company has to be compatible with every cell network out there. Hell, lets do it. It benefits YOU, right? It might screw Apple. It might screw AT&T. But hey, it is OKAY to screw big companies, right? As long as we don't screw the "little guys."

So your philosophy is solely in absolute rules? Are you 15 years old? Try reading some Godel and his theory of completeness.

Instead of complaining about this and passing new laws so that everything in the world works to your benefit, why don't you just go out and buy this phone: http://www.openmoko.com ? That's right- vote with your dollars!

Finally on topic :) I also think Moko is lovely, however, it owes its very existence to the same rules you are complaining about. It is built at a fundamental level on research and patents that were 'unfairly' taken from their inventors and distributed to the public for the public good. That's a good thing mind you.

irun5k
Jul 12, 2007, 03:24 AM
"Non-absolute thinking" could be a good idea in some cases.. Doesn't mean it applies to everything. (You have to be non-absolute in the application of non-absolutism?).. Your "good things" are decided by you anyway, nobody's completely impartial, and others would disagree with your choice of absolute "common sense" rules.

This isn't accurate. There are certain axioms in the world- self evident truths that ultimately lead to a foundation of basic, inalienable rights that every human can demand. For example, the right to life and the right to property are paramount.

The right to free speech is actually a mere corollary. So long as the right to property exists, free speech will never completely die. One can always speak their mind on private property, such as in their home, or potentially on someone else's private property if both parties agree.

By the same token, if you take away the right to own a printing press, it doesn't really matter if you still have the right to free speech.

The right to operate a business and mutually agree to engage in transactions with your customers without external interference is also a right that can be proven- it is not an opinion.

If you don't accept the right to life or property, you must absolutely not accept it. For example, you have to openly accept the fact that I can enter your home and take what I like. Similarly, if you don't absolutely accept the right to life, you accept that your life can be subordinated to me- in other words, I can take you as my slave.

Unfortunately, you are not alone in your quest for non-absolutism. You are joined by many others, including most politicians.

While I agree with *some* varieties of social anarchism, you seem to be on a different planet. You seem to be totally unaware of the daily functioning mechanisms of government. And I'm not sure why you're ranting about this on an iPhone discussion.


We clearly do not agree at all, but sadly we actually disagree slightly less than you realize because you missed my excessive sarcasm in several instances.

greenwrangler
Jul 12, 2007, 03:31 AM
We clearly do not agree at all, but sadly we actually disagree slightly less than you realize because you missed my excessive sarcasm in several instances.

I think it is you who missed the sarcasm in RedTomato's post. :)

peestandingup
Jul 12, 2007, 03:39 AM
I can't believe people don't realize this. The iPhone WILL NOT be unlocked anytime soon, because it WILL NOT make Apple any more money than they are making now. Apple is taking a significant percentage of the sales of any iPhone contract from AT&T.
For instance, if you pay AT&T $60 a month for your iPhone, let's say $50 is going to AT&T and $10 is going to Apple. Assuming 1 million iPhones were sold, Apple is making $600 million from hardware sales PLUS $10 million a month for the next two years, just off early adopters.

And how about we let a capitalist economy work instead of imposing more ridiculous regulations. FDR died 60 years ago, let his legacy go with him.
So, it wasnt enough for Apple to just sell their product for $500-$600, they had to keep squeezing $$ from us after the fact?? That doesnt sit to well with most folks, especially long time Apple/Mac fans that see Apple as being open to standards. Cause this is about as closed as you can get.

Sure companies wanna make $$, but this seems kinda dirty. Especially when they lower their standards to get in bed with a crap company like AT&T, who isnt necessarily known for their great customer support or service.

WolfJLupus
Jul 12, 2007, 04:21 AM
Unfortunately, you are not alone in your quest for non-absolutism. You are joined by many others, including most politicians.

Unfortunately the realities in which we perceive as real are not the realities of absolution nor evidence to prove the same for everything and everyone else. Truth is really only relative to the one who's perceiving it both consciously and sub consciously. Even if we're governed by absolute truths we really can never prove such a thing especially to others as their perceptions of their truths/realities are subjective/relative to themselves.

The world is not black and white, it's shades of gray. Unless every (generally infinite) possibility has been considered and is known it's hard to find a absolute answer on any front, though certain we can find more balanced universal truths and to test our own truths not only for our own sake but that of society which allows us to progress beyond current selves. But that is my perception of truth which constructs the window panes of my reality in which I perceive the outside world/the reality outside of me.

Some philosophy to chew on perhaps? (Don't forget the world was flat at one point) ;)

^,,^_-wuff-

mangis
Jul 12, 2007, 04:25 AM
In Japan there are not plans per se.

I can quit my cell phone contract anytime I want without any penalty, and when I start I don't have to lock myself into a contract with any one company.

It will be interesting to see how iPhone approaches this market.

iAlan
Jul 12, 2007, 04:38 AM
Does the iPhome need certain network capabilities for full functionality? Will standard internet browsing work on any network or does the netweork need sometinging to support this? How about conferencing and voicdemail? Anything needed on the network side or is it all in the phone?

If it is all in the phone then why not have the iPhone compatable with a variety of networks. If network spoecific requirements exist then why risk customer disatisfaction if not all networks can meet the need?

l0ne
Jul 12, 2007, 04:39 AM
I can't believe people don't realize this. The iPhone WILL NOT be unlocked anytime soon, because it WILL NOT make Apple any more money than they are making now.

Food for thought:


GSM and UMTS ("3g"/HSDPA) are similar technologies (UMTS is in many ways an evolution of GSM). They are widespread throughout the world, especially in Europe and Japan.
Europe has no special regulations for locked-down mobiles, but they simply do not sell well here, unless very heavily subsidized. Carriers all use GSM or UMTS networks. Most phones are bought unlocked from the manufacturers, not the carriers. The carriers often offer subsidized unlocked phones if they are bought along with new contracts.
Apple, unlike many US companies, always thinks global when creating new products. All Apple products, including pieces of electronics like the iPod, are made from day one to be sold everywhere in the world, and most of the software Apple sells is fully localized in all "Tier 1" languages (English and many of the languages of Europe and East Asia, such as Italian, German, French, Chinese and Japanese).


Likely rationale for Apple choices:

GSM radios are über-cheap and very advanced now (ie low consumption). We can go GSM/EDGE and then use similar UMTS chipsets from the same manufacturers if the need arises. And we can go global with them whenever we choose to.
As a US company, we want to get the product out in the US first, but we cannot really sell it unlocked here -- carriers have too much of a stranglehold on the market. We cannot also sell it locked here and unlocked abroad at the same time -- there would be mass imports, cannibalizing the US sales and potentially hurting our relationship with whatever carrier we choose. So we go exclusive with one of the GSM carriers here, maybe making some extra money in the form of revenue sharing in the process; and then we can go crazy abroad in the winter.
We have to bend to the carrier's wishes while we sell here in the US, or we might not get the phone to market.


Note that the last point is a dud -- Apple is not likely to maintain two versions of the iPhone software, so we poor EU souls will get the same exact crippled (eg no Skype) phone you get out there. Sigh.

Apple could have chosen to not bend to any request from AT&T and probably has had draconian limits imposed on the software for this. However, Apple has also a history of not fighting upon such requests if it helps them bring something new to market (replace iPhones, AT&T and limitations with iPod, music companies and DRM).

CHess
Jul 12, 2007, 04:46 AM
This type of non-absolute thinking is completely irrational. By your logic, free speech (a good thing) is dangerous if not regulated, therefore, the government should start regulating speech occasionally.

Property rights are good- so a concept like eminent domain is even better because it allows government to step on property rights by seizing private property.

Freedom of religion- good, but for good measure, we should restrict the concept to include everything except Buddhism and certain flavors of Christianity.

Protection from false imprisonment- seems like a good idea, but lets throw a few people in jail every day just because we don't like the way they look, talk, etc.

Equal rights? Good concept, but on occasion we should favor certain races when giving people jobs, an education, or other benefits.

Police protection from other citizens? Nice concept, but it would be better for everyone if on occasion we let people murder one another and turn a blind eye.

Capitalism and a free market? Let us not get carried away. Sure, it is a great concept, but wouldn't we be better off carving part of it out and replacing it with restrictions and regulations?

A non-absolute philosophy is very convenient, because it allows you to fulfill your own self interest at the expense of another. You can demand someone else's property, silence their speech when they say things you don't like, or take their job because you're the "right color." Heck, you can even pass a law saying a cell phone made by a private company has to be compatible with every cell network out there. Hell, lets do it. It benefits YOU, right? It might screw Apple. It might screw AT&T. But hey, it is OKAY to screw big companies, right? As long as we don't screw the "little guys."

Instead of complaining about this and passing new laws so that everything in the world works to your benefit, why don't you just go out and buy this phone: http://www.openmoko.com ? That's right- vote with your dollars!

I think you're getting a little carried away and spewing some irrational arguments here and pretty well discrediting your opinion. Sit down and take a few slow... deep breaths...

Let's face it, not everything about Capitalism is great. Pure Capitalism, which doesn't exist anywhere, even in the U.S., feeds off the poor and the middle class like they're cattle. Because we believe in freedom, we allow much of this to happen, but we can't let anyone do anything they like. There ARE limits to everything. Laws exist because they are needed to protect the American Citizen. They should be the number one concern, IMHO :D

maverick808
Jul 12, 2007, 04:54 AM
The right to free speech is actually a mere corollary. So long as the right to property exists, free speech will never completely die. One can always speak their mind on private property, such as in their home, or potentially on someone else's private property if both parties agree.

I agree, only being able to speak freely on your own property, hidden from watchful eyes, or inside your own mind is double plus good for everyone :)

mccldwll
Jul 12, 2007, 04:56 AM
um. no. free enterprise allows carriers to sign exclusive contracts. maybe other countries will allow laws to pass that tell companies they need to open their products but here in the US, that isnt how things work.

Unless it is a monopoly (which this isnt), they cannot tell Apple the product needs to work on all networks. Apple for example could create their own wireless service and make it exclusive to that. They are selling a product, they can limit it as much as they like. People do not need to buy it, nor do they need to use AT&T. There are plunty of other phones and plunty of other carriers out there. No part of this is a monopoly. Except for the fact that AT&T has a monopoly on the iPhone (but no more than any football team has on a player... it is called a contract). If you don't like it than move on, nothing to see here.

There is no monopoly and that there is the problem. Promoting competition in an industry like this is severely inefficient. Providing a single network, where we can buy and use any phone we want, would be so much more efficient. A fraction of the resources expended on wireless service would have given us much faster data rates.

Instead we have each provider duplicating the same resources over and over again. The fact that such inefficiencies can support such wild profits is an indication of how much we're all being ripped off.

Update: Just to clarify, a cellular phone network is what economists call a natural monopoly, meaning that the marginal and average costs are diminishing. This means we have a situation where the most efficient approach is to have a single provider. However, due to serious corruption, that natural monopoly has been divided up into several colluding groups who then are given free-range to charge us exorbitant rates for lower quality service than we would otherwise have.

I agree, but the rest of the capitalist world is enjoying a very good and vibrant cell phone market with options galore, and here in the US we are about three years behind in cell phone tech and business practices. I like the iPhone, but don't believe the hype, Apple won't sell nearly as many as they would like if they don't open it up to the other carriers. Sprint is a better data service provider for businesses, they offer fast speeds and insurance for any smartphone at any price. Until Cingular can do that a lot of people won't buy the iPhone.

The iPod didn't take off until it was usable on a Windows machine.

Sprint was the first company I ever saw that dropped insurance on a model-by-model basis when they refused to insure the one Sony Ericcson phone they ever supported. Since then SprintPCS has switched form an insurance plan to some sort of con game where they gladly take your monthly fee, but then charge you a deductible that's greater than the cost of the replacement phone.

So if I buy a Ford, I should be able to choose what brand tires, oil, antifreeze...etc. it comes with?

No. But you should be able to drive it on all roads, not just Ford's (assuming it runs).

This all probably started because someone high up in the FCC wanted an iPhone and had a contract with another carrier, got upset, and started this ridiculous crusade.

No. This started years ago with respect to upcoming spectrum availability and consumer complaints about being locked in to terrible service.

SeaFox
Jul 12, 2007, 05:25 AM
I can't believe people don't realize this. The iPhone WILL NOT be unlocked anytime soon, because it WILL NOT make Apple any more money than they are making now. Apple is taking a significant percentage of the sales of any iPhone contract from AT&T.

Why do people keep trying to make a correlation between the iPhone's money making potential and the difficulty in unlocking it. Yeah, Apple will not be unlocking the iPhone anytime soon. Not because they can make more money from service kickbacks (note: I have yet to see any post that verifies they are in fact getting a cut of any monthly service fees, let alone a "significant percentage"), but because they have a contract with AT&T saying they wont for five years. Also note this agreement is for this specific iPhone. Apple could come out with an iPhone Nano next month and only make it available on T-Mobile, or make it a CDMA handset for Verizon.

The abilities of Apple to make money off the iPhone through exclusive agreements has no direct effect on the difficulty in unlocking it. The iPhone is just a smartphone. A smartphone with a very good user interface and a touch screen, but it's still a phone. A device that can be unlocked just like any Treo. Someone will figure out how to unlock it, and when they do, it wont matter what fine print is in any contract.

And to directly respond to the post I quoted, if something so bizarre as an Act of Congress were to regulate the cell phone industry to keep handsets unlocked, YES, THE IPHONE WILL BE UNLOCKED. Last I checked, federal law overruled exclusive agreements.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 05:38 AM
Does the iPhome need certain network capabilities for full functionality? Will standard internet browsing work on any network or does the network need something to support this?

Any Edge or 802.11b/g Wifi Network

How about conferencing and voicdemail? Anything needed on the network side or is it all in the phone?

Probably not on conferencing. Visual voicemail on the iPhone requires server side support, but knowing Apple they probably used a IEEE RFC standard or a variant on one. Visual voicemail could also be largely achieved through audio attachments on IMAP. You can do (almost) the same thing with Vonage today (as an example).

If it is all in the phone then why not have the iPhone compatable with a variety of networks. If network spoecific requirements exist then why risk customer disatisfaction if not all networks can meet the need?

I'd love to see even a WiFi only Skype-based VOIP iPhone/iPod. My hunch is that the iPhone is using cutting-edge components and is more costly to produce than analysts realize. Apple does not want to appear as producing very high-priced products (a misconception they constantly battle). So they got AT&T to subsidize the phone price, but not tell anyone about it. Once the component costs decline, Apple will be able to sell an iPhone for $600 or even less without any service provider subsidy.

mccldwll
Jul 12, 2007, 05:51 AM
There is no monopoly and that there is the problem. Promoting competition in an industry like this is severely inefficient. Providing a single network, where we can buy and use any phone we want, would be so much more efficient. A fraction of the resources expended on wireless service would have given us much faster data rates.

Instead we have each provider duplicating the same resources over and over again. The fact that such inefficiencies can support such wild profits is an indication of how much we're all being ripped off.

Update: Just to clarify, a cellular phone network is what economists call a natural monopoly, meaning that the marginal and average costs are diminishing. This means we have a situation where the most efficient approach is to have a single provider. However, due to serious corruption, that natural monopoly has been divided up into several colluding groups who then are given free-range to charge us exorbitant rates for lower quality service than we would otherwise have.

Right. Darwen clearly doesn't know what he's talking about and really should read up on the upcoming spectrum auction. People would be screaming bloody murder if their computers could only access the internet from certain (mac friendly) ports, but not from others, or could only use certain landphones on certain land networks. The US wireless system is silly, does not promote competition and inhibits technological advancements. And the only reason it still exists is the extremely heavy political lobbying presence (essentially bribery) of the telecom industry. Historically, the carriers have dictated what the cell makers activated on the phones. Further, Verizon and AT&T are the biggest opponents of the spectrum sale, but in all liklihood they're going to get dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. And people should stop blaming Apple for the iPhone being limited to AT&T. Does anyone think for one minute that Apple wouldn't prefer to sell unlocked phones that would work everywhere? No one really knows what monthly fees Apple collects, and whether such fees are "greedy profit" or for support, upgrades and updates for which Apple is responsible. The not too distant future will include integrated cell systems, as well as a complete wifi network, and all will benefit.

whooleytoo
Jul 12, 2007, 06:19 AM
Just to re-iterate, they're considering regulating new - not existing - spectrum; so this will have no impact on the current generation iPhone.

killerrobot
Jul 12, 2007, 06:21 AM
Wow the iPhone is changing the way our telecommunication network will be setup in the future. Awesome!

No, the european and asian markets are going to change the way our telecommunications work. The iPhone was used as a BAD example, not a good one.

kalisphoenix
Jul 12, 2007, 06:30 AM
This isn't accurate. There are certain axioms in the world- self evident truths that ultimately lead to a foundation of basic, inalienable rights that every human can demand. For example, the right to life and the right to property are paramount.

Humans don't have rights, Silly :p We're random collocations of atoms. Rights are a human construct, ultimately an ethical concept. Talking about "rights" just roots human morality in spirituality and irrationality, which doesn't help anything.

The right to free speech is actually a mere corollary. So long as the right to property exists, free speech will never completely die. One can always speak their mind on private property, such as in their home, or potentially on someone else's private property if both parties agree.

Remember Nazi Germany? The Germans had a right to property, but their own children spied upon them. Do not say that the right to property did not exist in Nazi Germany, because it did for almost everyone not convicted of a crime against Germany -- even in a Lbertarian paradise, people are deprived of their property for crimes...

By the same token, if you take away the right to own a printing press, it doesn't really matter if you still have the right to free speech.

So because I do not own a university, it does not matter if I have the right to be educated at one? Because I cannot own a national forest, I cannot walk through it? Because most of the nomadic Native Americans did not lay claim to the lands on which they traveled, they could not hunt and fish on it?

The right to operate a business and mutually agree to engage in transactions with your customers without external interference is also a right that can be proven- it is not an opinion.

Then prove it. You can prove that it might be desirable, but you cannot prove that it is a right -- again, rights do not exist outside of the human mind. Do you think rabbits lecture hawks on their respective rights and responsibilities?

If you don't accept the right to life or property, you must absolutely not accept it. For example, you have to openly accept the fact that I can enter your home and take what I like. Similarly, if you don't absolutely accept the right to life, you accept that your life can be subordinated to me- in other words, I can take you as my slave.

Again, the right does not exist -- so deliberating imaginary laws for acceptance of an imaginary right gets us nowhere. I could similarly say that I have a right to sexual congress with anyone I meet, but if I pass up having sex with one quadroplegic midget, it means anyone in the world could rape me at will.

How about this: the world has never been legally bought or sold, since it was never legally owned, since control over the resources for existence is a non-negotiable good (impinges on rights to life). Therefore, the world is the property of all, people who damage the world are guilty of crimes against the property of the human race, and therefore should rectify the damage they have inflicted much like a kid would clean up their spilled milk. All production is derived from natural resources, either directly or indirectly, and thus needs a lowered sale price in proportion to the effects of its creation upon the environment in the form of positive environmental action in order to compensate the world for that "withdrawal."

You can "prove" anything, but you can't prove anything, and rights simply do not exist except as human constructs. I'm not saying that rights are a bad thing -- I'm an anarchist, and against coercion -- but we have to approach this on a sane, philosophical playing field.

Unfortunately, you are not alone in your quest for non-absolutism. You are joined by many others, including most politicians.

When I think of absolutist politicians... well, I think you know a few of the names that come to mind.

Counter
Jul 12, 2007, 06:31 AM
This is called reality. Apple only allows Mac OS X to work on Apple's hardware. It is called reality. In reality people sign contracts, or legally binding agreements that allows this so called evil behavior. Look at the laws and read a book on capitalism or the free market. If you do not like it, leave reality.

?

Reality changes.

It's changed by people who feel they have the power to change it for the better. (or worse obviously in some cases)

dethl
Jul 12, 2007, 06:34 AM
Huh, maybe politicians will get some bill through that will make GSM the standard here in the US (considering its the standard worldwide I don't see why not). CDMA can transition through using phones with the R-UIM since its based off GSM standards. Changing all of the CDMA equipment to GSM isn't going to make the major carriers happy though and I'm sure they would tie this up in endless litigation. It's a nice thought at least...

JMax1
Jul 12, 2007, 06:56 AM
I don't agree with this. Why should the g'vt tell a company to open their product up to be sold by every carrier? Why can't it be the company's choice?

The man can't tell me what to do!

killerrobot
Jul 12, 2007, 07:01 AM
I don't agree with this. Why should the g'vt tell a company to open their product up to be sold by every carrier? Why can't it be the company's choice?

The man can't tell me what to do!

So you like paying 5 bucks/gallon at the pump huh?

The idea is to make the market freer, not to restrict it any more.

KristieMac
Jul 12, 2007, 07:04 AM
I've always hated the limited availability of phones on each network. iPhone or not, I'd never switch back to AT&T. If a law were eventually implemented which made it illegal to lock phones here in the US, consumers would be the ones to benefit. And then cell phone companies would be forced to compete where it really matters: in their network quality, reliability, and customer service.

eastcoastsurfer
Jul 12, 2007, 07:18 AM
um. no. free enterprise allows carriers to sign exclusive contracts. maybe other countries will allow laws to pass that tell companies they need to open their products but here in the US, that isnt how things work.

Unless it is a monopoly (which this isnt), they cannot tell Apple the product needs to work on all networks. Apple for example could create their own wireless service and make it exclusive to that. They are selling a product, they can limit it as much as they like. People do not need to buy it, nor do they need to use AT&T. There are plunty of other phones and plunty of other carriers out there. No part of this is a monopoly. Except for the fact that AT&T has a monopoly on the iPhone (but no more than any football team has on a player... it is called a contract). If you don't like it than move on, nothing to see here.

I am a die-hard capitalist and would agree with you accept for the fact that the cell phone companies make their money on public airwaves. The government (ie. the people) has allowed them to buy parts of the spectrum to run their business. This creates an oligopoly with huge barriers to entry for any other competitors. For this reason alone the cell phone companies should (and probably will) end up with regulation.

On the side topic of regulation, if I were a cell phone company I would proactively start unlocking my phones. The last thing I would want is some government body to start making me do things.

Le Big Mac
Jul 12, 2007, 07:22 AM
um. no. free enterprise allows carriers to sign exclusive contracts. maybe other countries will allow laws to pass that tell companies they need to open their products but here in the US, that isnt how things work.

Unless it is a monopoly (which this isnt), they cannot tell Apple the product needs to work on all networks. Apple for example could create their own wireless service and make it exclusive to that. They are selling a product, they can limit it as much as they like. People do not need to buy it, nor do they need to use AT&T. There are plunty of other phones and plunty of other carriers out there. No part of this is a monopoly. Except for the fact that AT&T has a monopoly on the iPhone (but no more than any football team has on a player... it is called a contract). If you don't like it than move on, nothing to see here.

Agree. There's a good reason for the exclusivity here. apple needed a network to commit to allowing certain features, like visual voicemail. If apple just started selling its phone, why would any of the carriers make it work with its network any more than a basic data device? I'm sure Apple evaluated selling the phone without a network/carrier tie-in, and decided that to make it work right, they needed to work with one cell provider.

They could certainly roll the product out in Europe, but again they want to make sure that vodaphone or t-mobile or whoever will provide adequate support. Only wat to ensure that is to grant exclusivity.

