How could competition be increased in the U.S. wireless industry?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by jnpy!$4g3cwk, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #1
    Editorial here five years after the iPhone. It brings together a bunch of related issues, including Apple, the carriers, and patents.

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/7/5/3138711/five-years-after-the-iphone-carriers-are-the-biggest-threat-to-innovation-editorial

    No real improvement is offered, though. Because of the interlocking issues and the underlying fundamental issue of limited spectrum, the U.S. is stuck with the carriers playing the same game year after year.

    So, what would bring real competition to the industry, make things more efficient, and lower cost? Ideas?
     
  2. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #2
    Nationalize them as an essential service, like libraries before them.
     
  3. malman89 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    #3
    I've been on Virgin Mobile since April 2011 and never looking back unless their pricing model and performance changes.
     
  4. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #4
    I like the public utility idea. It's something we all need, we all use and in the US, we, the public own.

    That's one reason why VM is Sprint's fastest growing division, it's cheap and easy. I've been a VM customer for 5 years and want an iPhone but am planning on switching to Straight Talk because even though I'm paying full price for the phone, it's locked to VM, and that is bs
     
  5. malman89 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    #5
    iPhone at VM's price is just not appealing to me. My rooted/custom ROM LG Optimus V still works perfectly fine. I was also wondering how VM was going to block tethering - a totally free thing on my Optimus V.

    I'm tempted at the HTC One V - really tempted. Just not sure if it'd be a big enough upgrade and I'm the "don't fix what isn't broken" sort of type. A Windows Phone on VM would really make me think about upgrading, though. A Nokia Lumia 800/900/910 would be tough to say no to.
     
  6. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #6
    For starters they could resplit AT&T/ SBC into smaller baby bells.
     
  7. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #7
    But isn't that GASP!....socialism?
     
  8. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Location:
    America's Third World
    #8
    Public libraries in the U.S. are not and never have been "nationalized". Federal monies pay typically cover 1-5% of a given library's operational costs. 85-90% of the funding for public libraries come from local sources (the bulk of which is usually raised via property taxes). As a result, U.S. public libraries in rural areas typically are very poor in comparison to their metropolitan counterparts.

    If we funded wireless communications like we do public libraries we'd have an even more screwed up system that we currently have.
     
  9. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    the faraway towns
    #9
    Nuke the contract/free phone system.

    The phone is a computer, the wireless provider is a dumb pipe. You want to change networks because Verizon doesn't work where AT&T does (stop laughing, it happens), switch the SIM card.

    Here's some thoughts about why.

    And, as he points about, Google switched its stance on Net Neutrality because it needed Verizon and Verizon hates Net Neutrality.
     
  10. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #10
    But this time it's OK.

    It's not your ox that's being gored.

    :p
     
  11. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #11
    How? Google, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, or some combination of these companies need to create their own network to act as a dummy pipe for their own services.

    I don't know how they'd split the cost of such a project, but if they really want to open up the US market, this is what they need to do.
     
  12. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #12
    The things that helped in the UK were:

    - One common phone system (GSM)
    Difficult to have competition between networks with incompatible standards

    - Very easy to move your number / contract from one carrier to another
    Get a 'PAC code' and the next day your number is transferred to another carrier

    - Ability to get all phones unlocked
    If my phone is unlocked there's nothing keeping me on a carrier's network and competition takes place.

    Perhaps if the US had all these things you might be able to get UK style pricing... ($16/month for 250 voice minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited data).
     
  13. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #13
    The problem with the "dumb pipe" wish is that these cellular providers, like cable providers, are "for profit" companies. They have to interject themselves into the process so they can maximize the return on their investments. Unfortunately this profit hurts consumer choice, stifles innovation, and costs ridiculously more than it should. Competition is near impossible because of the massive capital outlay for entrance to the market.

    Maybe for both cellular and cable networks, there should be a time at which the networks become available for any company to purchase a fair license to access. Say, current providers build a network and for x amount of years, they charge a toll on it, at a price they set. Then, when x years have passed, they turn over te networks to any party willing to purchase it for a regulated cost.
     
  14. Happybunny macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    #14
    For the exact same reasons as above the whole of Europe enjoys lower costs for both phone and internet costs. Even the rates for Pan Europe have dropped as per this July.
     
