Rural Networks Frustrated with Exclusivity Deals

Rural cell phone carriers have asked the Federal Communications Commission to investigate the common exclusive deals between major national carriers and handset vendors, RCR Wireless News reports. The article said that it takes aim at an entrenched business practice that the rural carriers assert is anti-competitive, and denies rural residents in many states access to popular wireless devices.

“For many consumers, the end result of these exclusive arrangements is being channeled to purchase wireless service from a carrier that has monopolistic control over the desired handset, and having to pay a premium price for the handset because the market is void of any competition for the particular handset,” stated the Rural Cellular Association.

“For other consumers—particularly rural ones—these exclusivity arrangements prevent them from purchasing many of today’s most popular handsets because they reside in areas not served by the one carrier offering the desired handset.”

This is something that happens all the time, with lots of big name releases from LG, Motorola, Samsung, and (obviously) Apple, among others. It’s yet another reason why carrier networks in the U.S. have too much control over their customers, along with their restrictive two-year agreements, cancellation fees, locked-down networks and inability to use devices between carriers even when the technology (GSM or CDMA) is compatible.