Le Big Mac
Jul 12, 2007, 07:23 AM
I am a die-hard capitalist and would agree with you accept for the fact that the cell phone companies make their money on public airwaves. The government (ie. the people) has allowed them to buy parts of the spectrum to run their business. This creates an oligopoly with huge barriers to entry for any other competitors. For this reason alone the cell phone companies should (and probably will) end up with regulation.

On the side topic of regulation, if I were a cell phone company I would proactively start unlocking my phones. The last thing I would want is some government body to start making me do things.

The "public" airwaves argument kinds of dies when they auctioned off the spectrum. Every bidder knew they would get a monopoly, which is why the money paid was so significant. It's not like free television, where they've been getting the spectrum for free.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 07:37 AM
The "public" airwaves argument kinds of dies when they auctioned off the spectrum. Every bidder knew they would get a monopoly, which is why the money paid was so significant. It's not like free television, where they've been getting the spectrum for free.

Just because the government colludes with the corporations to rip-off the public doesn't make it OK. You're making it sound like these corporatists are victims of the "public" citizenry who tricked them into colluding together and forced billions in profits on them at our expense.

mccldwll
Jul 12, 2007, 07:40 AM
The "public" airwaves argument kinds of dies when they auctioned off the spectrum. Every bidder knew they would get a monopoly, which is why the money paid was so significant. It's not like free television, where they've been getting the spectrum for free.


But the spectrum comes with conditions, and the conditions being discussed at the moment would favor an entity such as Google, as opposed to AT&T/Verizon.

pherplexed
Jul 12, 2007, 07:59 AM
jeez, there are some fanatical people in here.

This isn't about forcing manufacturers to open up their devices. It's about carriers not forcing devices to be locked to their network. If it was up to the manufacturer (ie: Apple) they would LOVE to have their device unlocked. That means anybody -ANYBODY- could buy their product cause it would work on any network, not just a tiny smidgen of the mobile phone users who are on whatever netowork they're tied to. In my opinion, Apple didn't choose to lock their device...nor does motorola or any other manufacturer. They are forced to do so by contracts with carriers that want the devices locked so customers have to engage in long-term contracts and "carrier only" services like music downloads, etc.

Forcing carriers to allow any device on their network is nothing but a good thing. It allows for faster advancement of product design and technology. It's absolutely no different than the fact that i can buy ANY cordless telephone from ANY manufacturer and plug it in at my house to the phone service provider of my choice, whether it's Vonage, Comcast, AT&T, or whowever. All the phones work no matter who you use.

edit: don't confuse the terms "unlocked" - referring to the ability to use a device on any network. "closed" platform - Apple (or any manufacturer) choosing to keep their phone platform "closed" to developers. Devices being "closed" is not the argument here.

age234
Jul 12, 2007, 08:02 AM
I think some people here are being shortsighted. Sure, it makes sense to say that ending the exclusivity would be good in many ways, but the fact is they have an exclusive contract, and Congress wants to get their dirty fingers into it. It's the principle of the thing: Congress shouldn't be dictating what companies can do unless it's actually hurting someone (the sales of other phones doesn't count).

You don't have a right to have an iPhone. iPhone is not the monopoly of the cell phone or smart phone industries. If you don't like AT&T, then don't get an iPhone. Congress shouldn't have the right to order Apple and AT&T to open the phone up for everyone.

Exclusivity is what drives competition: what the heck are patents!? Maybe we should amend the Constitution and get rid of all patents because they're unfair. :rolleyes:

mccldwll
Jul 12, 2007, 08:14 AM
I think some people here are being shortsighted. :rolleyes:

Yes. And you're at the front of that line. Read pherplexed's post immediately before yours. That's the big picture.

CptnJustc
Jul 12, 2007, 08:20 AM
I think some people here are being shortsighted. Sure, it makes sense to say that ending the exclusivity would be good in many ways, but the fact is they have an exclusive contract, and Congress wants to get their dirty fingers into it. It's the principle of the thing: Congress shouldn't be dictating what companies can do unless it's actually hurting someone (the sales of other phones doesn't count).

You don't have a right to have an iPhone. iPhone is not the monopoly of the cell phone or smart phone industries. If you don't like AT&T, then don't get an iPhone. Congress shouldn't have the right to order Apple and AT&T to open the phone up for everyone.

Exclusivity is what drives competition: what the heck are patents!? Maybe we should amend the Constitution and get rid of all patents because they're unfair. :rolleyes:

Patents are Congress dictating what companies can do -- they can't copy an idea, until some period (chosen by Congress) has passed. Congress can and does get involved wherever it sees economic inefficiency.

There are complicated arguments on both sides about the efficiency of bundling... but Europe seems to do quite well with their anti-bundling laws (or, at least, enforcement).

3Tabernacles
Jul 12, 2007, 08:31 AM
This is anti iPhone, i.e. the telecommunications department does not like the fact the the iPhone is exclusive to ATT for 5 years and they think that ALL phones should be able to work on ALL networks. As another user mentioned, this is like the Ma Bell fights in the past. I bet Sprint, Nextel, Verizon and Palm are behind this. TOO BAD for you Verizon! You had your chance and you BLEW IT!!:D

Rot'nApple
Jul 12, 2007, 08:45 AM
This is called reality. Apple only allows Mac OS X to work on Apple's hardware. It is called reality. In reality people sign contracts, or legally binding agreements that allows this so called evil behavior. Look at the laws and read a book on capitalism or the free market. If you do not like it, leave reality.

Unfortunately, politicians don't really seem to live in reality.

What are our lawmakers? Lawyers, mostly, maybe a few with business background, but since when have they introduced legislation that was "Apple-esque", that is, simple to understand and pleasurable to utilize?

What is their track record? De-Regulation of the Airlines, break up of Ma Bell into baby Bells... your choices may have grown but over the long run how's your satisfaction with the service of those choices? Been on an airplane ride lately?

You think the cell phone contract you sign is bad. Wait until congress comes out with a 900 page law with all the subpart A's, of Section D's, of Paragraph C's, of Subsection ii's, etc. Heck even the lawmakers don't read the laws they are voting on from beginning to end (ie. immigration reform law just recently voted down) and yet they'll vote on 'em. How's that for comforting news!

I can't recall the last time the lawmakers took something that was bad, tried to make it better, only it cames out more muddied and befuddled then before.

I just hope they don't make a bad situation worse by there normal ineptitude.:eek:

LillieDesigns
Jul 12, 2007, 08:50 AM
The only reason i don't understand this thinking is due to manufacturers having a choice on what and where they sell. It is a different market, but why doesn't the government force Abercrombie to sell its clothes in Target, or Craftsman products forced to be sold outside of SEARS, or even a doctor in northern New Jersey selling his services in southern New Jersey.

The examples are a little over the top, but a lot of companies (especially Apple) sell their products in closed practices for maintaining quality. If the iPhone was open, Apple couldn't guarantee 100% functionality, if clothing designers shared their goods the entire reasoning behind different stores would be void, etc. etc.

I HATE that I can't use the iPhone on the Sprint network, but if Apple chooses to use ATT then so be it. Companies cut deals with each other and that's how business works. If every company had to be "unlocked" with it's products the entire economy would be turned upside down.

The end point is if I make my own product I should choose where and how I want it to be sold. Apple designed the iPhone, they want it to work and they want to turn a profit, ATT (hopefully) ensures that. Just because we want the thing to work on all carriers doesn't mean we have to turn the entire economic system upside down to get it.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 08:59 AM
The only reason i don't understand this thinking is due to manufacturers having a choice on what and where they sell. It is a different market, but why doesn't the government force Abercrombie to sell its clothes in Target, or Craftsman products forced to be sold outside of SEARS, or even a doctor in northern New Jersey selling his services in southern New Jersey.

...

I HATE that I can't use the iPhone on the Sprint network, but if Apple chooses to use ATT then so be it. Companies cut deals with each other and that's how business works. If every company had to be "unlocked" with it's products the entire economy would be turned upside down.

The end point is if I make my own product I should choose where and how I want it to be sold. Apple designed the iPhone, they want it to work and they want to turn a profit, ATT (hopefully) ensures that. Just because we want the thing to work on all carriers doesn't mean we have to turn the entire economic system upside down to get it.

None of your examples relate to natural monopolies. The system is being turned upside down already (and someone at the FCC or on a congressional subcommittee isn't really going to stop that). Its upside down because our corporatist government's (and this is applying to European government's more and more) are turning over our economy to a smaller and smaller cabal of their friends. How much more upside down can it get?

Rot'nApple
Jul 12, 2007, 09:02 AM
I've always hated the limited availability of phones on each network. iPhone or not, I'd never switch back to AT&T. If a law were eventually implemented which made it illegal to lock phones here in the US, consumers would be the ones to benefit. And then cell phone companies would be forced to compete where it really matters: in their network quality, reliability, and customer service.

You say you 'd never switch back to AT&T because, and tell me if I am wrong, you were ired by either the lack of "network quality, reliability or poor customer service".

How does "unlimited" versus "limited" phones improve that situation?

I would love to know the company that has 100% network quality, assures 100% reliability and gives consumers 100% customer service? Because anything short of those ideals, makes the carrier, well, just another carrier "with issues"! It's a paradigm that will never happen. Somewhere, someone is going to gripe about something with their cell phone provider and phones wouldn't have a dang thing to do with it - locked or unlocked. Sorry!

andiwm2003
Jul 12, 2007, 09:06 AM
gee, it's not about apple. nobody says apple (or any other manufacturer) has to sell the a phone for every network.

it's about the networks. they should be open to any phone that meets the specifications. like windows has to run every program that is programmed for it (think about the web browsers).

intel is not allowed to stop adobe (or any other companies) programs from running on intel cpu's as long as they meet the spec's.

but phone companies stop certain phones from running on their network although they would meet the specifications.

phone companies limit the transfer of data based on content (ringtones, music downloads). although they are able to transfer music as data packets they don't let you transfer that kind of data. they themselfes however do it.
would you accept that comcast doesn't allow you to buy music from itunes? of course not.

therefore unfortunately the government has to step in and force the phone companies to open their network to all phones that meet their specifications. and phone companies should not be allowed to limit the transfer of data based on content.

germ war
Jul 12, 2007, 09:06 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Cingular/AT&T the only organization that agreed to meet Apple's hefty demands? I think the iPhone-AT&T relationship has very little to do with "monopoly" or quelching innovation, and a lot to do with Apple hoping to make as much money as possible from their product.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 09:13 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Cingular/AT&T the only organization that agreed to meet Apple's hefty demands? I think the iPhone-AT&T relationship has very little to do with "monopoly" or quelching innovation, and a lot to do with Apple hoping to make as much money as possible from their product.

What were those hefty demands? Provide decent visual voicemail access for your customers? Provide decent data rates? Improve your Edge network? Provide nationwide service? Are these "hefty" demands. The fact that a phone producer had to push for these things is an indication of how corporatism is screwing customers and citizens alike. The fact that they might be considered "hefty" is an indication off how extreme the situation is.

mccldwll
Jul 12, 2007, 09:16 AM
This is anti iPhone, i.e. the telecommunications department does not like the fact the the iPhone is exclusive to ATT for 5 years and they think that ALL phones should be able to work on ALL networks. As another user mentioned, this is like the Ma Bell fights in the past. I bet Sprint, Nextel, Verizon and Palm are behind this. TOO BAD for you Verizon! You had your chance and you BLEW IT!!:D

You have it 100% backasswards. Verizon, AT&T and other cell companies have been protecting the present system for years with DC lobbying. Both are opposed to universal access. Companies like Google are trying to open it up.

ChrisK018
Jul 12, 2007, 09:16 AM
^Thank goodness noble Apple only has the concerns of the consumers at heart and never ever frets about making a profit.

CptnJustc
Jul 12, 2007, 09:17 AM
You say you 'd never switch back to AT&T because, and tell me if I am wrong, you were ired by either the lack of "network quality, reliability or poor customer service".

How does "unlimited" versus "limited" phones improve that situation?

By leaving the networks only those options to compete over, and by passing more appropriate price signals on to the consumer. As it is now, cell phone bills are some unknowable mixture of amortized handset costs and actual network usage costs. If people were to buy handsets and plans separately, they could pay the appropriate costs for the features they wanted on their cell phones, and ditto for their plans.

As it is now, you'd have to choose between getting an iPhone, or punishing AT&T for their poor network quality and customer service. If they were forced to unbundle, you could do both.

whooleytoo
Jul 12, 2007, 09:22 AM
I think the main problem here isn't the "buy a phone from us, and you can only use it on our network" that's fair enough. The problem is when a network gets nationwide exclusive access to a new device, so the only way to use it is to sign up to their service.

This means networks are competing on negotiated exclusives ("Only network with iPhone etc."), rather than on price, network coverage, quality of service, quality of customer support etc. which would actually benefit the consumer.

mccldwll
Jul 12, 2007, 09:24 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Cingular/AT&T the only organization that agreed to meet Apple's hefty demands? I think the iPhone-AT&T relationship has very little to do with "monopoly" or quelching innovation, and a lot to do with Apple hoping to make as much money as possible from their product.

Huh??? Apple needed a cell provider for its product to be marketable and AT&T was willing to give Apple what it wanted/needed networkwise to launch it. Apple would love universal access. Apple has roughly 75% of the mp3 market because of innovation/best product. Apple would gain huge market share if iPhone worked on all networks.

mccldwll
Jul 12, 2007, 09:30 AM
^Thank goodness noble Apple only has the concerns of the consumers at heart and never ever frets about making a profit.

Oh. I get it. Sarcasm. Universal access benefits the consumer. Universal access also greatly benefits Apple since exponentially expands market.

applehero
Jul 12, 2007, 09:34 AM
Everytime the government tries to step in on free enterprise to make it better, they end up making it worse. Breaking up AT&T in 1984 was a horrible move and is what caused the US to be in the situation it is today with our lacking telecommunications technologies.

As another post mentions, they tried with the airlines...got worse.

They tried with the gas/oil companies....got worse.

They tried it with healthcare...got worse.

See the pattern forming here.

We invented telecommunications, AT&T was providing the world with the ability to communicate. They provided an excellent service and customer service. Things were simple. The reason we fell behind on our own creation is because of the anti-trust ruling (which has not happened since) which caused AT&T to stop focusing on the customer and have to focus on providing services to competing companies and fix their problems.

There is also a reason that the original AT&T companies are starting to combine back together, it makes sense for the consumer. Also note that it is not AT&T that has done the acquiring here, it is SBC Communications, which was the core RBOC after the divestiture.

The government's policy on business is TAKE CARE OF THE POLITICIANS. This all probably started because someone high up in the FCC wanted an iPhone and had a contract with another carrier, got upset, and started this ridiculous crusade. It's the same thing as social security in this country. The government keeps trying to fix it with no real success. This is because they don't pay into nor draw out of this fund, the politicians have a private fund to ensure they can continue living in 'La La Land' when they retire. If they had to pull out of the same fund as the rest of us, I can guarantee we would not have a Social Security problem.

Next time you want to blame at&t for bad customer service, bad wireless service, poor technology, whatever...just remember that the government is the one who created this problem and now they think they can fix it.

studiomusic
Jul 12, 2007, 09:35 AM
it's just a general consumer-friendly law that buying something shouldn't oblige you in buying anything else.

So if I buy a Ford, I should be able to choose what brand tires, oil, antifreeze...etc. it comes with?
With the iphone, you are buying a package deal, the iphone, and the service.
But, I do need to unlock mine to work in France later this year... I guess I'm torn:eek:

jarbake
Jul 12, 2007, 09:49 AM
We live in a free market economy. Companies can make goods and decide to sell them in whatever market they please. If you, the consumer, doesn't like it, don't buy the product. It is as simple as that. No matter how hard you might like it to, a single company cannot cater to the needs of ever single consumer out there.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 09:55 AM
So if I buy a Ford, I should be able to choose what brand tires, oil, antifreeze...etc. it comes with?
With the iphone, you are buying a package deal, the iphone, and the service.
But, I do need to unlock mine to work in France later this year... I guess I'm torn:eek:

No. But you should be able to drive it on all roads, not just Ford's (assuming it runs).

A much better analogy. If you think this is about free markets or capitalism or anything like that you're being duped. This is about corporatism. And if you turn this into just the government messing things up you've been duped a second time. They're not supporting these monopolists, because they're somehow incompetent. They're supporting these monopolists because they get a cut. ... And also because we let them. Saying "whatever the legislators do is only going to mess this up" only opens the door to let them screw us over some more. Instead we should be saying "stop screwing us over" because the legislators aren't going to go away. They're not going to do nothing. Even if they tell you they're doing nothing because they're "for small government", that's just more ******** for us to swallow.

We live in a free market economy. Companies can make goods and decide to sell them in whatever market they please. If you, the consumer, doesn't like it, don't buy the product. It is as simple as that. No matter how hard you might like it to, a single company cannot cater to the needs of ever single consumer out there.

If we live in a free market economy and you want to celebrate that, why would you support the theft by these natural monopolists?

studiomusic
Jul 12, 2007, 09:56 AM
No. But you should be able to drive it on all roads, not just Ford's (assuming it runs).

Ah yes, but I can 'drive' my iphone anywhere there are wireless 'roads'.

eastcoastsurfer
Jul 12, 2007, 09:56 AM
The "public" airwaves argument kinds of dies when they auctioned off the spectrum. Every bidder knew they would get a monopoly, which is why the money paid was so significant. It's not like free television, where they've been getting the spectrum for free.

So if I can buy a monopoly then I can charge anything I want? The fact that it's a monopoly (well in this case a oligopoly) out of the gate means that the normal capitalist tenants of competition, etc... do not apply. We took something that the 'public' in this case owned and sold it to a company (which I think is fine b/c private enterprises are 99% of the time much more efficient than the gov). The terms of that sale are what will end up getting adjusted if the providers continue to try and milk their customers though. Think all of the other utilities...

jarbake
Jul 12, 2007, 10:00 AM
If we live in a free market economy and you want to celebrate that, why would you support the theft by these natural monopolists?

I'm not supporting anything. I haven't gone out and casted my voting dolars in favor of the iphone. If you think its theft there's is simple fix, don't buy it.

Yankees 4 Life
Jul 12, 2007, 10:02 AM
What were those hefty demands? Provide decent visual voicemail access for your customers? Provide decent data rates? Improve your Edge network? Provide nationwide service? Are these "hefty" demands. The fact that a phone producer had to push for these things is an indication of how corporatism is screwing customers and citizens alike. The fact that they might be considered "hefty" is an indication off how extreme the situation is.

hey, seeing that you may have misread what apple asked AT&T to do, let me tell you. They asked AT&T to overhaul their entire network and servers to allow them to include visual voicemail, which cost att about 6 billion dollars. Then they asked them to revamp their edge network and provide more coverage, which they did, at a cost of about 3 billion dollars. Then, they forced them to overhaul their data rate plans, allowing people unfettered access to the EDGE network for a 5 dollar discount, which is a lot of revenue lost. Then the big one, apple reportedly gets abour 3 dollars of each iphone phone bill every month and gets half of the activation fee(apple gets $18) and reportedly keeps 5/8 profit of each iphone, with 1/8 going to att and the rest to pay off advertising and RD. So ATT basically bended over many many times for this iphone to work, and as a proud owner of one, i am very happy to see the carrier finally have to move to the beat of the manufacturer. Verizon is kicking itself over and over for this one. That is an EXTREME!!! situation

pherplexed
Jul 12, 2007, 10:03 AM
So if I buy a Ford, I should be able to choose what brand tires, oil, antifreeze...etc. it comes with?
With the iphone, you are buying a package deal, the iphone, and the service.
But, I do need to unlock mine to work in France later this year... I guess I'm torn:eek:

You can chose the oil, antifreeze, and tires. You purchase it with whatever brand Ford has a deal with, but if you're not happy with that brand of tire...or antifreeze, etc, you can change them the minute you drive your car off the lot.

For everyone whining "this is socialism!", "our government is trying to kill free enterprise" : Nobody is trying to stop "exclusive deals" or forcing Apple or anyone to "open up their devices for thrid party development". In fact, I say keep the excluive deals...but only for the sale.

For instance, only AT&T and Apple stores can sell iPhones for the next 5 years...and if you buy one, perhaps you get a discount on your rate plan if you sign up for AT&T service instead of chosing to go with another carrier. But you should have the option.

Our government doesn't have issues with this sort of exclusive scenario. They're simply saying that after puchsasing a device, it should be allowed to be used on another network, if one so choses. As i mentioned previously, this is probaly what the manufacturers want as well.

CptnJustc
Jul 12, 2007, 10:06 AM
Everytime the government tries to step in on free enterprise to make it better, they end up making it worse. Breaking up AT&T in 1984 was a horrible move and is what caused the US to be in the situation it is today with our lacking telecommunications technologies.

As another post mentions, they tried with the airlines...got worse.

They tried with the gas/oil companies....got worse.

They tried it with healthcare...got worse.

See the pattern forming here.

The first poster to make these points kind of glossed over the fact that this led to plummeting prices. Not a small deal. Where do you think our current telecom tech would be without the dirt-cheap phone rates that make the cost of long distance calls virtually negligible?

Breaking up AT&T was, by most accounts, a great move which led to a lot of our (and, by extension, the rest of the world's) current telecommunications technologies. Our trailing in some areas is not due to an excess of competition.

You really think flying is a worse experience now than it was in 1980 (security requirements aside)? Fares have withered in real terms, and yet been able to invest in planes that give every passenger a personal TV screen with a dozen channels.

As for gas / oil companies, that's complicated and getting off-course.

And... they tried it with health care? What exactly are you referring to?

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 10:09 AM
I'm not supporting anything. I haven't gone out and casted my voting dolars in favor of the iphone. If you think its theft there's is simple fix, don't buy it.

Sounds like you're supporting monopolists. :-)

syklee26
Jul 12, 2007, 10:12 AM
having been to many other countries, I have first hand experience to tell you how horrible US cellular service is. if you go up to high in building, no connection. if you go too low, no connection. if you go take a dump, no connection. it's just sickening.

and this is not because US has a huge land. The connection even in the biggest city in US called New York is mediocre at best.

having GSM is no excuse either when you consider that the connection in Europe is fantastic and they use GSM.

and this 2 year mandatory contract system is a joke. if you have a bad connection, you are stuck for 2 years regardless of the pathetic service you are getting on your end for paying $50-$200 per month.

I would much rather see the system implemented in Korea, for example. They don't have contract system, and they don't subsidize the phone all that much. I would rather buy whatever phone I want and have the freedom to choose the service that fits me best rather than being stuck for 2 years.