  15. BigQid macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    #15
    The model we have for managing wireless as a business is a little screwy and reduces competition. There are probably lots of ways to do it better. One simple one would be to have one national system, but have the companies compete to keep it up and running the way we treat highways. At this point only massive corporations can go into the business while there are thousands of contractors available to compete and bring down cost.
     
  16. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2002
    Location:
    Illinois
    #16
    It would seem that the FCC which sells bandwidth could, and should, require standardized accessibility so that a phone from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon would be able to access any available bandwidth on any available band. I understand that Verizon likes its competitive advantage as to coverage, but, with landlines, once the government mandated open access for all carriers, competition went up and prices went down.

    I think a similar requirement for cellular would be helpful and would radically change the pricing structures offered. In addition, it would help reduce the infrastructure costs. The question would be bandwidth available, not which bands are available.

    Unfortunately, I can't imagine any of the carriers agreeing to that. In addition, if AT&T could piggyback on Verizon's coverage in rural areas, then it would not have incentive to build out its infrastructure, reducing the available coverage/bandwidth.
     
  17. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #17
    Who really cares WTH they think, if Washington rules that the Internet has become a public necessity?

    I have no doubt that they have a heavy lobby presence in Washington, as do our "providers" in Canada.

    Bastards all.
     
  18. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #18
    The government can give incentives to make it worth building infrastructure, its how a lot of rural areas got fiber to the door before many of the cities did. If the government said they were spending tax money to provide better and cheaper wireless access I can't imagine anyone bitching.
     
  19. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Location:
    South Dakota, USA
    #19
    Absolutely not! No way do we need a Government run cell phone company. Competition is what drives this market and turning something like this over would be the worse thing we could do if you care about cutting edge technology. Prices would not come down if they were nationalized and likely the opposite would happen.

    How well is the US Postal Service is doing these days? Better then UPS or FedEx? I didn't think so.
     
  20. eric/ Guest

    eric/

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio, United States
    #20
    Yeah nationalizing them will by it's very nature eliminate competition.

    I'm not necessarily not in favor of regulating them though. One thing that would be great is 1900s style requirement for all internet service providers to provide fiber lines to all residences in America and the Internet becoming classified as an essential utility. Because it basically is. It's a virtual road and highway system to shop and use services.

    Allowing ISPs to dictate when and how much of the road you can use is rather anticompetitive by nature.

    For example, an ISP who also is a cable company could force an obscene data limit (like wireless companies currently do) and business such as Netflix who are direct competitors to cable and satellite providers lose a ton of business based on ISP denying access through GB caps.
     
  21. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #21
    The last 2 posts raises the question, how you do define the U.S. wireless industry.

    Cell phone networks, or Internet ones?

    I was speaking to the Internet, and how it mirrors the functions of a good, old library.

    I am less concerned with a replacement for your home phone, in favour of always being at the beck and call of every Tom, Dick and Harry.

    One is selective, and manageable, the other might not be the same, given the constraints placed upon your life, by school, boss, wife and family.
     
  22. eric/ Guest

    eric/

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio, United States
    #22
    Well I was kinda going off on a tangent on the whole fiber line thing.

    But in general, definitely nationalizing the wireless industry is not going to increase competition because by definition that eliminates the competition.

    The wireless industry is getting away with murder atm though. Wireless service has become essential to communication and the economy here in the US. Raping people with data charges should be illegal.
     
  23. swingerofbirch macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    #23
    I am the first person to say that public utilities should be government-run. For example, in Virginia, our power grid run by a monopoly is terrible. But I've found, that while expensive, the wireless carriers are pretty responsible for growing their infrastructure and does seem like there's a level of competition you don't find with other monopolies. During hurricanes, it seems like cell phone service is the one thing that doesn't disappear, compared to electricity, phone lines, cable service, and safe drinking water.

    I also don't know a lot about the technologies, but the companies do seem to be converging on interoperable technology with 4G technologies, at least I think so? Not sure about that. But AT&T has moved toward unlocking phones at the least.
     
  24. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #24
    The problem, from our perspective at least, is that Government LOVES the tax revenue, as it does from pretty much every service or product in Canada.

    Therein lays the problem. ;)

    It's almost as if they never heard the words "conflict of interest".
     
  25. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #25
    I always hated how mobile phone plans have a carrier loan baked into their rate plans. Even if you have a phone and are not on contract, you pay the same amount. I'd rather pay less monthly and choose when to buy a new device rather than essentially take out a high interest loan from the carrier on subsidized hardware.
     

Share This Page