Possible dent in AT&T/Apple relationship?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by daneoni, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    "Wireless bill threatens iPhone exclusivity

    The House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet held a hearing today on a new draft law by Republican Ed Markey that would require every mobile provider to offer subsidy-free wireless customer equipment, effectively breaking the exclusive relationship between Apple and AT&T over the iPhone and allowing all owners of that handset to subscribe to a wireless carrier of their choice.

    The bill, titled "Wireless Consumer Protection and Community Broadband Empowerment Act," would establish new rules for wireless carriers that include offering unsubsidized service as well as disclosing rate plans to customers in a "clear, plain, and conspicuous manner."

    As part of the draft law, carriers would be obligated to provide more detailed maps of their network coverage areas, and would be forced to allow customers to cancel contracts for any reason without penalty within the first 30 days as well as prorate any fees associated with leaving a contract early."

    Taken from Appleinsider
  2. Telp macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2007
    This sounds good upfront, but it doesn't make a lot of sense in reality. If something like this goes through it's not going to be good. In my mind, it wouldn't look good, that is to say.
  3. SFStateStudent macrumors 604


    Aug 28, 2007
    San Francisco California, USA
    That dog don't HUNT...

    how can they expect the iPhone to work with Verizon & Sprint? That's the last thing I would want for my iPhone! Sprint screwed my for almost 10 years, before I made the jump to AT&T, and their phone selection is a joke. I can't see the iPhone operating on their network anyway. :mad:
  4. BOSS10L macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2008
    Upstate NY
    It's big government masquerading as a ploy to help the people again. Let the business do their thing. If Sprint and/or Verizon had wanted the iPhone, they should have stepped in. The Dems need something more constructive to work on right now. :rolleyes:
  5. carfac macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2006

    If senators knew how to (properly, for profit) run a business, they wouldn't be in the senate.
  6. paduck macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    I doubt this will become law, the whole US legislative system is designed NOT to do anything. Hence its success as a tool of governance.

    However, in terms of regulation, I don't see anything the matter with compelling companies to sell their equipment unlocked. There isn't a huge downside to the consumer. The argument about Sprint and Verizon is irrelevant - the law doesn't compel the iPhone to be compatible with their networks, it compels AT&T/Apple to not sell locked versions of phones. There isn't a lot of choice in terms of technology on those phones in the US (basically AT&T and Tmobile). The real benefit I see if for US international travelers who want to buy SIMs in other countries and use them. Sure, there will be some marginal benefit to people who take a GSM phone to Tmobile, but the real benefactors are people traveling internationally - AT&T just isn't losing that many customers to Tmobile with iPhones. In the long-run, maybe the US cellular phone industry consolidates on a single standard, but in the meantime, no. Also, in the long-run, Apple might not be the one with the hot new phone, so AT&T could benefit from Tmobile phone deals as well. The CDMA folks are still out of luck unless they find a hot new phone that doesn't have a GSM model that came out a year before in Europe....

    The other benefactor is the foreign customer who wants an iPhone, but has no domestic supplier. You can bet Apple is aware of that issue and is working overtime to expand iPhone as far as possible to limit that sort of unlocking - and to gain access to the exclusive revenue stream from each country.
  7. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    No offense to AppleInsider, but I can't figure out what the hell they're talking about. I read the bill, and the ONLY part having to do with "subsidy-free equipment" (which is what AppleInsider focused on) is this:

    1) All carriers must offer a plan that contains no early termination fee.
    2) In those plans, if they offer subsidized phone, they must also offer a subsidy-free equipment option.

    That's it! As long as you offer those things, it says nothing about NOT offering anything else in addition to these plans.

    So can anyone explain how this means that the iPhone must be sold un-locked? Or that another carrier can sell it? Or...anything that AppleInsider said?

    'Cause I don't see it. And yes, that's the only place in the document that "subsidy-free" appears.
  8. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Just be glad the US Senate is working on something that doesn't make you look like a backwater bunch of doofuses. Two top things on the agenda in the great state of Georgia:

    1) No more out-of-state colleges getting their logo on license plates unless their state allows GA colleges on theirs. This happened about a day after the University of Florida plates came out. I hate UF with a passion, but that sho' doesn't fill the lake back up...

    2) Moving the state line north to tap into the Tenn. River. I think we're a national joke.

    If our state senate had something better to do like that communications bill, wooooo maybe we wouldn't look so stupid. :)
  9. AMoeini macrumors member


    Dec 25, 2007
    There could be ups and downs if the bills is passed. I personally would rather risk unlocking a current iPhone and spending 200-300$ more for an unlocked OTB one. Oh, and quick question, If per chance Apple were to unlock the phone for any reason but they would have sell it for more (ATT would no longer subsidize the cost) would that be a software or hardware issue? As is, buy an iPhone now, find out later it's going to be supported on other Networks and upgrade your phone (skip the $200-300)
  10. marksman macrumors 603


    Jun 4, 2007
  11. polishmacuser macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2007
    Los Angeles
    please let us hope that we can unlock our iphones, i just want to use this bloody beautiful device in europe without paying insane bills is that too hard to ask for. Screw tmobile here what does tmobile have on att seriously thats the only competing gsm carrier here. France can have unlocked iphones and somewhat germany but we cant or britain. I really just feel sorry for the canadians, bleh i wish we can buy something and have full control of it. My two cents eh and thats why hackers exist apple :cool:

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