Verizon probably has the best connection but their service is just as bad. They make you extend the contract for 1 year if you switch from data plan to phone plan or vice versa, and this is regardless of whether you got the phone subsidized by Verizon or from ebay.

gosh I am starting to have ulcer talking about the pathetic cellular service of this country.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 10:14 AM
hey, seeing that you may have misread what apple asked AT&T to do, let me tell you. They asked AT&T to overhaul their entire network and servers to allow them to include visual voicemail, which cost att about 6 billion dollars. Then they asked them to revamp their edge network and provide more coverage, which they did, at a cost of about 3 billion dollars. Then, they forced them to overhaul their data rate plans, allowing people unfettered access to the EDGE network for a 5 dollar discount, which is a lot of revenue lost. Then the big one, apple reportedly gets abour 3 dollars of each iphone phone bill every month and gets half of the activation fee(apple gets $18) and reportedly keeps 5/8 profit of each iphone, with 1/8 going to att and the rest to pay off advertising and RD. So ATT basically bended over many many times for this iphone to work, and as a proud owner of one, i am very happy to see the carrier finally have to move to the beat of the manufacturer. Verizon is kicking itself over and over for this one. That is an EXTREME!!! situation

I don't have any idea what you reply has to do with my comment.

eastcoastsurfer
Jul 12, 2007, 10:15 AM
We live in a free market economy. Companies can make goods and decide to sell them in whatever market they please. If you, the consumer, doesn't like it, don't buy the product. It is as simple as that. No matter how hard you might like it to, a single company cannot cater to the needs of ever single consumer out there.

I would agree with you accept you need to take it further. I don't like all of the cell phone providers b/c they charge too much so I get some investors to start my own. Oh wait, I can't b/c the gov. has given the current providers a monopoly on the spectrum. This is when the capitalist argument breaks down. By giving these companies a monopoly on the spectrum the gov. has limited competition with an unpassable barrier to entry.

Of course this has more to do with my disdain toward cell phone service providers in general and less with them locking phones (which I couldn't really care less about).

jarbake
Jul 12, 2007, 10:17 AM
Sounds like you're supporting monopolists. :-)

I'm a little perplexed. What is the basis of this assumption?

The ball is in the consumers’ court. Don't cry because a company decides to sell their products in a market that isn't to your liking. Just don’t buy it. If enough people have the same feeling as you, the company will be forced to move their products to a market that is more desirable to the largest consumer base. But judging by the number of iPhones sold, a pretty fair number of are happy with the market Apple has decided to sell there products in.

mccldwll
Jul 12, 2007, 10:23 AM
But judging by the number of iPhones sold, a pretty fair number of are happy with the market Apple has decided to sell there products in.

This really has very little to do with Apple and the iPhone. This is about the existing telecom control structure.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 10:23 AM
I'm a little perplexed. What is the basis of this assumption?

The ball is in the consumers’ court. Don't cry because a company decides to sell their products in a market that isn't to your liking. Just don’t buy it. If enough people have the same feeling as you, the company will be forced to move their products to a market that is more desirable to the largest consumer base. But judging by the number of iPhones sold, a pretty fair number of are happy with the market Apple has decided to sell there products in.

We're not talking about iphones. Apple's not the monopolist here. We're talking about the telecommunication infrastructure. Like most infrastructure its a natural monopoly. (though one that's been deceptively split up to give the false impression of competition) The consumer cannot simply decide not to telecommunicate anymore, then wait a few centuries and see if the monopolists got the message.

Digital Skunk
Jul 12, 2007, 10:31 AM
I can't believe people don't realize this. The iPhone WILL NOT be unlocked anytime soon, because it WILL NOT make Apple any more money than they are making now. Apple is taking a significant percentage of the sales of any iPhone contract from AT&T.
For instance, if you pay AT&T $60 a month for your iPhone, let's say $50 is going to AT&T and $10 is going to Apple. Assuming 1 million iPhones were sold, Apple is making $600 million from hardware sales PLUS $10 million a month for the next two years, just off early adopters.

And how about we let a capitalist economy work instead of imposing more ridiculous regulations. FDR died 60 years ago, let his legacy go with him.

Not really. The iPhone would make Apple stinking rich if they opened it up to better more capable service providers. AT&T is okay... but there are plenty of people that think it is lacking in some way or another, such as insurance, coverage area, data plan/voice plan price, customer service. etc. So Apple would have made almost twice or three times as much money on the first day if they would have just opened the phone up to the more superior CDMA network and the other GSM networks. Locking something down to one company and saying that it was a good idea is just insane.

Sprint was the first company I ever saw that dropped insurance on a model-by-model basis when they refused to insure the one Sony Ericcson phone they ever supported. Since then SprintPCS has switched form an insurance plan to some sort of con game where they gladly take your monthly fee, but then charge you a deductible that's greater than the cost of the replacement phone.

This isn't true at all. Even if you buy a subsidized phone, you will still win out in the end when it comes to getting a replacement phone... besides... the insurance is just like any other warranty. You may use it you may not. When my girlfriend lost her $650 Treo TWICE in one month (left it in mall first time, got held up at gun point the second time) Sprint and their insurance provider replaced her phone both times.

Let's see... she pays $6 a month for it. That's $72 a year. She has had her Sprint service for 8 years (1998) and it was cheaper then ($3) but I will use the $6. That is $576 for the entire 8 years. Her phone retailed for $679 up until the Treo 700 debuted. She saved herself $782 on TWO phones that Sprint replaced for her... the police report helped her not get the second incident counted against her because the insurance company won't keep replacing your phone over and over again when you keep loosing it and breaking it, but that is very understandable.

I am not attacking the quoted poster, this next comment is more for everyone. I love the iPhone, but Apple made a bad decision in leaving the phone locked... I would have rather waited another 2 years for an unlocked CDMA/GSM phone that would have been sold worldwide, rather than a US only, AT&T only crippled phone that we have now. And sugar coating the situation isn't going to make anything better.

Once you put all the cards on the table from all of the service providers, phone manufacturers, FCC committee members, rules & regulations, the US cell phone market is years behind europe and asia and Africa and the rest of the world. Apple made a business smart decision to go with AT&T since they have more customers nationwide therefore selling more iPhones (not to mentions those that would switch from other providers, but a 5 year exclusive contract is suck retarded. Steve must have gotten some good **** when he signed that deal.... he practically signed the iPhone's soul away.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 10:31 AM
Also on this idea that the consumer needs choice (Eddit: in the wireless telco infrastructure) that's another myth. What sorts of choice to you want in the infrastructure. "I'd like my data to arrive as slow as possible"? No, on the issues of infrastructure we want it to work as best as it can (and their may be disagreements about that), but it doesn't help to completely duplicate the infrastructure so that you can provide some minor difference to the other infrastructure. I challenge any of you that thing choice in your telecommunications infrastructure is so important to come up with a particular point of contention on that infrastructure. In other words the infrastructure that delivers 2-way data access to you over radio waves in metropolitan areas and along inter-states (talking US here). The important issues are usually just over how many resources to devote to it (should we obsolete the existing equipment simply to bring 40mbit per second throughput). Should we service provide to some shack in Montana. Having multiple duplicate providers in Manhattan do not solve these issues.

CptnJustc
Jul 12, 2007, 10:34 AM
I'm a little perplexed. What is the basis of this assumption?

The ball is in the consumers’ court. Don't cry because a company decides to sell their products in a market that isn't to your liking. Just don’t buy it. If enough people have the same feeling as you, the company will be forced to move their products to a market that is more desirable to the largest consumer base. But judging by the number of iPhones sold, a pretty fair number of are happy with the market Apple has decided to sell there products in.

But that's not the issue. The issue is that our legislators have to decide what would make a more efficient economy -- allowing oligopolists to determine the limits of downstream hardware makers' innovation (crippling Bluetooth, etc.), or not. They have to choose the best trade off between a freedom for the upstream service providers and a practical freedom for the hardware makers.

Can we agree that it would seem to be more efficient for people to pay the true costs for the handsets they want, and pay the true costs for the network they want rather than the current limitied, cross-subsidized price mishmash? Why hasn't the market ironed this out already? It seems to me there must be an incentive problem.

applehero
Jul 12, 2007, 10:41 AM
The first poster to make these points kind of glossed over the fact that this led to plummeting prices. Not a small deal. Where do you think our current telecom tech would be without the dirt-cheap phone rates that make the cost of long distance calls virtually negligible?

Breaking up AT&T was, by most accounts, a great move which led to a lot of our (and, by extension, the rest of the world's) current telecommunications technologies. Our trailing in some areas is not due to an excess of competition.

You really think flying is a worse experience now than it was in 1980 (security requirements aside)? Fares have withered in real terms, and yet been able to invest in planes that give every passenger a personal TV screen with a dozen channels.

As for gas / oil companies, that's complicated and getting off-course.

And... they tried it with health care? What exactly are you referring to?

First off, I don't think our phone rates are cheap. Flying has gotten progressively worse, especially over the last 10+ years (not security related). I agree on the gas/oil companies (which unfortunately are related to everything else..inflation.) The reason you probably don't know what I'm taking about on the health care is because it was such a huge and utter failure it didn't last long enough for many to remember.

Everyone has their own opinions about the divestiture, but the reality is that it was catastrophic to the consumer. It may have resulted in competition, but the overall consumer experience was lost in companies trying to get rich. AT&T was not screwing its customers with outrageous prices and outdated technology. Now, what do we as consumers get...slamming, cramming, telemarketing calls, complex contracts, confusing service packages, 2nd rate service and a complete lack of customer service. I don't think people realize that even though they may not be an at&t customer, 90% of the network that they use is owned and maintained by at&t. If at&t were allowed to focus on their own networks and technology instead of dealing with every other phone companies BS, we would still be way ahead of the game. It's pretty hard to continue to advance service and technology when the government tells you...1st, you have to lease your network to any company who wants it and maintain the network for them, 2nd, you have to fulfill all other companies service request before your own(in other words, screw your customers), and 3rd, you can't charge any lower than these regulated amounts for your service(so much for competition when you're not allowed to compete). To this day, the government is still enforcing certain anti-trust rules within the operational functions of at&t (I just experienced one of them). We will never truly have a free enterprise in telecommunications until the government steps out and lets the companies run things, I seriously doubt things could get any worse.

whatever
Jul 12, 2007, 10:42 AM
Wow the iPhone is changing the way our telecommunication network will be setup in the future. Awesome!
Perhaps the iPhone will be able to do to the mobile industry (and I'm not just talking about in the US, but world wide), what FairPlay/DRM is doing to digital music.

Think about it for a second. If the iPhone is such a huge success and AT&T and the other Apple partners begin to steel market share, then the other telecoms will have to rethink the way they do business.

Just like FairPlay/DRM is doing with the music industry. Apple played by the rules and used DRM and now the industry has realized that this might not be such a good thing.

whatever
Jul 12, 2007, 10:49 AM
I think there won't be any "real" competition until the U.S. cell market opens up considerably. I agree with the Skunk...

I cannot believe Apple has such an expensive phone (that only works with one carrier) and does not offer insurance! :confused:

How can Apple feel that they can make more money with an exclusive carrier of the iPhone. I am sure there are thousands of people who would use it if it were available outside of AT&T... What a crazy decision to lock it for so long with one carrier. AT&T must have really sweetened the pot for Apple...

Well, the thing is Apple is making money on the iPhone, most likely more than Motorola is making with all of their phones combined.

Bottom line Apple will make more money long term than working just with AT&T then they would with everyone else, due to the revenue sharing they're getting on the service side of things.

Also in the last 10 years I have used the old AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. And I have to say that Sprint was the worst of the bunch. And I had them longer than everyone else, I would have dropped calls in NYC and most major cities in the country. I've heard good things about T-Mobile, but have never used them. And I would rate AT&T and Verizon the same as far as service goes (although my AT&T phone was better because they did not cripple it).

whatever
Jul 12, 2007, 10:59 AM
jeez, there are some fanatical people in here.

This isn't about forcing manufacturers to open up their devices. It's about carriers not forcing devices to be locked to their network. If it was up to the manufacturer (ie: Apple) they would LOVE to have their device unlocked.


No, you are completely wrong here.

Apple choose to close the iPhone.

They did not want the iPhone experience to be damaged by XYZ Telecom, who refused to implement things the Apple way. For example, Apple does not control the visual voicemail feature of the iPhone, AT&T does. No what if the iPhone was unlocked and Verizon (and there is no doubt in my mind that they wouldn't do this) decided not to implement this feature. Anyone using Verizon would be complaining to Apple, not Verizon, and the negative reviews would be geared towards the iPhone and not Verizon.

Do you honestly believe that all of the major players want to be on equal footing with one another and just be a checkbox on iPhone activation screen?

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 11:00 AM
We will never truly have a free enterprise in telecommunications until the government steps out and lets the companies run things, I seriously doubt things could get any worse.

I guess you don't understand what a natural monopoly is. Basically it implies you don't want to have free enterprise in that industry. It means you want to have nothing resembling free enterprise in that industry. The only reason anyone would come up with leaving a natural monopoly industry up to free enterprise and let "the companies run things" would be if you were trying to swindle an entire population. I would say that's what's being done. However, its disappointing to see someone advocating for it on a channel like this.

whatever
Jul 12, 2007, 11:06 AM
...but a 5 year exclusive contract is suck retarded. Steve must have gotten some good **** when he signed that deal.... he practically signed the iPhone's soul away.

I hope this reply is not back to back with my other replies, but...

AT&T has a 5 year contract with the product called the iPhone.

This does not prevent Apple from creating another communicator device down the road called iPod, that will have a similar feature set of the iPhone, but be an unlocked device.

Stuff like that happens all of the time.

ccrandall77
Jul 12, 2007, 11:06 AM
The U.S. telecommunication systems are totally messed up. CDMA sucks but they have a much larger EVDO network compared to AT&T's HSPDA network. There needs to be one network with super fast data network. Unfortunately that costs money and I don't think any of the huge corps are down for spending any of it.

How does CDMA suck? Voice quality is usually better and since it does soft handoffs between towers, it typically is less susceptible to dropping calls. The only things I dislike about CDMA is from what I gather you cannot do data and voice simultaneously and CDMA phones don't use SIMs so you can't own 2 or more phones that use a single line.

If I were Verizon or Sprint, I'd never consider switching over to HSDPA. WiMax is the future and Sprint is already working on implementing it. I would guess that eventually they could do voice and data over WiMax alone.

CJD2112
Jul 12, 2007, 11:09 AM
No it isn't. If you loose your phone your screwed.. PERIOD. Apple won't give you a new phone if you just lost it and told them that you lost it or if it were stolen. If Apple did do that then they wouldn't do it a second time. The Apple Care does sound nicer than most other AppleCare plans Apple has but it isn't anywhere near what Sprint offers for insurance on the Treo or other smartphones.

Sorry man.

If you're dumb enough to lose your phone, that's on you (and how do you know that loss isn't covered as they haven't even released the iPhone's plans?). However, when compared to the posters stating that Apple isn't offering any protection plans or insurance and they are, that is better than nothing. Aside from losing your phone, paying a one time fee of $69 and NO deductible IS better than $4.99 a month plus a deductible, and some insurance plans/company's don't cover water damage. :rolleyes:

mccldwll
Jul 12, 2007, 11:09 AM
Bottom line Apple will make more money long term than working just with AT&T then they would with everyone else, due to the revenue sharing they're getting on the service side of things.

If you're saying apple making more locked to at&t than would if unlocked is certainly unknown, and in all probability, flat out wrong.

Random Ping
Jul 12, 2007, 11:15 AM
It will be a long time until you see laws passed on this.

And I doubt the current President would sign it. However, just the fact that they are having these discussions at this level and it is getting the press coverage that it is will probably prod the wireless carriers to change their behavior somewhat.

If Apple is able to offer iChat and VOIP on the iPhone, it would surely signal a strong change by the carriers.

(Side note: The conventional wisdom is that Apple has a revenue sharing agreement with AT&T, so if Apple offers iChat and VOIP on the iPhone (thus cutting into voice minutes and SMS charges), then it might actually cost Apple revenue.)

mccldwll
Jul 12, 2007, 11:16 AM
AT&T has a 5 year contract with the product called the iPhone.

This does not prevent Apple from creating another communicator device down the road called iPod, that will have a similar feature set of the iPhone, but be an unlocked device.

Stuff like that happens all of the time.

First, the 5 year term has been tossed around a lot, but no specifics have been released so it's uncertain exactly to what extent and for how long, the exclusive relationship lasts. Second, you have absolutely no idea what the contract terms are and assuming that a contract with AT&T would just cover the "iPhone" is absurd. That's not how things work in the real corporate world.

CJD2112
Jul 12, 2007, 11:17 AM
um. no. free enterprise allows carriers to sign exclusive contracts. maybe other countries will allow laws to pass that tell companies they need to open their products but here in the US, that isnt how things work.

Unless it is a monopoly (which this isnt), they cannot tell Apple the product needs to work on all networks. Apple for example could create their own wireless service and make it exclusive to that. They are selling a product, they can limit it as much as they like. People do not need to buy it, nor do they need to use AT&T. There are plunty of other phones and plunty of other carriers out there. No part of this is a monopoly. Except for the fact that AT&T has a monopoly on the iPhone (but no more than any football team has on a player... it is called a contract). If you don't like it than move on, nothing to see here.

Explain how great capitalism is to the uninsured in the U.S. health care "system". Some times, capitalism is NOT a good thing.

Random Ping
Jul 12, 2007, 11:20 AM
How can Apple feel that they can make more money with an exclusive carrier of the iPhone.

One reason is that Apple struck a deal with AT&T to receive some of the monthly subscription fees. If Apple sold an unlocked phone that the customer could take to any carrier, then Apple wouldn't be able to tap the monthly subscription revenue stream.

applehero
Jul 12, 2007, 11:23 AM
I guess you don't understand what a natural monopoly is. Basically it implies you don't want to have free enterprise in that industry. It means you want to have nothing resembling free enterprise in that industry. The only reason anyone would come up with leaving a natural monopoly industry up to free enterprise and let "the companies run things" would be if you were trying to swindle an entire population. I would say that's what's being done. However, its disappointing to see someone advocating for it on a channel like this.

I understand perfectly, the problem is that this isn't a natural monopoly, it's a government created one. The original monopoly with AT&T was due to an original concept that everyone wanted and was marketed by brilliant business people who created a monopoly (not a natural monopoly). The government stepped in, broke it up, and tried to 'create' competition, not allow it. They enforced competition, not allowed it. What we have now is not a natural monopoly, we have a bunch of consumers who realized that the government screwed things up by breaking up at&t and now want the single network that they started out with.

Random Ping
Jul 12, 2007, 11:23 AM
I agree, but the rest of the capitalist world is enjoying a very good and vibrant cell phone market with options galore, and here in the US we are about three years behind in cell phone tech and business practices.

That would be the biggest argument against the current business policies. But a similar argument could be made with respect to the quality of broadband to the home -- the US is woefully inadequate compared to most of the industrialized world.

I think with respect to telecommunications, the US is a 2nd or 3rd tier country.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 11:29 AM
I understand perfectly, the problem is that this isn't a natural monopoly, it's a government created one. The original monopoly with AT&T was due to an original concept that everyone wanted and was marketed by brilliant business people who created a monopoly (not a natural monopoly). The government stepped in, broke it up, and tried to 'create' competition, not allow it. They enforced competition, not allowed it. What we have now is not a natural monopoly, we have a bunch of consumers who realized that the government screwed things up by breaking up at&t and now want the single network that they started out with.

As I said, you don't understand what a natural monopoly is. It's got nothing to do with AT&T's original monopoly. A natural monopoly is an industry where the provision of each additional product leads to a decline in the marginal and average cost of the product. In this case the marginal cost is virtually nothing. The average cost approaches zero in the limit.

The government didn't create those circumstances. It doesn't have amagic wand to wave to refactor the universe. Its just the nature of such industries.
The natural monopoly isn't a bad thing: its a blessing. The bad part is when the government and corporations use that good fortune to swindle the entire population.

[EDIT: And what people want is not government to step out of the way. They probably want both government and these big corporations to stop veiewing them as a bunch of chumps waiting to buy snake oil from them. They want an end to the collusion between government and uber-large corporations to screw the public. The claim that this is all governmen'ts fault (as in government in the abstract; as in all government) is an attempt by the players in this swindle to distract the public and displace the obvious blame from themselves]

Random Ping
Jul 12, 2007, 11:38 AM
This type of non-absolute thinking is completely irrational. By your logic, free speech (a good thing) is dangerous if not regulated, therefore, the government should start regulating speech occasionally.

There was an article in the New York Times yesterday (or was it WSJ?) about the dogma in economics like free trade is always good, or free markets will always resolve issues, and a small but growing minority of economists are starting to challenge this dogma.

An example I use when discussing this is acid rain. Economically the best choice for one state (say in the midwest) is to use high polluting coal to generate power. The problem is the polution falls on another state (say in the northeast) in the form of acid rain. In general, when one person receives a benefit but another person pays the cost, then free markets tend to lose their functionality.

Regarding free speech, it is regulated. For example, you cannot hide behind free speech when you strongly encourage others to commit violence (e.g., a mob boss cannot use free speech to get out from a murder charge when someone else (the hit-man) did the killing). Likewise, slander is not protected free speech.

EagerDragon
Jul 12, 2007, 11:44 AM
Apple is going to offer Apple Care Protection Plans for the iPhone later this month. I asked the Apple Store on 5th Ave where I purchased my iPhone and was told any one who purchased the iPhone will be able to buy the extended warranty plan, which has been rumored to extend coverage to water damage, for $69. I find this to be a much better deal than spending the typical $4.99/month for phone insurance that is currently offered by most mobile phone providers - not including the standard $50 deductible (a one time fee of $69 for three year coverage is a much better deal than $59.88 a year + a $50 deductible for a normal phone).

I heard Apple coverage was a single year and that it was not going to cover acts of wars, acts of God, accidents or stupidity (going swiming with the phone).

Hope your source is better than mine.

Random Ping
Jul 12, 2007, 11:48 AM
I bet apple is very much playing the same game, and possibly intentionally making it so not everyone can get one? part of a much grander scheme?

Steve Jobs scheming? Never! :eek: :D

If this were the case, my guess is that it is to help them build a solid core and experience with that core before expanding. Apple's announced goal for the iPhone in 2008 is something like 10 million phones, or just a very tiny percentage of the market. Jobs has also admitted that they expect that they still have a lot to learn.

But I am sure Apple wants to eventually have iPod-like dominance in the cellphone market -- or at least on the high-end, profitable segment of the market.

So maybe the strategy is: Establish a large enough segment where you can test your technologies, test your strategies, generate revenue for continued investment, and learn all the ins and outs of the market. Then in about 18-24 months break out of your core market by (1) selling unlocked phones, and (2) sell a wider range of phones to target more niches.

EagerDragon
Jul 12, 2007, 11:48 AM
It's no so much locked phones that are outlawed here, but rather selling a plan coupled to a phone (or vice versa) that is strictly illegal here. And that's not explicitly in a mobile phone law, it's just a general consumer-friendly law that buying something shouldn't oblige you in buying anything else.

Sounds like the law permits the sale of a phone that only works with a single carrier as long as you have to visit a different vendor to buy the contract.

EagerDragon
Jul 12, 2007, 11:57 AM
Well, whatever. Just pass a law that get's iPhone on Verizon and I'll be happy.

Don't hold your breath for long. This may take several years for the laws and they maybe ruled "not constitutional".

Someone is bound to pay off some polititians and it will draaaaaaagggggg.

Each an every carier in the US want to keep the phones locked. Expect a lot of lobying.

Then the two chanbers have to agree, then an effective date selected, and it will be taken to court as unconstitutional after all of that. Then wait 6 to 12 months for a ruling.

Hope I am wrong.

EagerDragon
Jul 12, 2007, 12:06 PM
This type of non-absolute thinking is completely irrational. By your logic, free speech (a good thing) is dangerous if not regulated, therefore, the government should start regulating speech occasionally.


