The US Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is studying deals like AT&T's exclusivity for the iPhone, and how that balances business freedoms, technology innovation, consumer competition, and the effects on smaller, rural carriers.

In response to AT&T retail sales and services president, Paul Roth's assertion that exclusivity provides more innovation, lower cost, and more choice, PC World quotes Senator John Kerry's response:

"I accept the benefits you articulated but I'm having a difficult time trying to envision why an innovator, given the size of the market and the number of outlets, is not going to innovate to produce a product that is equally competitive [to an exclusive phone] ... because it wants to appeal across different providers,"

This exchange followed on the heels of the committee sending a joint letter to the FCC, which according to InformationWeek asked for a determination as to whether "exclusivity agreements are restricting consumer choice".

We know a lot of you want your iPhone on Verizon already, but should Apple and AT&T be allowed to come to whatever agreements each sees fit, or is there a roll for government to limit that for the good of consumers who's interests may diverge at times from corporations?

[Thanks to Icebike for the repeated heads up]