Congress Debates Carrier Exclusivity Deals, Does Something Right for Once
Every once in a while our overpaid representatives on Capital Hill actually do have a clue, when pockets are lined with the right amount of ahem generous contributions. A Congressional hearing on Wireless Innovation and Consumer Protection, two things our Legislature knows nothing about, debated the topic of exclusivity deals between carriers and handset makers.
Democrats led the charge outlining the evils of these seedy agreements that undermine competition and erect walled gardens around carrier's subscriber base.
Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey quoted a popular song by the Eagles, when describing the five year exclusive contract between Apple and AT&T.
"The problem with the iPhone is that the iPhone with AT&T is kind of like a 'Hotel California' service. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."
Hah! Eddy, you may not be my Congressman but you got my vote. The real comedy from this hearing came when lawmakers addressed the forum while waving their iPhones around in a threatening manor. That's the kind of pork barrel spending I can appreciate. sigh
Sadly very little came out of this debate as no bill or formal proposal has been put forth (yet) to create legislation. But I'll bet you a shiny new quarter that if iPhone really does spark a large migration of Verizon and Sprint subscribers to AT&T, they will eagerly embrace congress's efforts in order to unlock AT&T's stranglehold on the iPhone. And so would Apple. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if contributions from Cupertino are behind this chatter. After all, Apple more than anyone stands to benefit from exclusivity breakup.