I see your point but the goverment does regulate free speech. There are some things you can not say and if you incited someone to do something, you may find yourself in either criminal or civil court.

Along that line the a judge also tells you when to shut up and sit down or he sends you to jail.

EagerDragon
Jul 12, 2007, 12:09 PM
Freedom of religion- good, but for good measure, we should restrict the concept to include everything except Buddhism and certain flavors of Christianity.


Kool human sacrifice is allowed!!!!!!!!!!!!

Plutonius
Jul 12, 2007, 12:09 PM
Not really. The iPhone would make Apple stinking rich if they opened it up to better more capable service providers.

Give Apple some credit. They have teams of people crushing the numbers to find the best strategy for maximizing the iPhone profit.

I'm not saying that Apple could be wrong but they didn't choose AT&T and a locked phone on a whim.

pherplexed
Jul 12, 2007, 12:18 PM
No, you are completely wrong here.
Do you honestly believe that all of the major players want to be on equal footing with one another and just be a checkbox on iPhone activation screen?

No, they don't want to be just check boxes in iTunes, but it's better for consumers if they were. Apple had to chose a carrier to partner with and my guess is the 5 year exclusive deal was AT&T's doing -not apple's- in response to Apple's requests.

Anyone who thinks Apple would make more money sticking solely with AT&T and getting a percentage of contacts is crazy. They make their money from hardware sales...they always have. Why would Apple not want to sell the iPhone to all 125 Million cell phone users compared to only 62 Million AT&T subscribers (according to AT&T's website)?

So, again...the end goal of all of this that if the US had a unified cellular network like Europe then the consumer gets to choose their carrier based on customer service, price, and reliability. How is this not better for the customer? Likewise, if all the carriers support the same cellular network, how is this not good for cell phone manufacturers who want to build un-crippled phones??

NoNothing
Jul 12, 2007, 12:57 PM
Exceptional reply.

NoNothing

This type of non-absolute thinking is completely irrational. By your logic, free speech (a good thing) is dangerous if not regulated, therefore, the government should start regulating speech occasionally.

Property rights are good- so a concept like eminent domain is even better because it allows government to step on property rights by seizing private property.

Freedom of religion- good, but for good measure, we should restrict the concept to include everything except Buddhism and certain flavors of Christianity.

.
.
.

CJD2112
Jul 12, 2007, 12:59 PM
I heard Apple coverage was a single year and that it was not going to cover acts of wars, acts of God, accidents or stupidity (going swiming with the phone).

Hope your source is better than mine.

As it was an Apple Store Manager in the flagship 5th Ave Store, and as ATT has confirmed this via the phone when I had to call and alter my plan, I'd say my sources are fairly reliable, thanks. :)

blindzero
Jul 12, 2007, 01:13 PM
If you're dumb enough to lose your phone, that's on you (and how do you know that loss isn't covered as they haven't even released the iPhone's plans?). However, when compared to the posters stating that Apple isn't offering any protection plans or insurance and they are, that is better than nothing. Aside from losing your phone, paying a one time fee of $69 and NO deductible IS better than $4.99 a month plus a deductible, and some insurance plans/company's don't cover water damage. :rolleyes:

Agreed...Apple's option sounds better than any plan I had. I paid that 5 bucks a month and when I got my phone wet it was useless.


AT&T doesn't insure their smartphones period. I had a Cingular 8125 and they woudn't insure it either. There is a price point cutoff I think, or it's in how the phone is designated (smart phone or data phone etc). It's a HORRIBLE business decision on AT&T part. Not Apple's decision though and I imagine that's why they are coming up with their option- they feel it's unacceptable. Hopefully AT&T will change their mind as well.

cowbellallen
Jul 12, 2007, 01:31 PM
Sounds like a load of crap to me. Innovation is one of the things that keeps markets competitive.

CptnJustc
Jul 12, 2007, 02:16 PM
Sounds like a load of crap to me. Innovation is one of the things that keeps markets competitive.

Sure. But do these practices really promote innovation? Telling handset makers to disable features like Bluetooth modem use, PC file exchange, etc.? Locking users into proprietary networks for music and video files that they can't save and play back on their PCs?

I'm as pro-free market as anybody, but just because a corporation (or pair of corporations) wants to do something doesn't make it good for the consumer, let alone innovative. Every corporation, if it had its way, would be a monopoly with completely unfettered power to squeeze profits out of upstream and downstream companies.

Yes, the iPhone is a lovely gadget (I have one, and am so far very satisfied by it and my longtime carrier AT&T), but who's to say that, without these bundling practices, we wouldn't by now be flooded by Japanese-style 3G videoconferencing phones that can be waved over train turnstyles to instantly pay ticket fares, etc....

germ war
Jul 12, 2007, 02:35 PM
What were those hefty demands? Provide decent visual voicemail access for your customers? Provide decent data rates? Improve your Edge network? Provide nationwide service? Are these "hefty" demands. The fact that a phone producer had to push for these things is an indication of how corporatism is screwing customers and citizens alike. The fact that they might be considered "hefty" is an indication off how extreme the situation is.

Restructuring their voicemail system to meet Apple's wants, and giving Apple a portion of their contract income could be considered a "hefty demand", especially since, as far as I've read, AT&T isn't reaping any of the financial impact of the iPhone sales. What did AT&T get out of the deal? More contracts, basically, but with Apple taking a cut of that pie as well.

The reason the iPhone didn't appear on another network is because those networks would not pay to restructure their voicemail and allow Apple a share of the contract income. AT&T gave them the best deal, so they ran with it.

mccldwll
Jul 12, 2007, 02:44 PM
The reason the iPhone didn't appear on another network is because those networks would not pay to restructure their voicemail and allow Apple a share of the contract income. AT&T gave them the best deal, so they ran with it.


First part mere speculation, but since now with AT&T, probably a safe bet that it offered best deal.

sliaa
Jul 12, 2007, 02:49 PM
(1) Apple had approiached Verizon, and the others before it settled down with ATT. Verizon TURNED down the offer (so did the others), and ATT was the ony one willing to play.

(2) Hey business is business. Apple is starting this iphone business from 0. And it NEEDS to beg a phone carrier to begin with (so you get their full marketing/channel supports as the "exclusivity" is attractive to the carrier). Now that ATT is willing to play, I don't think ATT is stupid enough to say, "ok after 1 year of exclusivity, you Apple is free to sign with another carrier" ??

(3) It would be pointless for Apple to bundle the iPhone with a "all-in-one" radio chip that has CDMA + GSM (BlackBerry 8800 has one such chip or chips) and all carriers can use. It depends on if it makes sense in terms of cost, and power. GSM or CDMA only chip may be the best to go at this moment. And hope after 5 years, the chip will be dirt cheap and not power thirsty....

(4) Again, business is business. The rest of the world is dominated by GSM system. If Apple fabs iPhone with CDMA for US market, then it needs to swap and fab another sets with GSM chips for Europe and Asia markets, and it has to keep track how many units are for each markets and the inventory, etc. Why not having a single "standard" at the beginning, and worry about other models few years down the road ??

Just my 2 c.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 02:51 PM
Restructuring their voicemail system to meet Apple's wants, and giving Apple a portion of their contract income could be considered a "hefty demand", especially since, as far as I've read, AT&T isn't reaping any of the financial impact of the iPhone sales. What did AT&T get out of the deal? More contracts, basically, but with Apple taking a cut of that pie as well.

The reason the iPhone didn't appear on another network is because those networks would not pay to restructure their voicemail and allow Apple a share of the contract income. AT&T gave them the best deal, so they ran with it.

Oh, please. Restructure their voicemail?!? I wouldn't be surprised if Apple didn't want AT&T to let other phones use this visual voicemail until some time period has elapsed. I wouldn't be surprised if every other carrier and every other manufacturer isn't scrambling to implement this way too obvious of a feature. The work to implement this server-side had to be close to nil.

And Apple has already said they're not getting any contract fees. They may be sharing in the activation fee. They may be receiving a lump-sum per phone as a subsidy from AT&T, but those are not all that unusual nor hefty demands.

Also the zero marginal cost enters into this issue. 200 to 300 thousand new 2-year contracts for AT&T in the first week. That is not trivial. Those additional new customers cost AT&T close to $0, but pay $60 and up per month. Compare those benefits to what they're being asked to do.

My guess is that if the exclusive contract between AT&T and Apple was not allowed by law, they would have found another set of suitable terms and the iPhone may have been $100 more than it is today (but no 2-year contract required). Despite that I'm confident it would have still been a wild success. It probably would only mean AT&T and T-mobile (since I wouldn't expect legislation that would require Apple to produce phones for different network protocols).

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 02:56 PM
The reason the iPhone didn't appear on another network is because those networks would not pay to restructure their voicemail and allow Apple a share of the contract income. AT&T gave them the best deal, so they ran with it.

First part mere speculation, but since now with AT&T, probably a safe bet that it offered best deal.

Correction, the second part is mere speculation. Apple has said they are not receiving a share of the contract income. The first part is just plain wrong, since no one would have turned down the deal just because Apple wanted them to alter their voicmail server configuration slightly.

Apple may have gone with an exclusive to get a subsidy from the carrier. It could just be that Jobs likes to find himself among the big wigs (Disney, Pepsi) and never got over that from the lessons from hiring John Scully. Who knows?

Digital Skunk
Jul 12, 2007, 03:39 PM
I hope this reply is not back to back with my other replies, but...

AT&T has a 5 year contract with the product called the iPhone.

This does not prevent Apple from creating another communicator device down the road called iPod, that will have a similar feature set of the iPhone, but be an unlocked device.

Stuff like that happens all of the time.

I did think about that when the iPhone Nano rumors started being released. I hope that Apple either offers it up to other service companies, or has a pay as you go type service with Cingular.

If you're dumb enough to lose your phone, that's on you (and how do you know that loss isn't covered as they haven't even released the iPhone's plans?). However, when compared to the posters stating that Apple isn't offering any protection plans or insurance and they are, that is better than nothing. Aside from losing your phone, paying a one time fee of $69 and NO deductible IS better than $4.99 a month plus a deductible, and some insurance plans/company's don't cover water damage. :rolleyes:

Yeah.... but remeber people are dumb, especially when it comes to electronics, but there is no way someone can argue against an insurance plan for a $600. It works even after 8 years of service, even if you have never lost a phone. Insurance in general works the same exact way for everything... you pay a monthly fee then when something happens you pay a deductable. That deductable plus the cost of what you have paid every month is much lower than what you would have paid for a new phone, car repair, house, doctor's visit, casket for your dearly departed, etc.

On the other hand you may never ever need it, but it is good to know that if you do it will be there. Given the popularity of the iPhone I know there is some unlucky New York, Baltimore, Inner City kid getting it taken from him right now and he/she will have to pay full price for a new one.

That would be the biggest argument against the current business policies. But a similar argument could be made with respect to the quality of broadband to the home -- the US is woefully inadequate compared to most of the industrialized world.

I think with respect to telecommunications, the US is a 2nd or 3rd tier country.

I am glad that I no one is flaming here. Everyone is added viable, interesting conversations.... just wanted to point that out. I wouldn't go as far as saying that the US is inadequate compared to most of the industrialized world, but I will say that in regards to telecommunications it is heavily restricted by these laws and that the governing body (FCC) will most likely drag their feet to open it up to real competition instead of monopolistic practices. When African countries are on par with European/Asian countries and America is still bikering over which company gets this or that it's sad.

Why can't I just get whatever phone I like and then put the SIM card of the network provider inside and call it a day. Then Sprint/AT&T/T-Mobile/etc will have to offer us real service options to gain market share.

Give Apple some credit. They have teams of people crushing the numbers to find the best strategy for maximizing the iPhone profit.

I'm not saying that Apple could be wrong but they didn't choose AT&T and a locked phone on a whim.

I do understand the basics of what Apple had to do to get the iPhone to market, I knew that nothing good would come from the cell companies. I guess I am just wishing that the phone wasn't locked into a company that many people would be making big sacrifices to switch to. In time things will change and the iPhone will be on everyone's network, but hopefully Apple will do it before the other handset manufacturers catch up.

SidedCircle
Jul 12, 2007, 04:33 PM
I know this is a stupid thought but maybe Steve decided to go with AT&T for all the free calls they made back in college with Woz's Blue boxes? lol Just my 2 cents :)

sanford
Jul 12, 2007, 04:34 PM
This is called reality. Apple only allows Mac OS X to work on Apple's hardware. It is called reality. In reality people sign contracts, or legally binding agreements that allows this so called evil behavior. Look at the laws and read a book on capitalism or the free market. If you do not like it, leave reality.

This needs to be said, though I don't know why, and I'm loath to say it because it always makes devoted "capitalists" so angry, but: capitalism with rules is still capitalism. It's not, as popularly believed, some form of socialism or -- eek! -- communism. Capitalism with rules has free markets and the rules are intended to keep the markets free.

What's often called "pure capitalism" -- or "dog-eat-dog capitalism" -- doesn't have rules and supports the rights of any entity to do anything they wish -- save obviously criminal enterprise -- to make money. Contracts. Suspect advertising. Onerous fine print. Outright lying. Already, we don't practice this pure, unadulterated capitalism, because we have laws to protect consumers from some things. Anti-price-gouging laws are a good example. Pure capitalism says, You can charge any price you want for anything at any time; anti-price-gouging laws say, No, you can't and we'll put you in prison if you do.

Really, pure capitalism and pure communism have a lot in common. Simply put, pure communism says the workers own the means of production. But this doesn't really work on a grand scale. Too many workers. The workers have to have representatives. A government. The workers own the means of production but for expediency's sake, the representative government makes the rules and decisions about how the means of production are used. But government is made up of people, too, and people tend to want more than the other guy. So before long government gets the idea, Well, we already make all the decisions, let's just take over ownership of the means of production. So they do and all the utopian workers end up working for the government, and the benevolence of a government in total control of the economy rarely lasts longer than the year or two necessary to convince everyone to turn everything over to the government and it will all be mighty fine. Now the government controls the economy, the wage, the ability to survive, so they control everything. (Bear in mind, that's all quite simplified.)

Same with pure capitalism. Except in capitalism, the workers are usually not granted ownership of the means of production. The company owners -- which in most cases on the scale we're talking about are medium-to-large corporations -- own the means of production. Corporations public or private exist only to make money for shareholders. A good way to make lots of money for shareholders is to buy up all the competition. That's what we call monopoly. We have laws against that; it's tricky to become a monopoly and not get caught. AT&T was deemed a monopoly in the 1970s and split into competitive pieces. Now it seems like they're at it again, but it remains to be seen on what scale. There's another way to make lots of money for shareholders: lock your customers into long-term contracts so even if competition exists, they can't easily switch to it when it turns out your prices are too high and your service is terrible. To get the customers to do such a foolish thing corporations offer consideration to the customers for signing contracts -- like discounts, say, in the form of cell phone equipment subsidies. Now once you've got everyone used to signing contracts in exchange for discounts for everything from cell phone service to electrical power to groceries, you start to winnow the discounts away until they're gone. Now you're really making money: your customers are locked into contracts so you don't have to worry too much about them switching to the competition, and you didn't even have to give them anything to get them into the contracts. By corporate standards, that's great. Then what happens is the less aggressive, perhaps more ethical, competition goes out of business, so you have fewer corporations controlling more and more services until you have just a very few mammoth-scale corporations selling you everything, employing everyone, paying all the wages needed for survival and to buy their stuff. So now they control everything. There's still the government, but since they declined to make rules to control the operation of "free enterprise" back whenever it would have made a difference, corporations control the government, because it's the corporation that holds all the power and most of the money, not the workers who are now bound to do as the corporation wishes, and the government has to follow the money and power.

Pure communism self-destructs. We know this in theory and in practice, because we've seen it happen. In theory, pure capitalism self-destructs, too, but we've not really seen it happen. For one, it takes longer. And in America, the most prominent model of free enterprise for the longest time, we still have some rules to control capitalism. So it takes even longer. But the more corporations are allowed to arrange exclusive contracts on a large scale, the less competition, the less we are a free enterprise system. Ya'll remember Nash, don't you? Nobel Prize for Economics? Schizophrenic? Smart as hell? Richie Cunningham made a movie about him. Yeah, that Nash. His economic theory was greatly simplified in the movie, but the simplification serves. For a long, long time capitalists were operating under the theory that the best outcome in a free market capitalist system or group is if each participant does what is best for itself. Nash challenged this; instead, he proposed, and eventually proved through models, that the best outcome is, as it was put in the movie, each participant does what is best for itself *and* the group. This inherently involves compromise. You only do it if it's good for yourself *and* the free market economy as a whole. Great. Nobody listened. That "Happy Days" kid made an award-winning movie about him; still nobody listens. So we need rules -- we call them "laws" -- to promote and enforce the compromise necessary to keep our capitalist system afloat.

So when people say, That's not how we do things in America because it's not the capitalist way, the former argument is true, the latter is false. It's not, unfortunately, how we generally do things in America, but it is still a capitalist way. It's not socialism or communism or the road to either; it's just capitalism with rules established to ensure the indefinite survival of the capitalist free market.

Now ya'll who are prone to defend the restrictive actions of corporations under any circumstances because that is the capitalist way, have fun with that. But I will decline to respond because you are wrong.

EricNau
Jul 12, 2007, 05:02 PM
I think the main problem here isn't the "buy a phone from us, and you can only use it on our network" that's fair enough.
That's hardly fair. If I buy a phone from AT&T (either flat-out or earning it through a two year contract), then I have every right to use that phone with any compatible network.

heffeque
Jul 12, 2007, 05:40 PM
Verizon needs to do the CDMA EVDO to HSDPA upgrade. This kind of network changeover has successfully been done in South Korea and Australia. And...

Austria
Bahrain
Belgium
Bulgaria
Canada
Croatia
Denmark
Estonia
Egypt
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Kuwait
Lithuania
Malaysia
Malta
Netherlands
New Zealand
Portugal
Romania
Saudi Arabia
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
and the United Kingdom

the United States is one of the few countries in the world that doesn't have over 1 Mbps HDSPA speeds. Most countries are currently giving 3.6 Mbps speeds, some are giving 1.8 Mbps speeds and others 7.2 Mbps and more. The United States is giving 400/700 Kbps speeds with 1 Mbps peaks. Impressive, LOL!

And yes, it's some US bashing, but hey! These companies need a smack in the face for letting the US get so back behind so many countries. Darn it, even Bulgaria has better speeds than the US (sigh).

bigmc6000
Jul 12, 2007, 05:40 PM
Yes, the iPhone is a lovely gadget (I have one, and am so far very satisfied by it and my longtime carrier AT&T), but who's to say that, without these bundling practices, we wouldn't by now be flooded by Japanese-style 3G videoconferencing phones that can be waved over train turnstyles to instantly pay ticket fares, etc....

Just to comment on the Japanese-style 3G phones here. Those are driven by the market, not by innovation or by how cell phone companies here work. With the large amount of area that US companies have to cover, all the geographical problems they encounter, and all the people who don't want cell phone towers on their land I'm really not at all surprised that 3G isn't in a lot of places. Europe and Japan are case studies in and of their own. You can't even remotely compare them to the US. For one look at population density as a whole - while the US maybe have some huge cities that are massive huge chunks of land where it's 1 or 2 inhabitants per square mile.

Also, the whole swiping you phone to pay ticket fares, yeah, that's great and all but you think people stealing cell phones is bad now - try doing that in America - it'd instantly be the #1 crime. US companies don't bother with features like that because 1, they'd have to get the city to install something that would read the phone and 2 the extremely small demographic that would use it. It's just not worth the investment at this point. Maybe in 20 - 30 years but not now. I mean, heck, I live in the DFW area and there is no subway at all and this is a rather large metroplex. Even huge cities don't have subways - look at Houston, over 2 million people in the city - no subway...

My point is there are literally hundreds of reasons why we don't have japanese style cell phones and only a couple of them have anything to do with the cell phone companies...

heffeque
Jul 12, 2007, 05:43 PM
With the large amount of area that US companies have to cover, all the geographical problems they encounter, and all the people who don't want cell phone towers on their land I'm really not at all surprised that 3G isn't in a lot of places. Europe and Japan are case studies in and of their own.
What about Australia then?

bigmc6000
Jul 12, 2007, 05:44 PM
That's hardly fair. If I buy a phone from AT&T (either flat-out or earning it through a two year contract), then I have every right to use that phone with any compatible network.

See - there's that word again. "Right" I swear... Please, please, please point out to me where it's defined as your "right" to use that phone with any compatible network.

greenwrangler
Jul 12, 2007, 05:45 PM
Hear hear... I admire your passion. This needs to be said and said often to remind the ultra-righties that we still live in a society composed of humans and not just of corporations, and that society is what makes these corporations exist and prosper and not the other way round.

This needs to be said, though I don't know why, and I'm loath to say it because it always makes devoted "capitalists" so angry, but: capitalism with rules is still capitalism. It's not, as popularly believed, some form of socialism or -- eek! -- communism. Capitalism with rules has free markets and the rules are intended to keep the markets free.

What's often called "pure capitalism" -- or "dog-eat-dog capitalism" -- doesn't have rules and supports the rights of any entity to do anything they wish -- save obviously criminal enterprise -- to make money. Contracts. Suspect advertising. Onerous fine print. Outright lying. Already, we don't practice this pure, unadulterated capitalism, because we have laws to protect consumers from some things. Anti-price-gouging laws are a good example. Pure capitalism says, You can charge any price you want for anything at any time; anti-price-gouging laws say, No, you can't and we'll put you in prison if you do.

Really, pure capitalism and pure communism have a lot in common. Simply put, pure communism says the workers own the means of production. But this doesn't really work on a grand scale. Too many workers. The workers have to have representatives. A government. The workers own the means of production but for expediency's sake, the representative government makes the rules and decisions about how the means of production are used. But government is made up of people, too, and people tend to want more than the other guy. So before long government gets the idea, Well, we already make all the decisions, let's just take over ownership of the means of production. So they do and all the utopian workers end up working for the government, and the benevolence of a government in total control of the economy rarely lasts longer than the year or two necessary to convince everyone to turn everything over to the government and it will all be mighty fine. Now the government controls the economy, the wage, the ability to survive, so they control everything. (Bear in mind, that's all quite simplified.)

Same with pure capitalism. Except in capitalism, the workers are usually not granted ownership of the means of production. The company owners -- which in most cases on the scale we're talking about are medium-to-large corporations -- own the means of production. Corporations public or private exist only to make money for shareholders. A good way to make lots of money for shareholders is to buy up all the competition. That's what we call monopoly. We have laws against that; it's tricky to become a monopoly and not get caught. AT&T was deemed a monopoly in the 1970s and split into competitive pieces. Now it seems like they're at it again, but it remains to be seen on what scale. There's another way to make lots of money for shareholders: lock your customers into long-term contracts so even if competition exists, they can't easily switch to it when it turns out your prices are too high and your service is terrible. To get the customers to do such a foolish thing corporations offer consideration to the customers for signing contracts -- like discounts, say, in the form of cell phone equipment subsidies. Now once you've got everyone used to signing contracts in exchange for discounts for everything from cell phone service to electrical power to groceries, you start to winnow the discounts away until they're gone. Now you're really making money: your customers are locked into contracts so you don't have to worry too much about them switching to the competition, and you didn't even have to give them anything to get them into the contracts. By corporate standards, that's great. Then what happens is the less aggressive, perhaps more ethical, competition goes out of business, so you have fewer corporations controlling more and more services until you have just a very few mammoth-scale corporations selling you everything, employing everyone, paying all the wages needed for survival and to buy their stuff. So now they control everything. There's still the government, but since they declined to make rules to control the operation of "free enterprise" back whenever it would have made a difference, corporations control the government, because it's the corporation that holds all the power and most of the money, not the workers who are now bound to do as the corporation wishes, and the government has to follow the money and power.

