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White House adviser David Edelman said the Obama Administration supports changing the law so...

White House adviser David Edelman said the Obama Administration supports changing the law so that consumers can unlock their cell phones and tablet computers so they can work on another operator's network. Mobile users had been allowed to unlock their devices without their carrier's permission until a recent change in the regulation by the Library of Congress' Copyright Office.
Comments (6)
  • Today's smart devices are computers in every sense of the word. As such, they need to be every bit as much network independent as desktops, laptops, etc. Network (carrier/operator) portability is good for competition and any monopolistic policies in this area are the anti-thesis of choice and capitalism.

     

    An analogy might be: Owning a car doesn't mean that I am limited to refueling at a specific gas station does it? Neither should owning a smartphone or device be so limited.
    5 Mar 2013, 04:02 AM Reply Like
  • Some good points, Tokamak. However, gas stations do not subsidize a majority of the cost of your automobile. If Chevron sold you a new car at a 50% discount in exchange for refueling exclusively with Chevron fuel would you complain about monopolistic practices?
    5 Mar 2013, 09:23 AM Reply Like
  • I second that, panamerican! If you pay full price for the phone, then you should be able to do with it as you please. However, if you take the subsidized phone, then you should be subject to the terms of the subsidy, otherwise, please remind me of the point of the subsidy....just that you needed a cheaper phone? Really?
    5 Mar 2013, 09:52 AM Reply Like
  • The 2 year contract monthly bill includes recuperation for the "subsidized" portion of the cost of the phone. This is the reason for imposing a $350.00 or more "early termination" fee. If the terms of the contract are fulfilled, the phone is property of the consumer, not the service provider.
    5 Mar 2013, 03:19 PM Reply Like
  • Hey Joebodden...so tell me just how the iPhone subsidy is repaid by the consumer. I'm not seeing it on my bill. How does it show up on yours? That's right....it doesn't.

     

    Whether I buy an iPhone or an unsubsidized phone on AT&T (for example), the data plan is the same cost. The subsidy is just that; a loss leader to attract highly profitable users to the AT&T system. iPhone users NEVER, repay this subsidy. The telecons are using this loss leader approach to attract the heaviest data users to their system. Then AT&T can profit by being able to service these heavy data needs at essentially no additional cost to AT&T...it is just incremental use of their existing data system. So yes, AT&T benefits, but they never actually see the money for the phone subsidy.

     

    It's just like the grocery store rewards card...The store gives you the card for free (a la the phone) and, if you are a frequent customer (a la a 2-yr contract), THEY benefit too. But the grocery store doesn't raise the price of groceries to you just because you have the card. And you can't take your card to a different store and get the same benefit. Ever.

     

    Why is this such a difficult concept? If it were anything else but a beneficial loss leader, why would the telecoms keep doing it? It's nothing but a loss leader grab for the best customers to support their very expensive data system. iPhone users are uncharacteristically high data consumers. Don't be deluded by the 2-yr 'contract'. It's nothing more than an exclusivity agreement....like the grocery card that is only good at one store.
    6 Mar 2013, 11:09 AM Reply Like
  • Seems crazy that I can't buy a Boost or Virgin Mobile phone (which in most cases are just last year's Sprint phones) and not be able to activate it on the Sprint network. Even though Sprint owns both pre-paid companies. It would seem that I could get the phone I want, and Sprint could retain a customer at a higher margin than it would have had on the pre-paid plans. Seems like a win-win. I could understand why they wouldn't want to activate a Verizon phone on their network - Verizon has a better selection for people that don't want the supersized screens or low-end android phones incapable of running the latest OS update.
    5 Mar 2013, 03:20 PM Reply Like
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