Pure communism self-destructs. We know this in theory and in practice, because we've seen it happen. In theory, pure capitalism self-destructs, too, but we've not really seen it happen. For one, it takes longer. And in America, the most prominent model of free enterprise for the longest time, we still have some rules to control capitalism. So it takes even longer. But the more corporations are allowed to arrange exclusive contracts on a large scale, the less competition, the less we are a free enterprise system. Ya'll remember Nash, don't you? Nobel Prize for Economics? Schizophrenic? Smart as hell? Richie Cunningham made a movie about him. Yeah, that Nash. His economic theory was greatly simplified in the movie, but the simplification serves. For a long, long time capitalists were operating under the theory that the best outcome in a free market capitalist system or group is if each participant does what is best for itself. Nash challenged this; instead, he proposed, and eventually proved through models, that the best outcome is, as it was put in the movie, each participant does what is best for itself *and* the group. This inherently involves compromise. You only do it if it's good for yourself *and* the free market economy as a whole. Great. Nobody listened. That "Happy Days" kid made an award-winning movie about him; still nobody listens. So we need rules -- we call them "laws" -- to promote and enforce the compromise necessary to keep our capitalist system afloat.

So when people say, That's not how we do things in America because it's not the capitalist way, the former argument is true, the latter is false. It's not, unfortunately, how we generally do things in America, but it is still a capitalist way. It's not socialism or communism or the road to either; it's just capitalism with rules established to ensure the indefinite survival of the capitalist free market.

Now ya'll who are prone to defend the restrictive actions of corporations under any circumstances because that is the capitalist way, have fun with that. But I will decline to respond because you are wrong.

bigmc6000
Jul 12, 2007, 05:50 PM
What about Australia then?

What about it? Colorado alone has 54 peaks over 14,000 feet. I'm assuming you're talking about mountains???

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 05:55 PM
... .

I agree with al ot of what you're saying. However, I think its a bit of a fiction to talk about pure capitalsm and pure communism.
Most of what you're talking about here are just variations on capitalsm: whether the means of production are owned by the corporations, the state or the workers. This bizarre fantasy of a pure capitalism without regulation is just <em>pure</em> fiction. Regulation is what makes capitalism possible. Private property itself require regulations, laws, policing, etc, just to make sure the person who claims title to some piece of property retains title to that piece of property. To illustrate this point, when you said:

... .What's often called "pure capitalism" -- or "dog-eat-dog capitalism" -- doesn't have rules and supports the rights of any entity to do anything they wish -- save obviously criminal enterprise -- to make money.

"Save obviously criminal enterprise"? There cannot be a criminal enterprise if their are no laws. You cannot break a law without a law. Without laws its simply everyone for themselves. Title to your "property" is a creation of yourself and the enforcement of your rights to that property is your own full-time endeavor.

I'll say thius again, because it keeps getting lost in this discussion: the application of these "free market principles" to the case of a natural monopoly industry is a misapplication of those principles. There isn't a sane economic theory out there that you can turn to to defend that. Its pure dogma. Nothing is gained in efficiency by assigning a few corporations to divide the spoils of such a public swindle. Any city block in this country needs at most 1 wireless phone network. Creating instead 3 or 4 or 6 or 10 wireless networks for each city block does not make things efficient. It doesn't make things competitive, unless by competitive you're just referring to the sport of ripping off customers and citizens. There's nothing free about it since every customer must now pay 3x or 4x or 6x of 10x per month what they would otherwise pay just to cover the costs of these duplicate networks (before even tacking on the oligopolistic profits for these swindlers). You don't get the advantage of choosing among competitors based on price, service or reliability because the choices of a less reliable, pricier service have been foisted upon you (or that choice has been emptied of all meaning in any event).

Natural monopoly industries create what economists call a public good. Its cost (marginal anyway) is zero (its like the interstate highway system). Its not non-excludable like other public goods (i.e., you can stop someone from using the network or you can place a tollgate on the interstate), however, it is largely non-rival in consumption (when I use the network it doesn't stop someone else from using the network except when it hits peak capacity)

By mainstream economic theory (you don't have to look to Nash) these monopolistic industries, these public goods are rightly issues of public policy. They do not belong in the hands of private corporations. Some economists would say the non-rival in consumption property means they should be free for the most efficient allocation of resources (like most of the interstate highway system). However, even the price of admission is an issue of public policy. The question of how much profit you want the monopolist who runs it to make is an issue of public policy (personally I'm in favor of $0).

Once the monopolistic indsutry public good has been provisioned by public policy, there's nothing to stop competitive enterprises from providing value-added services to the public good (tow trucks on the interstate highways system or public lobbyists to get a 10G network or the profits reduced to 0$). Other firms might sell internet communication devices (iPhones) in a competitive market for use on the public network (like selling automobiles for use on the public Interstate system). Other firms could provide voice-over-IP service over this network in a competitive manner. If you didn't like the way you were treated by the monopoly enterprise selected by public policy to run the natural monopoly, other enterprises could start their own customer service service for the network. They could be cold and uncaring just like we're used to with AT&T, Cingular, Verizon, SprintPCS, etc. You'd be free to pay a little extra for more or less abusive customer service.

Unlike a wireless cellular phone network, none of those things are natural monopolist industries. None of them are public goods in any way. Go ahead and celebrate the "free market" in those industries if you want, but just understand it has no justifiable place in the area of natural monopoly industries. We're being swindled by this dogma. That's the only reason this dogma exists: to swindle us. So please, please, please stop repeating it.

heffeque
Jul 12, 2007, 06:07 PM
What about it? Colorado alone has 54 peaks over 14,000 feet. I'm assuming you're talking about mountains???
If I referring to mountains why would I compare the US to a country with no mountains? I would compare it to Switzerland instead, don't you think? ;-)

bigmc6000
Jul 12, 2007, 06:18 PM
If I referring to mountains why would I compare the US to a country with no mountains? I would compare it to Switzerland instead, don't you think? ;-)

Yeah - that's why I was really confused. I honestly have no idea what you were trying to point out...

heffeque
Jul 12, 2007, 06:19 PM
Yeah - that's why I was really confused. I honestly have no idea what you were trying to point out...
THIS (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=3911261&postcount=142) is what I'm trying to point out.

bigmc6000
Jul 12, 2007, 06:22 PM
THIS (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=3911261&postcount=142) is what I'm trying to point out.

And I gave you a full list of reasons why the US is absolutely nothing like any other country. The closest thing would be Russia or China geographically speaking and coincidentally enough neither of those countries show up on that list... :)

SeaFox
Jul 12, 2007, 06:23 PM
Agree. There's a good reason for the exclusivity here. apple needed a network to commit to allowing certain features, like visual voicemail.
Can you name any features besides Visual Voicemail that require "network upgrades". A single feature that most people could care less about is not a good reason for exclusivity. Also, you're wrong. Apple doesn't need anyone to "commit" to upgrades to allow the iPhone on them. It's simply a matter of those features not working. Google maps? It knows where you are by tower triangulation, same thing as 911 uses to attempt to locate you for the past 5 years (before more phones had GPS). Email? Lots of phones do IMAP email. Yahoo's Push Mail may be nothing more than IMAP with IDLE mode support. Even if it is something more, this company called RIM has been doing it for awhile, you might have heard of them. Really, where is this long list of features that make the iPhone experience worthwhile, and can't be easily duplicated by any network.

If apple just started selling its phone, why would any of the carriers make it work with its network any more than a basic data device?
Apple can release the iPhone unlocked and sell it on their own. Make the network changes and protocols free information, and let the "free market" do the rest. Customers will pressure their carrier to support the feature, carriers will upgrade to please customers or risk losing them to ones that do support the feature if its that important.

I'm sure Apple evaluated selling the phone without a network/carrier tie-in, and decided that to make it work right, they needed to work with one cell provider.
No, I think Apple got fooled in this case. Apple approached the carriers, and the carriers all probably said that if Apple didn't get a tie-in with a provider, their product would be doomed due to lack of public exposure. It was stupid. Apple has better brand recognition than most of the carriers themselves according to NPD, especially when Cingular can't decide what it wants its name to be.

They could certainly roll the product out in Europe, but again they want to make sure that vodaphone or t-mobile or whoever will provide adequate support. Only wait to ensure that is to grant exclusivity.
The monthly fees their cutomer's pay is the bread and butter for wireless carrier's balance sheets, not agreements with cell phone companies. Support would be demanded by customers, and if someone else offered it, people might go to them, as I said earlier.

Ah yes, but I can 'drive' my iphone anywhere there are wireless 'roads'.
As long as these roads are made by AT&T. That's like only being able to drive your car on roads certified by Goodyear. And then if you want to drive on a BFGoodrich road you have to call Goodyear and graciously ask permission to take the tires off your own car to put BFGoodrich ones on. They'll agree as long as you pay them $175.

Bottom line Apple will make more money long term than working just with AT&T then they would with everyone else, due to the revenue sharing they're getting on the service side of things.

One reason is that Apple struck a deal with AT&T to receive some of the monthly subscription fees. If Apple sold an unlocked phone that the customer could take to any carrier, then Apple wouldn't be able to tap the monthly subscription revenue stream.

Please site a source showing Apple is getting money on monthly service fees from customers with iPhones. This is pruely conjecture based on a rumor from awhile back as far as I've seen.

heffeque
Jul 12, 2007, 06:28 PM
And I gave you a full list of reasons why the US is absolutely nothing like any other country. The closest thing would be Russia or China geographically speaking and coincidentally enough neither of those countries show up on that list... :) And what about Canada? And are you saying that it's easier for Bulgarians (4.7 less GDP PPP $ per cápita than the US) to deploy an HSDPA network that in the States? You've got to be kidding me.

To fix a problem first you have to admit you have one. To blame it almost exclusively on the geography is pretty blind IMO.

Even Bulgaria has a better HSDPA network than the US. Something is going REALLY wrong in the States and it has to be corrected.

bigmc6000
Jul 12, 2007, 06:36 PM
And what about Canada? And are you saying that it's easier for Bulgarians (4.7 less GDP PPP $ per cápita than the US) to deploy an HSDPA network that in the States? You've got to be kidding me.

To fix a problem first you have to admit you have one. To blame it almost exclusively on the geography is pretty blind IMO.

Even Bulgaria has a better HSDPA network than the US. Something is going REALLY wrong in the States and it has to be corrected.

Now you really really really have to be kidding me. You're comparing a country (Bulgaria) the size of, oh, Nevada to the entire US? I never said it was solely geographical. I said the US market doesn't dictate a requirement for 3G service everywhere...
The overwhelming majority of Americans don't give a crap about having 3G service on their phone - if they did we'd have it by now because, as many people on here have pointed out, the customers would have spoken. Most Americans just don't have the need or desire to pay extra to get broadband internet in their pocket...

If you consider not being a tethered to the internet every second of everyday a "problem" then ok, in your eyes, we've got a problem. But most Americans don't see it that way...

Oh and the Canada thing... check this site for how expansive that HSDPA network is...
http://www.shoprogers.com/store/wireless/coverage/info.asp

AtHomeBoy_2000
Jul 12, 2007, 06:41 PM
Verizon needs to do the CDMA EVDO to HSDPA upgrade. This kind of network changeover has successfully been done in South Korea and Australia.

but.... but.... that costs money and that means... less profits. NOOO!!!!! ;)

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 06:43 PM
If you consider not being a tethered to the internet every second of everyday a "problem" then ok, in your eyes, we've got a problem. But most Americans don't see it that way...

Most Americans don't see it that way because most Americans see it as:

<HomerSimpsonVoice>We're number 1, we're number 1 </HomerSimpsonVoice>.

Most Americans don't know how we're being short-changed.

bigmc6000
Jul 12, 2007, 06:46 PM
Most Americans don't see it that way because most Americans see it as:

<HomerSimpsonVoice>We're number 1, we're number 1 </HomerSimpsonVoice>. Most Americans don't know how we're being short-changed.

Still missing the point - most Americans DON'T CARE! It's like, umm, Curling for example. Do some Americans really really care if the US if #1? Of course, do most? Umm, no, most don't even give a crap.

Ok, well maybe not Curling but it's probably closer to a soccer comparison. There's a fair number of soccer fans in the US but they are still a very small % and thus most Americans just don't care, win or lose, about the US soccer team...

arn
Jul 12, 2007, 06:47 PM
Please site a source showing Apple is getting money on monthly service fees from customers with iPhones. This is pruely conjecture based on a rumor from awhile back as far as I've seen.

You're not going to get anything definitive, but it seems pretty likely

http://gigaom.com/2007/05/07/att-iphone-is-key-for-mobile-rebranding/#comments
UBS also says that the “revenue share with Apple could be a more meaningful portion of monthly ARPU than we previously thought,” which would be a concern for AT&T if a lot of iPhone buyers are already existing customers.


http://www.macrumors.com/2007/01/29/verizon-rejected-iphone-deal-due-to-apples-terms/
According to the article, Apple wanted "a percentage of the monthly cellphone fees, say over how and where iPhones could be sold and control of the relationship with iPhone customers."

EricNau
Jul 12, 2007, 06:48 PM
See - there's that word again. "Right" I swear... Please, please, please point out to me where it's defined as your "right" to use that phone with any compatible network.
Would you care to tell me why I shouldn't be able to use my phone with any compatible network?

heffeque
Jul 12, 2007, 06:50 PM
You're comparing a country (Bulgaria) the size of, oh, Nevada to the entire US?

*Size and dispersion -> ( Canada ~ US ) -> Canada has a better HSDPA network

*Population density -> ( Australia <<< US ) -> Australia has barely 6.7 people per square mile vs 80 in the US and still Australia has a better HSDPA network

*Money -> ( Bulgaria <<< US ) -> Bulgaria has almost 5 times less money than the States and yet it has a better HSDPA network than the US

I'm not too sure I can think of any more clearer examples of why your excuses are so poor. What's wrong with the Canada vs US example? Can you explain it to me? I'm still confused about what is it that you still can't see.

If you consider not being a tethered to the internet every second of everyday a "problem" then ok, in your eyes, we've got a problem. But most Americans don't see it that way...

Ok, ok... I get it... people in the US don't want broadband anymore. I'd never think of it that way taking into consideration that there's a lot of people demanding better speeds. Must be a loud minority.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 06:53 PM
You're not going to get anything definitive, but it seems pretty likely

http://gigaom.com/2007/05/07/att-iphone-is-key-for-mobile-rebranding/#comments


http://www.macrumors.com/2007/01/29/verizon-rejected-iphone-deal-due-to-apples-terms/

However, those are reports from the service providers that didn't get the deal. Apple may have come in with a laundry list of what they wanted, but likely didn't get everything. Then Verizon and others tout the most absurd requests to save face with their share-holders.

bigmc6000
Jul 12, 2007, 06:53 PM
Would you care to tell me why I shouldn't be able to use my phone with any compatible network?

'Cause you signed a contract. Too bad, so sad. This idea of "right" is entirely out of hand. I'm assuming you live in the US - it's no where in any gov't documents saying you have a 'right' to take your phone elsewhere.

Now, does that mean you shouldn't be able to? No, it kinda stinks, you're correct. However, that doesn't mean it's a "Right." Unless it's guaranteed to you in some official document you're still in privilege land...

heffeque
Jul 12, 2007, 06:57 PM
Oh and the Canada thing... check this site for how expansive that HSDPA network is...
http://www.shoprogers.com/store/wireless/coverage/info.asp
Hmm... seems that Canada is almost as bad as the US. My bad then. You're right on that one.

EricNau
Jul 12, 2007, 06:58 PM
'Cause you signed a contract. Too bad, so sad. This idea of "right" is entirely out of hand. I'm assuming you live in the US - it's no where in any gov't documents saying you have a 'right' to take your phone elsewhere.

Now, does that mean you shouldn't be able to? No, it kinda stinks, you're correct. However, that doesn't mean it's a "Right." Unless it's guaranteed to you in some official document you're still in privilege land...
Actually, it does. "Right" in the form it's being used here, is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as, "a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way."

As you already pointed out, morally I should be able to use my phone with any technically compatible network I choose.

Really, we're in agreement here. :)

bigmc6000
Jul 12, 2007, 07:14 PM
*Size and dispersion -> ( Canada ~ US ) -> Canada has a better HSDPA network

*Population density -> ( Australia <<< US ) -> Australia has barely 6.7 people per square mile vs 80 in the US and still Australia has a better HSDPA network

*Money -> ( Bulgaria <<< US ) -> Bulgaria has almost 5 times less money than the States and yet it has a better HSDPA network than the US

I'm not too sure I can think of any more clearer examples of why your excuses are so poor. What's wrong with the Canada vs US example? Can you explain it to me? I'm still confused about what is it that you still can't see.



Ok, ok... I get it... people in the US don't want broadband anymore. I'd never think of it that way taking into consideration that there's a lot of people demanding better speeds. Must be a loud minority.

See the link to Rogers HSDPA coverage - it's 1 freaking city!!! 1! Wow, that's amazing, that's such an awesome network. We like broadband at home - you're trying to take my point out of context in hopes of making a point - not gonna work... Stick to talking about phones, and yes, whiny rich people are a very loud minority, you surely know that.

Upgrading all those towers to HSDPA costs money and, I'm assuming you're aware of this, the HSDPA networks in most all of those countries are multinational corporations so comparing the money of 1 country to another is pretty pointless.

As for Australia - the truth, and the lies, are in the numbers. The US has chunks the size of countries where the average population density is 3 at best... Those massive huge cities throw the whole thing off kilter - ya know, the whole average vs median thing... That's even very evident in Australia where 81% of the population live in/around Adelaide.

The US has more people in 3G coverage areas than the entire population of Australia - just to point that out.

heffeque
Jul 12, 2007, 07:19 PM
See the link to Rogers HSDPA coverage - it's 1 freaking city!!! 1! Here (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=3911608&postcount=164) ;-)

Upgrading all those towers to HSDPA costs money and, I'm assuming you're aware of this, the HSDPA networks in most all of those countries are multinational corporations so comparing the money of 1 country to another is pretty pointless.
Yes, Bulgarians get the HSDPA towers for free ;-)

As for Australia - the truth, and the lies, are in the numbers. The US has chunks the size of countries where the average population density is 3 at best... Those massive huge cities throw the whole thing off kilter - ya know, the whole average vs median thing... That's even very evident in Australia where 81% of the population live in/around Adelaide.
The US doesn't even have high speed wireless access on big cities so there's no point on expecting it on some Texas desert either.

The US has more people in 3G coverage areas than the entire population of Australia - just to point that out. How many? Just out of curiosity.

mccldwll
Jul 12, 2007, 07:22 PM
However, those are reports from the service providers that didn't get the deal. Apple may have come in with a laundry list of what they wanted, but likely didn't get everything. Then Verizon and others tout the most absurd requests to save face with their share-holders.

Right. Everyone, especially analysts from various firms trying to spin the story to their advantage, speaks about the terms "according to reliable sources", "insiders" etc., etc.. They don't know. It's not public. Total bulls**t. Obviously it was a complicated deal involving AT&T upgrades, and Apple's continuing duty to support/upgrade it. Revenue sharing, IF ANY, could simply be payment for its support/upgrade obligation, which also benefits AT&T. Bottom line is those who actually know the terms ain't talkin'.

bigmc6000
Jul 12, 2007, 07:29 PM
Here (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=3911608&postcount=164) ;-)


Yes, Bulgarians get the HSDPA towers for free ;-)


The US doesn't even have high speed wireless access on big cities so there's no point on expecting it on some Texas desert either.

How many? Just out of curiosity.

I'm not saying Bulgarians got HSDPA for free but they also are near a whole continent that loves their 3G - so they had 3G envy ;)

I'm leaving shortly so I haven't had a shot to add up these cities or find a freakin number - worthless google...
http://www.wireless.att.com/coverageviewer/

but if you click on "select cities" those numbers add up really really quick...

ccrandall77
Jul 12, 2007, 07:53 PM
And...

Austria
Bahrain
Belgium
Bulgaria
Canada
Croatia
Denmark
Estonia
Egypt
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Kuwait
Lithuania
Malaysia
Malta
Netherlands
New Zealand
Portugal
Romania
Saudi Arabia
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
and the United Kingdom

the United States is one of the few countries in the world that doesn't have over 1 Mbps HDSPA speeds. Most countries are currently giving 3.6 Mbps speeds, some are giving 1.8 Mbps speeds and others 7.2 Mbps and more. The United States is giving 400/700 Kbps speeds with 1 Mbps peaks. Impressive, LOL!

And yes, it's some US bashing, but hey! These companies need a smack in the face for letting the US get so back behind so many countries. Darn it, even Bulgaria has better speeds than the US (sigh).

Uh, all those countries had CDMA EVDO networks? I was pretty positive that most, if not all, countries on that list have been nearly 100% on GSM for the past several years... so if they had CDMA, it was in the pre-EVDO days. I could be wrong here, but assuming I'm not, perhaps that explains why HSDPA is not that prevalent in the US. That's an awful lot of CDMA-EVDO infrastructure that works just fine to replace. It probably doesn't make any sense to spend the money. In a smaller country such as S. Korea and Australia, it might not be as cost prohibitive.

Besides, WiMax is the future... why switch to GSM-HSDPA?? I'm glad Sprint figured this out and I'm anxiously awaiting them to implement it in my area.

heffeque
Jul 12, 2007, 07:57 PM
Uh, all those countries had CDMA EVDO networks? I was pretty positive that most, if not all, countries on that list have been nearly 100% on GSM for the past several years... GPRS several years ago, UMTS some years ago, and now HDSPA for a year or so. All GSM, yes.

sanford
Jul 12, 2007, 08:06 PM
greenwrangler, thanks. That was a heartening response to a post I almost deleted before I posted it because I didn't want to take the abuse I expected directly forthcoming.

By mainstream economic theory (you don't have to look to Nash) these monopolistic industries, these public goods are rightly issues of public policy. They do not belong in the hands of private corporations. Some economists would say the non-rival in consumption property means they should be free for the most efficient allocation of resources (like most of the interstate highway system). However, even the price of admission is an issue of public policy. The question of how much profit you want the monopolist who runs it to make is an issue of public policy (personally I'm in favor of $0).

And rob, too. Thanks for the additional insights. I think you're right: you and I likely do agree on most points. I understand what you're getting at, that all flavors of economic systems are essentially just variations on capitalism -- that is, making things or performing services, and selling or bartering them. But I would still make some of the traditional distinctions, like communism requiring ownership of the means of production by the workers, whereas capitalism in most scenarios this is not the case. I also still stand by my declaration that any of these economic systems left mostly unchecked will eventually self-destruct, including the kind of capitalism we practice in the States.

I've got two little boys going wild before bedtime right now, so I don't really have time to give your post the discussion it deserves. But if you're saying that the mobile phone carrier network -- the towers, the voice and data service, etc. -- should be run by a single socialized entity -- essentially, the government -- or an assigned private party that is self-supporting only and makes no profit, rather than by a few or many competing private for-profit corporations, I wholeheartedly agree. Of course in the States we already do this with some public goods, like fire and police departments, the free public education system, etc., but for some reason the concept of telecommunications as a public good doesn't get through to majority of the American public, so we pay through the nose for the warm, cozy feeling of a "free market" with no benefits and often problems for the customer, when we'd pay about the same for the same services under a public-good or natural monopoly plan -- provided we didn't let a largely unmonitored, unregulated for-profit corporation run it. I get you there, too.

And if by asking me to stop repeating the dogma, you're asking me to quit pretending even under a "fairer" system with strict consumer-friendly regulations and proper enforcement of these regulations, services like mobile phone networks belong in the hands of for-profit private corporations because they do not belong in these hands, I agree on that point as well. But I hedged in my previous post. I don't think that I would typically hedge as I'm opposed to lily gilding and quite usually rather boldly state my mind, but I've taken a serious beating over the last ten days for my concerns over the impropriety of the way in which Apple sells the iPhone and AT&T provides service for it -- these particular issues of contracts, no subsidies, termination fees, etc., should be familiar to most people following the issue by now. I've been slighted, maligned, called various names, profane and merely condescending, for even daring to question the iPhone and its service arrangement. So, I hedged because I'm weary of being "yelled at" this week.

As an aside, I pointed to Nash chiefly because, in his signature economic theory, I find delightful beauty in the notion that in a system long believed to greatly favor the highly aggressive, most selfish participant it turned up that the greatest benefit to the system would actually be compromise between human beings.

Sorry I don't have time at the moment to address all your comments in detail. Thanks for the considered response.

ccrandall77
Jul 12, 2007, 08:17 PM
GPRS several years ago, UMTS some years ago, and now HDSPA for a year or so. All GSM, yes.

OK, then I'm confused. You quoted a previous poster who was talking about S. Korea and Australia switching from CDMA-EVDO to HSDPA and then listed all those other countries which I guess did not make that conversion.

I would agree with bigmc6000. It is most likely not cost effective for Verizon, Sprint/Nextel, etc. to convert their infrastructure. That's a lot of infrastructure covering an area roughly equivalent to all of Europe and serving over +80-90million customers to switch over... and they would probably need to maintain their existing CDMA-EVDO infrastructure for a time to allow people to continue to use their current equipment (like Cingular did with their TDMA and GSM networks). That's different than the situation in Europe where the countries have been able to evolve from GPRS to EDGE to UTMS to HSDPA.

And IMO most people here in the US really don't care about high-speed data (not me, but I'm a geek). If it was available that would be great, but there aren't legions of people beating down the doors of the cell carriers asking for high-speed 3.5G data service.

As I mentioned earlier, I think WiMax is a better path to go down than HSDPA and I'm hoping the cell carriers here all adopt it. As I understand, it should be able to handle both the data and voice services and I would think would eventually lead to a VoIP-style cell service. I'm just speculating here on the limited information I know about WiMax.

applehero
Jul 12, 2007, 08:19 PM
...

Right or wrong, you are using a poor analogy. The Interstate highway system is a government owned and maintained system funded by our taxes, the telecommunications network, at least 90% anyway, was built by AT&T and funded by investments and customer revenues.

Had the government not stepped in and broke up AT&T, your argument would not exist. While the telecommunications industry, as it stands today, may be considered a natural monopoly, it is only that way because the government stepped in and created this 'false competition.' I don't consider it true competition because AT&T was forced to lease network at a discounted rate and CLEC's were forced to offer service at a discounted rate while AT&T was not allowed to offer its customers discounts of any kind and were forced to take priority over the CLEC's customers over their own. That sure doesn't sound like competition to me.

Even to this day, with AT&T acquiring former RBOC's to, as some say, 're-assemble' the old AT&T, the government is still regulating the operational aspects of their day to day business. They may share the same stock, but they also are forced to continue to operate independently. You don't have that same interference with Verizon and Qwest, why do you think that is...it's because everyone knows if AT&T had the landline presence is the Northeast and the Rockies that customers would slowly start migrating back to AT&T and put Verizon and Qwest out of business. Telecommunications as an industry is not a natural monopoly, but AT&T is. Wherever they have a presence, they dominate the market by the consumers choice.

Granted, we are only talking about 1 band here, and it's a new band for everyone, but that's how it all starts. I think within 10 years, we'll being hearing the monopoly talk starting again.

applehero
Jul 12, 2007, 08:35 PM
*Size and dispersion -> ( Canada ~ US ) -> Canada has a better HSDPA network

*Population density -> ( Australia <<< US ) -> Australia has barely 6.7 people per square mile vs 80 in the US and still Australia has a better HSDPA network

*Money -> ( Bulgaria <<< US ) -> Bulgaria has almost 5 times less money than the States and yet it has a better HSDPA network than the US


I am curious to know who owns and is building these networks, how they are paid for, and how many different companies compete over the territories. Do these other countries have entities like the FCC that tend to work against corporations instead of with them?

Unless I'm mistaken, AT&T is the only company building HSDPA is the US. I'm assuming T-Mobile will have the ability as well since they use AT&T's network (even though they have their own towers, still AT&T's network.) The US may have more money and more people per square mile, the geographical differences are way beyond Australia and Bulgaria. More land to cover, longer waits for technology upgrades.

applehero
Jul 12, 2007, 08:48 PM
...But if you're saying that the mobile phone carrier network -- the towers, the voice and data service, etc. -- should be run by a single socialized entity -- essentially, the government -- or an assigned private party that is self-supporting only and makes no profit, rather than by a few or many competing private for-profit corporations, I wholeheartedly agree....

:confused:

KristieMac
Jul 12, 2007, 09:23 PM
You say you 'd never switch back to AT&T because, and tell me if I am wrong, you were ired by either the lack of "network quality, reliability or poor customer service".

How does "unlimited" versus "limited" phones improve that situation?

I would love to know the company that has 100% network quality, assures 100% reliability and gives consumers 100% customer service? Because anything short of those ideals, makes the carrier, well, just another carrier "with issues"! It's a paradigm that will never happen. Somewhere, someone is going to gripe about something with their cell phone provider and phones wouldn't have a dang thing to do with it - locked or unlocked. Sorry!

Maybe we aren't talking about the same thing. I am talking about being able to take the phone of my choice, iPhone, to the network of my choice, Verizon.

I don't like AT&T. I don't like TMobile. I want to stay with Verizon and use an iPhone. Verizon has not been perfect, but in my area, it is hands down the best cell carrier I have found. Even if I couldn't use every feature on the phone, I'd still be happier being able to use limited features with a carrier that works for me.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 10:29 PM
Right or wrong, you are using a poor analogy. The Interstate highway system is a government owned and maintained system funded by our taxes, the telecommunications network, at least 90% anyway, was built by AT&T and funded by investments and customer revenues.

Its not a poor analogy, you just don't understand the economic concepts being discussed. The natural monopoly and the public good have nothing to do with the structure of the organization or enterprise providing it. It has nothing to do with how it was financed. It has to do with the physical production properties of the product or "good" involved. The analogy is very strong. I'm talking about a network of expressways compared to a network of for data bits. Both products are non-rival in consumption, meaning the use of the network (wireless or of expressways) by one person does not prohibit someone else form using it (except in the extreme case when either network is at its peak capacity). To repeat ownership, financing, publicly traded, whether through bond issue or not, whatever: none of these have any impact on the status as a natural monopoly industry.

Even if it did (and it doesn't), the original expressways inn the US started out as private enterprises. They were later nationalized and then became part of the US interstate system. So even if you do look at the corporate structure and financing (even thought it has nothing to do with the topic of the analogy), you'll still find a very similar beginning.

Had the government not stepped in and broke up AT&T, your argument would not exist. While the telecommunications industry, as it stands today, may be considered a natural monopoly, it is only that way because the government stepped in and created this 'false competition.'

No, you're again misunderstanding what a natural monopoly is. Its got nothing to do with what either the government or the monopoly enterprise does. It doesn't even have to involve a monopoly enterprise. Its merely a situation where the marginal and average cost of adding product diminishes. Economies of scale basically does it.



Telecommunications as an industry is not a natural monopoly, but AT&T is.

An enterprise cannot be a natural monopoly. There could be a monopoly firm producing in a natural monopoly industry. However, there's no question from a mainstream economic perspective: telecommunications is a natural monopoly industry with a public good that is non-rival in consumption. You can try to wiggle your way out of that by saying its all the government's fault, but it just shows you don't understand these concepts. This means trying to infuse competition will not add efficiency. Quite the contrary it will vastly more expensive and vastly less reliable. It will not lead to greater choice, because even with a group of several colluding oligopolists, they will tend to coalesce around a single industry leader and follow the leaders practices.

Again, you're trying to misapply economic theories principle's of laissez faire, laissez passe to an area where they were never meant to apply: i.e., the natural monopoly industry.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 12, 2007, 10:48 PM
But if you're saying that the mobile phone carrier network -- the towers, the voice and data service, etc. -- should be run by a single socialized entity -- essentially, the government -- or an assigned private party that is self-supporting only and makes no profit, rather than by a few or many competing private for-profit corporations, I wholeheartedly agree. Of course in the States we already do this with some public goods, like fire and police departments, the free public education system, etc., but for some reason the concept of telecommunications as a public good doesn't get through to majority of the American public, so we pay through the nose for the warm, cozy feeling of a "free market" with no benefits and often problems for the customer, when we'd pay about the same for the same services under a public-good or natural monopoly plan -- provided we didn't let a largely unmonitored, unregulated for-profit corporation run it. I get you there, too.

Actually, I would go further and say we should expect to pay significantly less for a properly handled wireless network service handled as public good through public policy in a natural monopoly industry. Of course it requires your caveat that we didn't give everything away to an unregulated for-profit corporation to run it.

The interstate highway system is a good example to add to that list: especially when compared to a national wireless cellular network. The Interstate Highways system was nationalized in the US decades ago.

Few would think that we should auction off the interstate system to several private corporations and offer them eminent domain rights to provide competing lanes alongside one another. Of course we'd each then pay monthly fees for use of those lanes. We might be able to switch into the other lanes, but only if our current plan allowed for that. Chrysler might produce a car that could only be used on one providers lanes. etc. etc. The analogy sounds absurd but not because the analogy doesn't work. Its because it is an absurd situation. Its just we can't visually detect the bits flying around us in RF frequencies and so the process goes on behind our backs. (incidentally, I sometimes fear bringing up an analogy like this for free that the free market mantra folks will say: "Hey, wait a minute.... do you mean the government is messing up my freedoms by running the interstate system as a socialized monopoly! What gives!")

And if by asking me to stop repeating the dogma, you're asking me to quit pretending even under a "fairer" system with strict consumer-friendly regulations and proper enforcement of these regulations, services like mobile phone networks belong in the hands of for-profit private corporations because they do not belong in these hands, I agree on that point as well. But I hedged in my previous post. I don't think that I would typically hedge as I'm opposed to lily gilding and quite usually rather boldly state my mind, but I've taken a serious beating over the last ten days for my concerns over the impropriety of the way in which Apple sells the iPhone and AT&T provides service for it -- these particular issues of contracts, no subsidies, termination fees, etc., should be familiar to most people following the issue by now. I've been slighted, maligned, called various names, profane and merely condescending, for even daring to question the iPhone and its service arrangement. So, I hedged because I'm weary of being "yelled at" this week.

I'm sorry about that. I wasn't really directing that at you by that point. I was expressing my frustration about AppleHero and others on this thread who keep repeating that free market mantra. Again, sorry to take it out on you.

As an aside, I pointed to Nash chiefly because, in his signature economic theory, I find delightful beauty in the notion that in a system long believed to greatly favor the highly aggressive, most selfish participant it turned up that the greatest benefit to the system would actually be compromise between human beings.

I can appreciate that too. I just wanted to drive home the point that — for natural monopoly — this ridiculousness about free markets won't even find any justification in the most vanilla economic theories.

Sorry I don't have time at the moment to address all your comments in detail. Thanks for the considered response.

Sure, no problem. I'm glad to see someone else on here that's not taken in by the big con job we're subjected to here in the US.

SeaFox
Jul 12, 2007, 11:31 PM
Right or wrong, you are using a poor analogy. The Interstate highway system is a government owned and maintained system funded by our taxes, the telecommunications network, at least 90% anyway, was built by AT&T and funded by investments and customer revenues.

Actually, AT&T received large subsidies from the federal government for years to expand their network (ever hear of the Rural Electric Project? There was one for telephone, too). They were also granted a government monopoly over local and long distance phone service for decades. The contribution the U.S. government (in other words: the taxpayers) have made to Ma Bell's business is one of the primary reasons AT&T was forced to lease their lines to competitors as a part of partial deregulation.

To say that AT&T has shouldered almost all of the cost of the network through prudent investments and customer revenue gained on a level market playing field is patently false.

zflauaus
Jul 13, 2007, 01:22 AM
Besides, WiMax is the future... why switch to GSM-HSDPA?? I'm glad Sprint figured this out and I'm anxiously awaiting them to implement it in my area.Umm... WiMax is still years away from deployment, and even then, it will be in few, select areas. The best thing to do will be for them to implement EVDO Rev. 0 fully, then Rev. A, Rev. B, and so on. Rev. B and Rev. C have already been discussed. Curious, why do you see WiMax as the future? The CDMA networks will always be that, a CDMA network. The only thing they might use WiMax for is data as of right now, but CDMA is a superb network and does not need to be replaced anytime soon.

As I mentioned earlier, I think WiMax is a better path to go down than HSDPA and I'm hoping the cell carriers here all adopt it. As I understand, it should be able to handle both the data and voice services and I would think would eventually lead to a VoIP-style cell service. I'm just speculating here on the limited information I know about WiMax.
I ask again, why WiMax? It is extremely expensive to roll out right now, so it will be a few uears before it is even put up.

Unless I'm mistaken, AT&T is the only company building HSDPA is the US. I'm assuming T-Mobile will have the ability as well since they use AT&T's network (even though they have their own towers, still AT&T's network.) The US may have more money and more people per square mile, the geographical differences are way beyond Australia and Bulgaria. More land to cover, longer waits for technology upgrades.
As of this moment, yes. T-Mobile is going to use their newly purchased 1700MHz spectrum for their 3G network, totally inoperable with other countries' 3G networks (everybody else uses 2100MHz). T-Mobile does not use AT&T's network. They have their own array of towers but only use AT&T's network for roaming. T-Mobile is not an MVNO.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 13, 2007, 06:05 AM
T-Mobile does not use AT&T's network. They have their own array of towers but only use AT&T's network for roaming. T-Mobile is not an MVNO.

I think AppleHero meant that T-Moblile is ultimately using AT&T's wired network (though I could be wrong).

Stella
Jul 13, 2007, 06:54 AM
So... you buy the iPhone outright, and you can't go to any other carrier, *even* after paying a termination fee.

Doesn't anyone find this strange? Unlike any other phone.

You *own* the phone but your told what carrier you can use. Something is very wrong.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 13, 2007, 07:33 AM
So... you buy the iPhone outright, and you can't go to any other carrier, *even* after paying a termination fee.

Doesn't anyone find this strange? Unlike any other phone.

You *own* the phone but your told what carrier you can use. Something is very wrong.

My understanding is that this is much like many cell phones in the US. Reportedly, though, even these locked phones can be unlocked upon request of your service provider. I have not heard any reports either way of someone requesting an unlock code. That is to say, I haven't heard of anyone requesting one, and I haven't heard whether upon request anyone has been given nor denied an unlock code. I'm interested to here what happens with this.

applehero
Jul 13, 2007, 07:43 AM
I think AppleHero meant that T-Moblile is ultimately using AT&T's wired network (though I could be wrong).

Correct.

applehero
Jul 13, 2007, 07:48 AM
Actually, AT&T received large subsidies from the federal government for years to expand their network (ever hear of the Rural Electric Project? There was one for telephone, too). They were also granted a government monopoly over local and long distance phone service for decades. The contribution the U.S. government (in other words: the taxpayers) have made to Ma Bell's business is one of the primary reasons AT&T was forced to lease their lines to competitors as a part of partial deregulation.

To say that AT&T has shouldered almost all of the cost of the network through prudent investments and customer revenue gained on a level market playing field is patently false.

My mistake, I did leave out govt subsidies. It was in my head, just didn't get out.

sanford
Jul 13, 2007, 08:04 AM
So... you buy the iPhone outright, and you can't go to any other carrier, *even* after paying a termination fee.

Doesn't anyone find this strange? Unlike any other phone.

You *own* the phone but your told what carrier you can use. Something is very wrong.

Of course. It's outrageous. Horribly wrong. Several us have made general and specific comments against this market system in this thread. SeaFox has. And rob@ has a great analogy comparing the mobile phone industry to the national highway system -- it really is a great analogy, even though, as he himself says, it sounds absurd; but it only sounds absurd because a lot of people can see the absurdity of redundant, competitive highway systems, but for some reason can't see the exact same brand of absurdity of redundant, competitive mobile phone networks.

The worst thing is that you indeed buy the iPhone outright, no carrier subsidy, but it's still exclusively tied to AT&T service and requires initiation -- or restarting a full contract if you are already in an AT&T contract -- of a two-year contract just to unlock any feature of the iPhone, not just use the phone. It should be noted that carrier subsidies are an illusion. I can go out today, sign a two-year contract with a mobile service, and pay $50, or even nothing, for an MSRP $400 Nokia phone. But of course the carrier will make up the discount on the phone, that and probably more, and I for one certainly believe that subsidy reimbursement is directly built into the monthly service fees, and not merely shaved off profit on those fees. If you pay $50 for the phone today, you pay the $350 balance over two years time; so you pay the total MSRP, perhaps more, by the end of the contract. But carrier subsidies have in the past at least given the phone buyer the illusion of consideration in the contract. Which is important on two points: the buyer think it's reasonable to enter into the contract; and, contracts without reasonable consideration for all parties bound by the contract are by law void in the States. (The old business law class saw regarding contract consideration goes something like: If I have you sign a contract that if I make you a ham sandwich you will give me your car, that contract is void, because my making you a ham sandwich is not reasonably worth the value of your car -- there's no reasonable consideration for you in that contract. The contract is void and even if I make you a quite delicious ham sandwich, you're not legally bound by this void contract.)

These mobile phone carrier contracts were questionable tactics in the first place. Without even the subsidy illusion they are a farce, and, I fear, a potential gateway for lining up consumers to obligate them to contracts for all manner of good and services without consideration for them. I can't imagine how this AT&T contract would be upheld in court if it were challenged, although you can be sure AT&T's attorneys have gone over it again and again to find hooks upon which to hang its validity.

This is where the free market mantra, as rob@ calls it, steps in to chant, But in a free market, like the one we have in the States, anyone can make any exclusive arrangement they wish, and require contracts if they wish, and it's your choice to sign them no matter how onerous the contract, and if you willingly sign it, you're bound by it, because this a free country -- or something like that. This a bad deal for Americans, but worse, it's not even true. We have laws controlling the substance of contracts. You *can't* legally get anyone to sign any kind of contract for any reason. There are general laws covering all contracts and specific laws covering certain types of contracts. The problem is government agencies who can act on their own aren't going after these contracts and consumers aren't challenging these contracts in court, so we don't know specifically how they would hold up. American consumers are buying into this free market mantra and I would say a fair share of us, probably a stunning majority of us, really believe any business interest can request a contract obligation of us for anything, and if we want that thing we have to sign it.

But speaking out against either the iPhone or the mobile carriers -- or any of these so-called free market issues -- is an ugly game for Americans. First, the iPhone is precious and beloved by its owners and people who want one; they don't want to hear criticism of, well, it's a *phone*, folks. Next, as far as market tactics are concerned, claiming the Apple/AT&T arrangement is unfair, unethical and if not illegal should be, why that's anti-capitalist, which is of course anti-American. I'm none of those things, but I still declare the Apple/AT&T arrangement is of great concern and has profound ramifications for the American consumer.

sanford
Jul 13, 2007, 08:18 AM
My understanding is that this is much like many cell phones in the US. Reportedly, though, even these locked phones can be unlocked upon request of your service provider. I have not heard any reports either way of someone requesting an unlock code. That is to say, I haven't heard of anyone requesting one, and I haven't heard whether upon request anyone has been given nor denied an unlock code. I'm interested to here what happens with this.

A lot of phones can be unlocked, and the codes are available, but I don't know that the carriers are bound to give them to you. At any rate, in the case of the iPhone, the best this would get you is a wide-screen iPod nano with Wi-Fi Internet features. The iPhone is designed so that not only will it not work with SIM cards from other carriers, there are even interoperability problems -- partial or total -- with SIM cards from other AT&T phones. (It's essentially not a SIM card phone per specification, but a proprietary iteration thereof.) I would assume the latter use is restricted so you can't already be an AT&T customer who has served out the original contract period, paying for service on a monthly basis, then take your contract-less AT&T SIM card and account and use it with a new iPhone.

applehero
Jul 13, 2007, 08:35 AM
Its not a poor analogy, you just don't understand the economic concepts being discussed....

I understand what you're saying, I just don't agree. Whether it be my lack of knowledge of economic concepts or your lack of knowledge of the industry (which I don't know your level of exposure to telecommunications.) I can tell you that the service a telecommunications company provides is virtually zero is cost, the network and switching components that are used are exactly the opposite, outrageously expensive. Maintaining and monitoring those elements is also quite expensive. The overhead on a telecommunications company is ridiculous. This is why we have seen so many CLEC's come and go over the years, they cannot maintain a large enough customer base to recover costs and become profitable.

The worst thing we could do is allow our government to take over telecommunications. To go with your Interstate analogy, the system is terrible. We pay taxes for maintenance and expansion, yet it takes 5 years, at best, for a 20 mile segment of interstate to get resurfaced. To try and get a lane added to accommodate increased traffic, you're over a decade of waiting, if we're lucky. A lot of larger cities have started looking towards private companies to build toll lanes to relieve congestion as they're being told by the government there isn't enough money for their highway project or it will take years before they can even get to it.

Do you honestly think this would be any different for telecom??? It wouldn't. Every piece of information transmitted would be monitored, recorded, and analyzed. We would see drastic decreased in quality of service and customer service (you think it's bad now, just wait). Technology upgrades would roll out slower, if at all, because the government hates spending money that is not necessary, plus it has to be approved by 10 different bodies before they can even think about spending anything.

Okay...I have to get off this topic. Everyone is welcome to their own opinions and I have expressed mine enough. Things will either work out or they won't. Whatever the case, I hope we, as a country, can figure a way to improve things for everyone and start looking towards globalization standards and not the US vs. everyone else.

sanford
Jul 13, 2007, 08:47 AM
Every piece of information transmitted would be monitored, recorded, and analyzed.

I won't address each point of your post since it's either directed to rob@ or it's otherwise clear from my previous posts that you and I disagree on how our economy should run, but on that one point I've quoted above: If the federal government or any agency thereof wishes to do that, they already are doing it, or can start doing it at any time. They don't need ownership of the network to do that.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 13, 2007, 09:10 AM
I understand what you're saying, I just don't agree. Whether it be my lack of knowledge of economic concepts or your lack of knowledge of the industry (which I don't know your level of exposure to telecommunications.) I can tell you that the service a telecommunications company provides is [not] virtually zero is cost, the network and switching components that are used are exactly the opposite, outrageously expensive. Maintaining and monitoring those elements is also quite expensive. The overhead on a telecommunications company is ridiculous.

It is not the overall or total costs that are relevant to the issue of natural monopoly. It is the marginal cost. In other words how much does it cost to facilitate the last minute of a voice-call; the last SMS text message or the last bit of data. These are all basically $0.

To use the interstate highway system analogy again, what does it cost to let the marginal car drive a mile? $0. Does that mean that the Interstate Highways system is cheap? No not at all. Its a very expensive endeavor: much more so than the wireless cellular network.

As for the slowness and political difficulties in expanding and making various enhancements the interstate highway system: these are all rightly handled as public policy issues. Communities and the Federal Highway Administration need to take into account the environmental impacts of what they do. For a wireless network, those issues are much smaller. Obviously the issue of how much a society wants to spend on its wireless infrastructure is important. Also the placement of cell phone towers is an important public policy issue even the private enterprises have to deal with (e.g., because they're unsightly and concerns about their public health impacts). Even if the cellular network was run by a Federal agency it wouldn't mean that we wouldn't have private enterprises contracted to build the infrastructure (just as private construction companies build our expressways).

As for privacy concerns, handling this as a government monopoly would improve that too. Since the network would be provided by the government, we'd all be free to use any VOIP service provider for our voice service over that network. We could even setup our own private VOIP servers to ensure our own RSA encryption keys were safe from others and keep the prying ears out of our conversations. Today, the conversation is encrypted, but its encrypted by AT&T or Sprint or Verizon who are all in bed with the the most disgusting parts of our government. Reportedly today, all of the big phone companies gladly turn over our private records and decrypted conversations to the Federal authorities upon request without any warrant and without any court intervention.

However, you look at it we're being screwed by these corporations and their government collaborators.

jarbake
Jul 13, 2007, 09:26 AM
However, you look at it we're being screwed by these corporations and their government collaborators.

I'm a little confused; you would rather only be screwed by the government? You seem to contradict yourself.

Let's take a step back and look at how a socialized telecommunications industry would work. You KNOW taxes would have to rise. Do you want your little old granny to have to spend more of her fixed income just so you can THINK you are getting better telecommunications service?

What would motivate this socialized telecommunications industry to come out with new, innovative things? You are hooked and they know it.

As far as the highway system argument, I agree with applehero. Have you ever sat in line on a highway behind some guy holding up a red stop sign? Next time you get stopped by road construction, take a look around. How many people do you see just sitting inside the cab of a piece of equipment or leaning against a truck? Are these the same people you want servicing the entire countries telecommunications industry?

rob@robburns.co
Jul 13, 2007, 09:39 AM
I'm a little confused; you would rather only be screwed by the government? You seem to contradict yourself.

You're confused (and you think I'm contradicting myself) because you believe in the swindle: private enterprise gets in bed with government; takes it over for their own interest and then convinces you that it was government was the source of the whole swindle in the first place. What I'm saying is that if we make government responsible to us the citizenry (and in this case the customers of a natural monopoly), the swindlers will be neutralized.

Let's take a step back and look at how a socialized telecommunications industry would work. You KNOW taxes would have to rise. Do you want your little old granny to have to spend more of her fixed income just so you can THINK you are getting better telecommunications service?

No, you're confused again. The financing of a natural monopoly is always an issue of public policy. The entire industry could be funded through user-fees. Mainstream economic theory would suggest customers paying the average cost of production (much less than we pay now) would be the most efficient approach.

What would motivate this socialized telecommunications industry to come out with new, innovative things? You are hooked and they know it.

What motivates the seemingly endless expansion of the Federal Highway System: public lobbying by motorists, the automobile industry and the highway construction industry. The same thing would likely happen with a Federal cellular network: network users, companies like Apple, and network installation companies (among others) would lobby for improvements (e.g., a leap to 10G network).

As far as the highway system argument, I agree with applehero. Have you ever sat in line on a highway behind some guy holding up a red stop sign? Next time you get stopped by road construction, take a look around. How many people do you see just sitting inside the cab of a piece of equipment or leaning against a truck? Are these the same people you want servicing the entire countries telecommunications industry?

Those construction workers are typically private enterprise construction workers. I have no idea if they're any lazier than any other workers. Have you ever surprised a telecommunications company executive in his office and found him playing minesweeper?

So does this mean you're actually thinking the Federal Highway system should be turned over to a major corporation like AT&T: to avoid private highway construction workers taking a break too often? Or do you think that your granny will pay less in taxes if we provide another opportunity for swindle in the federal highway system. I wouldn't be surprised if taxes went up when turning over the federal highway system monopoly over to a private enterprise. That's the nature of a swindle.

CptnJustc
Jul 13, 2007, 09:50 AM
Just to comment on the Japanese-style 3G phones here. Those are driven by the market, not by innovation or by how cell phone companies here work. With the large amount of area that US companies have to cover, all the geographical problems they encounter, and all the people who don't want cell phone towers on their land I'm really not at all surprised that 3G isn't in a lot of places. Europe and Japan are case studies in and of their own. You can't even remotely compare them to the US. For one look at population density as a whole - while the US maybe have some huge cities that are massive huge chunks of land where it's 1 or 2 inhabitants per square mile.

Also, the whole swiping you phone to pay ticket fares, yeah, that's great and all but you think people stealing cell phones is bad now - try doing that in America - it'd instantly be the #1 crime. US companies don't bother with features like that because 1, they'd have to get the city to install something that would read the phone and 2 the extremely small demographic that would use it. It's just not worth the investment at this point. Maybe in 20 - 30 years but not now. I mean, heck, I live in the DFW area and there is no subway at all and this is a rather large metroplex. Even huge cities don't have subways - look at Houston, over 2 million people in the city - no subway...

My point is there are literally hundreds of reasons why we don't have japanese style cell phones and only a couple of them have anything to do with the cell phone companies...

Hmmm, I don't know about 'literally hundreds'. I agree that Japan is an ideal cell phone market -- dense populations (though you might note that they are crowded into about 20% of the country, and the rest is still well-covered), tech-savvy and with a lot of network effects that promote the use of, say, auto-payment devices at turnstyles.

On the other hand, given the notes of some of the other posters, it seems absurd that a country as rich, technically adept, and not-exactly-unpopulated should have such poor networks, particularly on the coasts. Your reasons don't seem to add up to the United States being the last industrialized country to get decent high-speed coverage.

But let's refocus on handset technology -- you're right, there are multiple reasons why other countries have more-advanced, far less-crippled handsets than we do. And only a couple of those reasons do have to do with carriers' power over the handset companies (not necessarily, as you said, with the cell phone companies themselves). Probably best eliminate those reasons. It would almost certainly make some difference, unless you believe that consumers are demanding crippled Bluetooth, walled-in, expensive, non-transferable media downloads, etc.

And if that is indeed what consumers want, then unbundling the products would still be beneficial in providing clearer price signals to handset makers and the carriers. I'm not sure what the exact mechanism is by which tightly bundling handsets with carriers is supposed to benefit consumers.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 13, 2007, 09:58 AM
Bringing this discussion back to the issue of the iPhone, just imagine if countries all over the world simply provided a standard 3G network as a nationalized cellular network. Apple could sell a product World-wide from day one and it would be usable on all of those networks. Apple could provide the voicemail service, ichat would be there (no reason to lock the phone down for SMS fees) and so on. By handling natural monopolies in the proper way it creates so many more opportunities and choices for consumers. Its better for private enterprises like Apple too (in other words those private enterprises that aren't in on the swindle).

jarbake
Jul 13, 2007, 09:59 AM
You're confused (and you think I'm contradicting myself) because you believe in the swindle: private enterprise gets in bed with government; takes it over for their own interest and then convinces you that it was government was the source of the whole swindle in the first place. What I'm saying is that if we make government responsible to us the citizenry (and in this case the customers of a natural monopoly), the swindlers will be neutralized.


Oh, so we just take away half of the problem and the whole problem goes away? If anything, these 'people in government in bed with private enterprise' as you so elegantly put it, cut out the middle man and receive a bigger piece of the pie.

Nothing is perfect. The federal highway system is far from perfect as is the telecommunications industry. Some states in fact HAVE sold pieces of there interstate highway to fund other projects. Now, is selling the whole national highway system to privet industry a good ideal, probably not. But on the other hand, is turning the whole telecommunications industry over to the government a good idea, I highly doubt.

Socializing ANYTHING is totally against everything in the Constitution. Many people, probably including members of your own family, have went into battle to make sure this country doesn't fall into the hands of socialist/communist hands.

It’s a funny thing. The people I hear screaming for socialized medicine and I guess now telecommunications are those that are also those quickest to point to flaws in our government. Why then are they so adamant about putting more power into the hands of the government?

Also, don't take this the wrong way, but if you have as much knowledge about economic system as you say you do, why do you spend so much time here?

rob@robburns.co
Jul 13, 2007, 10:04 AM
Also, don't take this the wrong way, but if you have as much knowledge about economic system as you say you do, why do you spend so much time here?

How should I take that. Is this forum only for losers and idiots? I didn't see the sign. :) (just in case, I wasn't suggesting anyone here is a loser or idiot, just I thought that jarbake was implying I wasn't welcome here unless I was)

In any event, I would just like those who are so into free enterprise to learn a little about economics. If they did they would find out it doesn't support the conclusions they draw about free enterprise when it comes to natural monopoly industries. Is that so wrong?

jarbake
Jul 13, 2007, 10:10 AM
No, Why must you insist on putting words into everyone’s mouth in all of your replies?

I just figured someone as knowledgeable and qualified to teach economics to others would have something a little better to do during the day.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 13, 2007, 10:15 AM
No, Why must you insist on putting words into everyone’s mouth in all of your replies?

I just figured someone as knowledgeable and qualified to teach economics to others would have something a little better to do during the day.

Well right now, I'm disabled. So I'm trying to find ways to occupy my time.

I'm not trying to put words in people's mouths. If you're referring to my use of the interstate system analogy, its just a very apt analogy because it is an example of a natural monopoly that is still nationalized / socialized in the US.

CptnJustc
Jul 13, 2007, 10:16 AM
Socializing ANYTHING is totally against everything in the Constitution.

Huh? Which parts? OK, 'everything', but could you point to some specific thing?

rob@robburns.co
Jul 13, 2007, 10:30 AM
Oh, so we just take away half of the problem and the whole problem goes away? If anything, these 'people in government in bed with private enterprise' as you so elegantly put it, cut out the middle man and receive a bigger piece of the pie.

Theses swindling corporations need the government to legitimize what they do. We need government too (us non-swindlers) for example to handle natural monopoly industries such as our roadways. The problem is when the government responds to the swindlers and ignores the rest of us and our needs. So the US military goes to war for Haliburton or the United Fruit Company. But when we're attacked domestically it's unprepared and responds very very slowly.

Nothing is perfect. The federal highway system is far from perfect as is the telecommunications industry. Some states in fact HAVE sold pieces of there interstate highway to fund other projects. Now, is selling the whole national highway system to privet industry a good ideal, probably not. But on the other hand, is turning the whole telecommunications industry over to the government a good idea, I highly doubt.

Even selling of parts of it is a very bad idea, because its a public good: a public asset. Putting it in the hands of one organization means it won't be handled efficiently or appropriately for public needs.

Socializing ANYTHING is totally against everything in the Constitution.

Why do you think that? What specific passages of the constitution do you have in mind? The federal interstate system is socialized: is that unconstitutional? Or are you thinking that its charging user fees for socialized industries that's unconstitutional? In that case its only the publicly run tollways that would be unconstitutional.

Many people, probably including members of your own family, have went into battle to make sure this country doesn't fall into the hands of socialist/communist hands.

No, that's not correct. What battle's or wars are you thinking of here?

It’s a funny thing. The people I hear screaming for socialized medicine and I guess now telecommunications are those that are also those quickest to point to flaws in our government. Why then are they so adamant about putting more power into the hands of the government?

I think you're getting it backwards. We're trying to make government responsive to the needs of the citizenry, rather than to the needs of AT&T, Haliburton, etc. Take the secure communication example above. Right now, with the swindle arrangement, we have no privacy because the swindling corporations cooperate with the swindling parts of the US government to pry into our communications. With a properly accountable, nationalized natural monopoly cellular network, the voice service would be provided privately. There would be no easy way to round-end the encryption of communications. As it stands today, the government and your network provider can freely examine everything you do on their network. That's transferring a lot of power from yourself to the government and the network provider. There's no choice there at all.

jarbake
Jul 13, 2007, 10:35 AM
Yes, by everything, I ment everything. The whole point of the United States Constitution was to limited government. I'm aware he had nothing to do with the writting of the Constitution, but Abe Lincoln himself declaried "In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere."

jarbake
Jul 13, 2007, 10:40 AM
No, that's not correct. What battle's or wars are you thinking of here?





WWII, Korea, Vietnam

This will be my last post in this thread. It is obvious you are an expert on every matter know to man and are not open to others ideas since yours are already perfect.

CptnJustc
Jul 13, 2007, 10:58 AM
Yes, by everything, I ment everything. The whole point of the United States Constitution was to limited government. I'm aware he had nothing to do with the writting of the Constitution, but Abe Lincoln himself declaried "In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere."

Absolutely, but there's certainly nothing about socialism or capitalism (terms that didn't exist at the founders' time). Just the injunction to 'promote the general welfare' and the power to regulate commerce among the states. Even your Lincoln quote leaves room for government activity. Can people individually maintain an efficient economic system, or do they need, for starters, rules enforcing patent protection, etc.?

As for WWII, you know we were allies with "Uncle Joe" Stalin, right? We were fighting fascists, not socialists.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 13, 2007, 11:11 AM
Just the injunction to 'promote the general welfare' and the power to regulate commerce among the states. Even your Lincoln quote leaves room for government activity. Can people individually maintain an efficient economic system, or do they need, for starters, rules enforcing patent protection, etc.?

I would add along the lines of the Lincoln quote, we the people can not individually provide for these natural monopolies. In other words I cannot provide my own interstate highway system. I, as an individual, cannot provide my own wireless cellular network.

The swindle is to pretend that "the people can individually do for themselves" because that individual is At&T or Verizon, or T-Mobile. These are not individuals, though they are doing for themselves. They are corporations that have been given the privilege of operating something that belongs as a part of our government for their own individual profit. They are doing the thing that we as individuals cannot do for ourselves, rather than us requiring our federal government to "promote the general Welfare" by providing us with the services of a nationwide telecommunications network.

twoodcc
Jul 13, 2007, 11:11 AM
Wow the iPhone is changing the way our telecommunication network will be setup in the future. Awesome!

i was thinking the same thing. Very awesome

applehero
Jul 13, 2007, 11:24 AM
The swindle is to pretend that "the people can individually do for themselves" because that individual is At&T or Verizon, or T-Mobile. These are not individuals, though they are doing for themselves. They are corporations that have been given the privilege of operating something that belongs as a part of our government for their own individual profit. They are doing the thing that we as individuals cannot do for ourselves, rather than us requiring our federal government to "promote the general Welfare" by providing us with the services of a nationwide telecommunications network.

In your economy, the foundation is not built on the pursuit of wealth, it's more towards doing the right thing to improve things for society. Unfortunately we do not live in that world and we are a long way from it. As long as the acquisition of wealth is the driving force behind our economy, none of this will change.

sanford
Jul 13, 2007, 11:39 AM
Socializing ANYTHING is totally against everything in the Constitution. Many people, probably including members of your own family, have went into battle to make sure this country doesn't fall into the hands of socialist/communist hands.

Ah, jarbake, by your standards I've some bad news for you: all your dead relatives died in vain. We already have lots of socialized programs in this country. Lots of institutions against your interpretation of the Constitution. I know, I know: Welfare, and I'd eliminate that in two seconds! Nope, not welfare, although you'd be crazy to eliminate it, and public welfare programs -- safety nets -- have a place in any civilized, compassionate society.

Your police department. Your fire/rescue department. Your county hospital system, especially in major urban areas, as they are most likely to have them. Your public libraries, not that anyone uses these much anymore. Your public school system -- funny, that one is actually guaranteed in the Constitution rather than prohibited. Your post office. All "socialized", chiefly based on the public good concept that rob@ has illustrated. Many of these socialized American institutions actually run rather well. The US Postal Service actually *makes* money, and does a fairly amazing job of quickly sending mail all over a very large geographic area for a reasonable price.

Also, we've not fought one war to keep our country from falling into the hands of communists -- unless you count the Cold War, but it being "cold", nobody went into battle. We've fought a couple "hot" wars to keep *other* countries from falling into the hands of communist factions within those countries, with the alleged goal of quashing the spread of communism, which could potentially, though perhaps not all that likely, cause our country to come under attack by communist invaders.

And who originally mentioned lazy road crews? Rob@ is right: these lazy, leaning road crews you seem to see when you're out on the highways are almost always private contractors hired by the government to complete projects. That's your free enterprise system at work for you -- or not, as you seem to regularly observe -- at your tax-paying expense.

Finally, the tax argument. This has been explained regarding public healthcare so much that everyone should get it by now, but here we go. Taxes would rise to cover various nationalized services. But out-of-pocket costs would come down. In many or even most cases this results in a net savings for the individual or family. It's at least a break-even proposition.

Also, you make something bordering on an ad hominem attack on rob@ by stating, just about in so many words, "if you're so smart and know so much about this and that, you'd think you'd have something better to do with your time". I can't speak for rob@, but I certainly have better things to do with my time. In fact, every couple days I pledge to swear off the Internet altogether -- except for maybe paying bills; it's good for that. The thing is, if you have the knowledge and education in particular areas, it's something you've studied formally or informally, well, there are basically two types of people in these matters. You've probably encountered them in physicians you've had in your life. The first type is the ivory-tower sort, people who seek to contain and control all knowledge they've gained. You know, the doctor who won't explain anything to you and when you ask a question he glares at you before providing some vague, worthless answer. The other type is the doctor who sits down and will expound at length on topics medicine, answer all your questions in detail using the technical language of his profession, then define any terms you don't understand. He's passionate about what he knows and his impulse when he's asked or notices someone is wrong about something in his field is to share that knowledge, rather than keep it locked up like some secret holy talisman. So that's why I'm here when I indeed have a dozen things I should be doing.

Again, I can't speak for rob@, but I'm not writing here to correct you to make myself feel better or prove myself right, but because there are some substantial, basic and rather large flaws in the understanding of economic systems of some people posting in this thread. Indeed I'd prefer not to correct people at all, because it often makes them defensive, angry and sometimes worse. But when you see it stated one way and you know it to be otherwise, it appears the best thing to do for everyone's sake to note the fallacy and explain why the statement is mistaken. So it's one thing to fully understand economic systems yet still argue for live-and-let-die capitalism; it's another thing entire to have a flawed grasp of these systems and argue what is and isn't acceptable in these systems and under American law.

CJD2112
Jul 13, 2007, 11:56 AM
So... you buy the iPhone outright, and you can't go to any other carrier, *even* after paying a termination fee.

Doesn't anyone find this strange? Unlike any other phone.

You *own* the phone but your told what carrier you can use. Something is very wrong.

Sadly, that is the way it is in the U.S. It's tantamount to buying a car and being told you can only drive every other day and from 4-8 am and 6-10 pm. The people that state the fact that you sign a contract for two years blah blah blah and you knew what you were getting into are not making any points. Having to sign a contract for service IS the initial problem, and as all the U.S. carriers have agreed to this ridiculous practice American consumers aren't given many other options (unless you count pay as you go, and I'm not sure if there is a contract for that service or not). Doesn't make sense. :rolleyes:

applehero
Jul 13, 2007, 12:18 PM
Your police department. Your fire/rescue department. Your county hospital system, especially in major urban areas, as they are most likely to have them. Your public libraries, not that anyone uses these much anymore. Your public school system -- funny, that one is actually guaranteed in the Constitution rather than prohibited. Your post office. All "socialized", chiefly based on the public good concept that rob@ has illustrated. Many of these socialized American institutions actually run rather well. The US Postal Service actually *makes* money, and does a fairly amazing job of quickly sending mail all over a very large geographic area for a reasonable price.


Continuing this debate is pointless. Everything you mention above, while may be government funded/operated and does provide a service, is not by any means perfect and often not satisfying. Private hospitals and schools provide more complete/higher quality services than government operated ones. FedEx and UPS are faster and more reliable than the USPS, and often cheaper. Police, while only the military can rival, still often leave people unsatisfied and rival with bounty hunters and private detectives. Same can be said with attorneys, yes the government will provide you one, but they will not have near the education nor brilliance of a private attorney. The government is out to make money just like every corporation in the world, they are no different.

Allowing one entity absolute control over anything is not a good idea, but I will take the 3 or 4 corporations 'swindling' us(if that's what you want to call it) vs. the government taking things over and providing the same 2nd or 3rd rate service they do with everything else they control.

This debate has always been here and will continue to go unresolved long after our childrens' children are gone.

jarbake
Jul 13, 2007, 12:26 PM
Ah, jarbake, by your standards I've some bad news for you: all your dead relatives died in vain. We already have lots of socialized programs in this country. Lots of institutions against your interpretation of the Constitution. I know, I know: Welfare, and I'd eliminate that in two seconds! Nope, not welfare, although you'd be crazy to eliminate it, and public welfare programs -- safety nets -- have a place in any civilized, compassionate society.

Your police department. Your fire/rescue department. Your county hospital system, especially in major urban areas, as they are most likely to have them. Your public libraries, not that anyone uses these much anymore. Your public school system -- funny, that one is actually guaranteed in the Constitution rather than prohibited. Your post office. All "socialized", chiefly based on the public good concept that rob@ has illustrated. Many of these socialized American institutions actually run rather well. The US Postal Service actually *makes* money, and does a fairly amazing job of quickly sending mail all over a very large geographic area for a reasonable price.


In my eyes the police department is a branch of government. I believe it falls under the executive branch. It enforces the laws the legislative branch creates.

Not saying you are wrong, but can you point out the exact text where it says a public school system is guaranteed?

Also, I can choose to ship my mail via a privet company ie. FedEX, UPS.

I am in no way trying to say "Get rid of the Federal Government". They do some pretty great things. We live in the greatest country in the world. The point of our country was to put the power into the masses hands. I just don't feel people should be so quick to give it back to the government. We are spoiled here in the US and we don't even realize it.

applehero
Jul 13, 2007, 12:30 PM
I am in no way trying to say "Get rid of the Federal Government". They do some pretty great things. We live in the greatest country in the world. The point of our country was to put the power into the masses hands. I just don't feel people should be so quick to give it back to the government. We are spoiled here in the US and we don't even realize it.

+1

Well said.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 13, 2007, 12:45 PM
I am in no way trying to say "Get rid of the Federal Government". They do some pretty great things. We live in the greatest country in the world. The point of our country was to put the power into the masses hands. I just don't feel people should be so quick to give it back to the government. We are spoiled here in the US and we don't even realize it.

But jarbake, you are the one arguing for putting more power into the hands of the government. I and sanford are saying we should make the government accountable. In other words limit the power of government by making them accountable to the citizenry. You and applehero on the other hand are arguing that they should not be made accountable. If they want to swindle us, then let them. If the government does things 2nd or 3rd rate, then go ahead and let them. There's nothing inherent in government that makes it second or third rate. They are granted the power to be second or third rate from an apathetic public who pretends that there's something inherently second or third rate about the government. To drive this point home, imagine your an employer and you employ someone who convinces you that they're inherently second or third rate, and that the only way they can serve you is by pilfering from the warehouse and giving your goods to their friends. You give that employee an enormous amount of power (and take away power from yourself), by just shrugging your shoulders and thinking: "well I just can't expect anymore from that employee"

Well that's what you and applehero are doing with government: who should be serving us like our employee. You;re saying that it's ok for them to serve us in a 2nd or 3rd rate fashion. You're saying that yes, they will steel our national resources and give them to their friends. That's the price we pay for freedom. That's just insane. You've given everything to the government because you don't expect anything of them. If anyone has fought for our constitution in vane its only in vane if we let such lunacy continue: if we say well its too much trouble to change it or to keep it from declining further.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 13, 2007, 12:52 PM
Allowing one entity absolute control over anything is not a good idea, but I will take the 3 or 4 corporations 'swindling' us(if that's what you want to call it) vs. the government taking things over and providing the same 2nd or 3rd rate service they do with everything else they control.

Wow! You would rather be swindled than demand government provide 1st rate service to us, its citizens. I would rather not be swindled AND expect 1st rate service from my government. At this point, you're only serving as an apologist for swindlers and 3rd rate government.

applehero
Jul 13, 2007, 01:09 PM
But jarbake, you are the one arguing for putting more power into the hands of the government. I and sanford are saying we should make the government accountable. In other words limit the power of government by making them accountable to the citizenry. You and applehero on the other hand are arguing that they should not be made accountable. If they want to swindle us, then let them. If the government does things 2nd or 3rd rate, then go ahead and let them. There's nothing inherent in government that makes it second or third rate. They are granted the power to be second or third rate from an apathetic public who pretends that there's something inherently second or third rate about the government. To drive this point home, imagine your an employer and you employ someone who convinces you that they're inherently second or third rate, and that the only way they can serve you is by pilfering from the warehouse and giving your goods to their friends. You give that employee an enormous amount of power (and take away power from yourself), by just shrugging your shoulders and thinking: "well I just can't expect anymore from that employee"

Well that's what you and applehero are doing with government: who should be serving us like our employee. You;re saying that it's ok for them to serve us in a 2nd or 3rd rate fashion. You're saying that yes, they will steel our national resources and give them to their friends. That's the price we pay for freedom. That's just insane. You've given everything to the government because you don't expect anything of them. If anyone has fought for our constitution in vane its only in vane if we let such lunacy continue: if we say well its too much trouble to change it or to keep it from declining further.

No, you're absolutely backwards in your assessment. WE are the ones who do not want government to take things over, you are AND you want/expect them to do a good job.

jarbake
Jul 13, 2007, 01:10 PM
You believe AT&T and the government are 'in bed with each other'. You want these to take break up and you want the government to take sole possession of the telecommunications industry? I hope I am right so far. I've asked this question once but you seamed to dance around it. Please answer this and try and cut out some of the fluff. I guess you have to put it in layman's terms. How is cutting out half of your problem going to fix the whole problem?

And your socialized telecommunications. What happens when the government decides to jack up the prices on service and cites some stupid reason everyone can see straight through? Then what happens? If AT&T jacks the prices, we switch to someone who hasn’t jacked their prices. What do we do when there is only once choice?

Most people on this board were unhappy with the service they were receiving from Microsoft and the other computer manufactories. They decided to switch to Apple in hopes of better service? Should they have lobbied for the government to take over computer manufacturing?

Now please, answer my questions, don’t try to tell me I'm somehow wrong is some way of thinking, and I'm done.

savar
Jul 13, 2007, 01:13 PM
There is absolutely no way Verizon would change over from CDMA to GSM. It would require way too many resources as well as a very large chunk of change to covert all their towers to GSM. You have to take into fact that Verizon is a very greedy company and CDMA is working just fine.

I must admit, I like the CDMA networks very much because it handles traffic very well and voice quality is very good. I've never used GSM, but another thing would be building penetration. From reports I've seen, GSM has poor building penetration compared to CDMA.

My mom is a cellular consultant and has worked at several of the major US providers, and including her coworkers they've spent a little time at all of them.

It's generally recognized that everybody envies Verizon's network. It's the best in the US right now.

savar
Jul 13, 2007, 01:19 PM
+1

Well said.

Well said, perhaps, but incorrect.

Our government was primarily founded on the principle of decentralization of power. That failed miserably, however (see Articles of Confederation), and we moved to a more centralized government form in 1789 with the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The electoral college is a perfect example of how we don't trust "the common man".

I would further say that at no point in time since then was the government ever intended to put power into the hands of the masses. At all points in time, the government has typically been controlled by (and therefore favored) wealthier citizens. With only a few notable exceptions (Thomas Jefferson) the government has rarely sided with the "masses".

applehero
Jul 13, 2007, 01:19 PM
Wow! You would rather be swindled than demand government provide 1st rate service to us, its citizens. I would rather not be swindled AND expect 1st rate service from my government. At this point, you're only serving as an apologist for swindlers and 3rd rate government.

Everyone wants 1st rate service from the government, the problem is we can't seem to get people in Washington to provide it. The reason for that, they do not care about us, they care about getting paid by big business corporations. Sure, when election time rolls around we are all given hope by politicians promising the world to us, as soon as election time is over, back to the status-quo. I would prefer the government stick to law creation/enforcement and let business be run by the public. The government can continue monitoring business practices by protecting consumer rights (which is often tainted by big business) but they have no business trying to take things over under the impression that they can run a business better than corporate America. Last time I checked, the national deficit was still in the trillions because the government is the worst bank in the world. Let the public control business via our pocketbooks, not enforcement of government policy. That's what free enterprise is.

applehero
Jul 13, 2007, 01:22 PM
Well said, perhaps, but incorrect.

Our government was primarily founded on the principle of decentralization of power. That failed miserably, however (see Articles of Confederation), and we moved to a more centralized government form in 1789 with the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The electoral college is a perfect example of how we don't trust "the common man".

I would further say that at no point in time since then was the government ever intended to put power into the hands of the masses. At all points in time, the government has typically been controlled by (and therefore favored) wealthier citizens. With only a few notable exceptions (Thomas Jefferson) the government has rarely sided with the "masses".

There is a quote from Men In Black that says it all, 'A person is smart, people are stupid.'

applehero
Jul 13, 2007, 01:28 PM
I am also done debating this as obviously we are not going to resolve the economic problems with our country. Wish we could, but we can't. I've enjoyed hearing the views of others and do take comfort in knowing there are people out there with such conviction towards the betterment of our country, whether I agree or disagree with how it should be achieved, I know that we all want to increase the strength of our nation and help it continue to prosper as the greatest nation in the world.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 13, 2007, 01:36 PM
You believe AT&T and the government are 'in bed with each other'. You want these to take break up and you want the government to take sole possession of the telecommunications industry? I hope I am right so far.

Almost. Its not just AT&T and the government. Its AT&T and Sprint and Verizon and T-Mobile and so on.

I've asked this question once but you seamed to dance around it. Please answer this and try and cut out some of the fluff. I guess you have to put it in layman's terms. How is cutting out half of your problem going to fix the whole problem?

I'm sorry if I wasn't clear on that. The problem is not the government and corporations. The problem is swindlers who operate by convincing a large majority that they are not colluding to swindle us: that they are at odds with one another. So my proposal is to get rid of the swindling: the whole problem. Get rid of all the swindling by government officials. Get rid of all the swindling by the big corporations. My proposal is to get rid of the whole problem. The way you're posing the problem would be like saying often I get mugged by people. If I can get rid of people I'll get rid of my problem. I would say don't get rid of people, but rather stop people from mugging. Don't get rid of of government or corporations. They aren't your problem. The problem is when certain government officials and certain corporations collude to swindle us. The difficulty you have in understanding what I'm saying isn't necessarily because I'm not explaining it well, and its not that you're incapable of understanding it. The very definition of the problem (by those in government and others) in terms of government is a big part of the swindle.

And your socialized telecommunications. What happens when the government decides to jack up the prices on service and cites some stupid reason everyone can see straight through?

What happens when the socialized interstate system arbitrarily raises its prices for some faux reason (i.e., raise tolls)? Just apply the analogy, you should be able to answer these questions on your own by now. Sometimes consumers accept the reasoning. Sometimes they fight back and protest and write nasty letters to the decision-makers. Because we're talking about a natural monopoly, however, dividing it into several duplicate networks raises and then tacking on some hefty profits makes the prices many times greater than they would otherwise be. So offering customers the choice to choose whether they want to pay $60 a month or $50 per month is an empty choice if in the nationalized monopoly the would only pay $30 per month.

Then what happens? If AT&T jacks the prices, we switch to someone who hasn’t jacked their prices. What do we do when there is only once choice?

This is not how oligopolistic industries work. They move in unison. In the cell phone industry they also rely on a dizzying selection of services that is difficult for customers to decipher. Some may find a particular plan that works for them better from one provider than from another provider, but when the general pricing of one goes up, they all tend to follow.

Most people on this board were unhappy with the service they were receiving from Microsoft and the other computer manufactories. They decided to switch to Apple in hopes of better service? Should they have lobbied for the government to take over computer manufacturing?

The computer industry is not a natural monopoly: not even close. So this has nothing to do with interstate highways systems nor telecommunications networks.

rob@robburns.co
Jul 13, 2007, 02:00 PM
Everyone wants 1st rate service from the government, the problem is we can't seem to get people in Washington to provide it. The reason for that, they do not care about us, they care about getting paid by big business corporations. Sure, when election time rolls around we are all given hope by politicians promising the world to us, as soon as election time is over, back to the status-quo. I would prefer the government stick to law creation/enforcement and let business be run by the public. The government can continue monitoring business practices by protecting consumer rights (which is often tainted by big business) but they have no business trying to take things over under the impression that they can run a business better than corporate America.

What your calling for government to do is the very status quo that you're complaining about. In other words the politicians promise they will serve the citizenry at election time. However, when the election is over and they return to Washington, they only serve the corporations. In other words they give public goods to corporate monopolists; they pass laws that favor those corporatists over the general population. I don't even see why you complain about government. Unlike me, you seem to be very happy with what government is doing: in other words, for you, its first rate already.

Last time I checked, the national deficit was still in the trillions because the government is the worst bank in the world.

When others will loan you trillions of dollars, that's an indication of how much faith they have in your business: and believe me they run the US government like a business (in the worst possible meaning of that phrase). If anyone would loan me more money, after I was trillions of dollars in debt, I would never take that as an indication of my failure. That is a sign of wild success: whether it is a government or a person (at least financial success).

GSMiller
Jul 13, 2007, 02:26 PM
^ Actually, the shady practices of cell phone carriers are causing this. The iPhone was one of many examples.

Yeah that's true. It's just mind boggling that over 1/3 of the entire population of the United States has a cell phone through only one of two companies (Verizon and AT&T)

sanford
Jul 13, 2007, 06:58 PM
Continuing this debate is pointless. Everything you mention above, while may be government funded/operated and does provide a service, is not by any means perfect and often not satisfying. Private hospitals and schools provide more complete/higher quality services than government operated ones. FedEx and UPS are faster and more reliable than the USPS, and often cheaper. Police, while only the military can rival, still often leave people unsatisfied and rival with bounty hunters and private detectives. Same can be said with attorneys, yes the government will provide you one, but they will not have near the education nor brilliance of a private attorney. The government is out to make money just like every corporation in the world, they are no different.

Allowing one entity absolute control over anything is not a good idea, but I will take the 3 or 4 corporations 'swindling' us(if that's what you want to call it) vs. the government taking things over and providing the same 2nd or 3rd rate service they do with everything else they control.

This debate has always been here and will continue to go unresolved long after our childrens' children are gone.

I can't contest your personal satisfaction with your own police and fire/rescue departments. My local police and paramedics saved my life one time, after I was mugged and severely beaten -- the police arriving on the scene in a timely manner caused the suspects to fell, and of course the paramedics stabilized me and quickly transported me to the nearest trauma center. I'm satisfied.

Bounty hunting is a profession serving the bonds industry, not because police forces aren't capable of doing the same thing. Police and constables serve failure to appear warrants all the time -- they just aren't paid for it by the bondsman. Private detectives rarely handle criminal matters. Some do -- in fact a family friend did just that, became rather famous in the 1980s for it, and wrote a few popular books about his cases. But he's the exception rather than the rule; although it's the exceptions we hear about in the media. Private detectives do what police forces are not charged to do, not what they can't get done.

As for healthcare, that's a blanket statement with no validity. *Some* private hospitals provide more complete or better services than public ones. My county hospital system provides some of the best care in the region. It's one of the top all-around residency programs for MDs and an outstanding teaching hospital -- private hospitals are teaching hospitals, too, so realize you're as likely to be treated by a resident at lots of private hospitals as in public ones. During the federal budget cuts of the 1980s, they had to cut their substance abuse program because they couldn't fund enough beds to matter; they kept an excellent psychiatric unit. Many private hospitals have neither psychiatric units nor substances abuse units, and less complete than some public hospitals.

In education, there are private schools that wallow in mediocrity compared to good public schools. The reverse is true, too, but paying tuition hardly assures your children a better education than some public schools offer.

FedEx and UPS don't deliver the mail. They're not structured to delivery the mail and therefore would very likely fail at it very quickly. They operate speciality freight and package services built around speedier delivery, although you pay more for that swiftness. FedEx does outstanding work in their market and in my experience are often worth the premium. UPS is hideous, the worst large delivery service in the nation. Neither are cheaper than the USPS for comparable services, and although USPS unlike FedEx only provides guaranteed delivery schedules for a few premium services, they're always less expensive than FedEx.

As for attorneys, I'm sure you mean public defenders. The quality of representation in general depends on the quality of the PD's office. Some are better than others. But there is a completely different system of public defense. My county has a very small public defenders office. The bulk of public defense is handled by rotation of the private criminal defenders practicing in this county's courts -- they are paid by the county, and though it's not what they make with private clients, most of them take it very seriously as their contribution to our system of justice. And these private criminal defenders and their supporting firms are the same "brilliant" men and women with JDs from top-tier law schools across the country; in other words, exactly who you'd pay tens of thousands -- or if you're a really bad guy, hundreds of thousands -- to represent you. So a mediocre PD's office is a bad way of providing a public service. The rotational system pulling from the pool of all the private criminal defenders in the local system works rather well.

The point is that picking a bad fashion by which the government provides public services and using it as example of how bad the government is at providing public services compared to private enterprise is an invalid argument. There's a good way to do it and a bad way to do it. We'd expect our government to do it the good way, and exercise our vote to put the sharp cookies in office to get it done with excellence.

The government does a lot of things well.

I agree the debate will last centuries, but we are reaching a maximum overload on the public and consumers in this country. We are, unfortunately and it brings me great sadness, on the decline as a highlight of contemporary Western civilization. (Anyone so inclined, save the "you're anti-American" rhetoric, please, as I am a committed American, my younger brother is a soldier ready for certain deployment to Iraq this autumn and I'm proud of his fearlessness in serving his country though I may disagree with the end goal of his mission. I'm dismayed by our decline and I wish only for improvement for our people.) So while the debate may last, I believe we are in watershed years, and things are going to get precipitously worse or, hopefully, many changes are forthcoming for the better.

sanford
Jul 13, 2007, 07:02 PM
There is a quote from Men In Black that says it all, 'A person is smart, people are stupid.'

There are at least two or three stunning insightful if not particularly original quotations from that movie. I almost find that frightening.

sanford
Jul 13, 2007, 07:05 PM
I am also done debating this as obviously we are not going to resolve the economic problems with our country. Wish we could, but we can't. I've enjoyed hearing the views of others and do take comfort in knowing there are people out there with such conviction towards the betterment of our country, whether I agree or disagree with how it should be achieved, I know that we all want to increase the strength of our nation and help it continue to prosper as the greatest nation in the world.

Applehero, despite our wide disagreement in matters of economic policy, I have to give you that you are a credit to your side of the fence. You're like the religious people who can see that people who aren't religious can still possess decency and a fine morality. You seem to see that what we of the other side of the fence are trying to achieve improvement and equity for the people of this country, not trying to undermine the nation. I appreciate that, quite a bit.

ccrandall77
Jul 13, 2007, 09:51 PM
Umm... WiMax is still years away from deployment, and even then, it will be in few, select areas. The best thing to do will be for them to implement EVDO Rev. 0 fully, then Rev. A, Rev. B, and so on. Rev. B and Rev. C have already been discussed. Curious, why do you see WiMax as the future? The CDMA networks will always be that, a CDMA network. The only thing they might use WiMax for is data as of right now, but CDMA is a superb network and does not need to be replaced anytime soon.


I ask again, why WiMax? It is extremely expensive to roll out right now, so it will be a few uears before it is even put up.

Really? Sprint is investing $1Billion in 2007 and up to $2Billion in 2008 to roll out WiMax:

http://www2.sprint.com/mr/news_dtl.do?id=12960

It's already scheduled to be available in trial markets by the end of this year... that's a far cry from it being years away.

Eventually, technology like WiMax could replace CDMA/GSM/etc by using it the same way you'd use Vonage or Skype... VoIP.

CalBoy
Jul 14, 2007, 12:02 AM
What your calling for government to do is the very status quo that you're complaining about. In other words the politicians promise they will serve the citizenry at election time. However, when the election is over and they return to Washington, they only serve the corporations. In other words they give public goods to corporate monopolists; they pass laws that favor those corporatists over the general population. I don't even see why you complain about government. Unlike me, you seem to be very happy with what government is doing: in other words, for you, its first rate already.

Actually, I think he's saying that making government larger will only lead to more of what's happening now. It seems that with American government, the more responsibility it has, the worse it performs. In which case, let the people do it themselves, afterall, government has the power to govern because we allow ourselves to be governed by it.


When others will loan you trillions of dollars, that's an indication of how much faith they have in your business: and believe me they run the US government like a business (in the worst possible meaning of that phrase). If anyone would loan me more money, after I was trillions of dollars in debt, I would never take that as an indication of my failure. That is a sign of wild success: whether it is a government or a person (at least financial success).

Agreed. There's nothing wrong with having a national debt. As long as it does't go out of control (more than 60% of GDP, which it has been doing since Bush took office), having a debt is actually a good thing. It allows people to receive more services than they pay in taxes. It also provides an avenue for investors to secure their savings.

CalBoy
Jul 14, 2007, 12:04 AM
Really? Sprint is investing $1Billion in 2007 and up to $2Billion in 2008 to roll out WiMax:

Yes, and Sprint is also dropping thousands of customers in NYC because they complained to customer service. Talk about bad:mad::mad::mad:

rob@robburns.co
Jul 14, 2007, 07:36 AM
Actually, I think he's saying that making government larger will only lead to more of what's happening now. It seems that with American government, the more responsibility it has, the worse it performs. In which case, let the people do it themselves, afterall, government has the power to govern because we allow ourselves to be governed by it.

That is definitely what I understood jarbake as saying saying. And that's the question I addressed. The difficulty in seeing my response addressed jarbake's statement/question is what makes the swindle so easy to accomplish.

The government is not the problem. The corporations are not the problem. The size of the government is not the problem. Government should be so large or so small as is necessary to serve the needs of its citizenry. Even if you believe the size of the government is too big, the corporatists have made it larger than ever. Also, with a corporasts state, the boundary between government and not-government: between government as the arm of civic society and the corporations that use it for their whim is blurred. So I would say that when assessing the size of government you have to include all those corporatist influences as a part of government. Make governmen t smaller by getting rid of the corporatists.

As far as the people doing it themselves. Natural monopolies are the most apt example of what the people cannot do for themselves. We cannot — each of us — create our own interstate system; our own telecommunicatons network; nor our own national defense system. These are the types of natural monopolies that we institute governments to do. If it weren't for natural monopoly, we might have no need whatsoever for a government.

Agreed. There's nothing wrong with having a national debt. As long as it does't go out of control (more than 60% of GDP, which it has been doing since Bush took office), having a debt is actually a good thing. It allows people to receive more services than they pay in taxes. It also provides an avenue for investors to secure their savings.

I didn't mean to suggest there's nothing wrong with a national debt. The size of it may be one indication of a problem. What the purpose of the borrowing was would be another issue. How its financed? There are all sorts of criteria one could use to decide whether the debt was justified or not or whether more borrowing should be pursued or not.

However, Applehero was trying to suggest that the large national debt was an indication of the financial insolvency of the government (or something to that effect). I'm saying that no one that can borrow at the rate the US government borrows can be considered financially insolvent. The private financial institutions that finance our national debt are basically saying we think the US is doing a great job. As democratic citizens should we trust the financial elite of the World, when they say that. No not at all. They have their own interests in what the US pursues. And we , the US citizenry (who only a small minority of us bless the US business acumen by financing the debt), have our own assessments of what US policy should pursue. We might not agree that, just because financial interests are eager to fund US operations, those operations are sound.

ccrandall77
Jul 14, 2007, 09:34 AM
Yes, and Sprint is also dropping thousands of customers in NYC because they complained to customer service. Talk about bad:mad::mad::mad:

That's a bit of an exaggeration. They only dropped 1000 - 1200 nationwide because their call volume into customer service was 40-50x greater than average.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19681390/

I've had my share of problems with Sprint's service, but come on, that's just plain ridiculous. These people are tying up lines so regular customers have to stay on hold longer. I'll bet most of these people are lunatics anyway and no matter how good the service is they'll still find a way to complain.

I say good riddance to those customers and thank Sprint for dropping them so my customer service experience is just a little bit better. Now if they could just get rid of their Latin American call centers I keep getting during normal business hours....

MikeyTree
Jul 14, 2007, 09:52 PM
Unfettered capitalism works about as well as unfettered Communism. Or do you advocate abandoning all services to disabled people, the absolute buying and selling of votes, the right of companies to take over public utilities like water and refuse to sell to any except the rich, to create a virus that infects everyone then charge for a vaccine?
Exactly. And even without the social and legal aspects, regulation is also essential to the long-term economic workings of capitalism. Just look at the SEC, which improves the market by keeping it stable and ensuring that the information people are relying on is accurate. For capitlalism to work we need compettition in the market, and regulation like we're discussing here is aimed at improving competition. They're analogous to anti-trust laws that improve competition by stopping anti-competitive monopolies.

mccldwll
Jul 15, 2007, 05:57 AM
"In some cases they were calling customer care hundreds of times a month for a period of six to 12 months on the same issues even after we felt those issues had been resolved," she said.

Speaking of exaggeration. Why would people keep calling on same issue if had, in fact, been resolved. I'm sure many were nutcases who couldn't be satisfied, but I'm also sure a large percentage were customers with legitimate complaints (and recent stories have documented some of those legitimate complaints).


"And even without the social and legal aspects, regulation is also essential to the long-term economic workings of capitalism. Just look at the SEC, which improves the market by keeping it stable and ensuring that the information people are relying on is accurate."

That certainly is what the SEC is supposed to be doing and the desired result but often, in practice, it's just window dressing to give the appearance of a level playing field. It's not.