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New Bill to Clarify Cellphone Contracts 177

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the immediately-suspect-for-caring-about-the-common-man dept.
theorem4 writes to tell us that US Senators today unveiled legislation designed to empower cell phone customers across the nation by providing more protections and guaranteed options. "The Cell Phone Consumer Empowerment Act of 2007 will require wireless service providers to share simple, clear information on their services and charges with customers before they enter into long-term contracts; a thirty-day window in which to exit a contract without early termination fees; and greater flexibility to exit contracts with services that don't meet their needs."
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New Bill to Clarify Cellphone Contracts

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  • money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @04:34AM (#20518987)
    watch for the "but we need to make money" argument... which is flawed - you also MUST provide a reasonable level of service to deserve said money
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Nonsense.

      If someone is willing to pay an amount for any arbitrary level of service (or even no service), that amount can (and will) be charged.

      Businesses will always charge the highest amount people are willing to pay. That's capitalism.

      "Must"? "Deserve"? These terms have no meaning when it comes to the free market.
      • Re:money (Score:5, Insightful)

        by KDR_11k (778916) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @05:17AM (#20519135)
        That only works when the market is overflowing with "sellers". In a near-monopoly position people can be forced into much, MUCH worse conditions simply because they need the service and they can't get a deal that doesn't require pledging their first-born.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          Technically true, but does not apply to this situation.

          Is there a monopoly for cell phones? What is the name of this monopoly carrier? Oh, there's more than one? And they compete against each other? Hmm.

          I understand what you are saying, but there is no near-monopoly. It's not super expensive to get into the business band and set up a private repeater (a la, Cricket). I mean, sure, it's not hobbiest-level, but with minimal financial backing you could put a service up for your town, and then charge what
          • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

            by TexVex (669445)

            And they compete against each other?

            No, they don't. How do you compete over customers who are locked into contracts? Cell phone carriers collude, and it doesn't matter if it's complicit or implicit collusion. Each carrier has its own brands of phones, which are built to be incompatible with each others' networks, so that means the cell phone manufacturers are in on the deal as well. Because of the contract-subsidized discounts (it's really usury in disguise) on the locked-in phones, they can and do over

            • How do you compete over customers who are locked into contracts?
              Anyone on Slashdot who has a cell phone contract should turn in his geek card. (Except if you did it to get an iPhone)
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by CBM (51233)
        Markets are more efficient when information flows freely and is accurate.

        Cell phone companies apparently obscure the terms of service and costs, and consumers end up being less than ideally informed. Competition in the cell phone industry is also limited since spectrum is a limited resource, and the barriers to entry are high.

        For contract phones, the companies tend to compete on features rather than costs, for example number of minutes, "friends and family." For the market segment of consumers that are c
      • Fraud is never capitalism. Fraud is a crime that frequently will not be investigated/prosecuted in the USA. USA capitalism ended shortly after the civil war. The USA economy for the last 50 to 100 years has been a government mandated corporatist-zombie. The accumulation of profits are very personal focused, reinvestment of profits decrease for more accounting/stock-scams (not development/expansion), and gains are protected by government protected closed corporate market shenanigans. The new law will provid
      • by sjames (1099)

        "Must"? "Deserve"? These terms have no meaning when it comes to the free market.

        Sure they do. A seller MUST represent the product honestly and the customer deserves to get what he paid for. That is also part of the free market and its enforcement is generally the one government intervention in the market that is generally accepted as a good idea.

        In an age where so many cell providers routinely tack on unpredictable surcharges (you only find out about them on the first bill), lie about coverage, make a

      • In a truly free market the words "employee rights", "unions", "overtime" don't exist either. The government had to write laws to mandate all of those things because companies were screwing over everyone.
    • Why even that? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheMCP (121589) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @06:38AM (#20519425) Homepage
      I intend to write my senators to oppose the bill, on the basis that it gives a stamp of approval to the whole idea of long term cell contracts: even if my cell provider provides perfectly good service, I should be able to drop them any time I feel like it, just like a landline phone. I can cancel a landline phone any time I want to, and the phone company has to cut the bill off based on the number of days of the month I actually had the phone line active. Why should a cellular provider be able to give me any less generous terms?

      Many negative factors about the US cell phone system rely on the lengthy contracts or are caused by them: the US gets only the crappy phones the carriers choose to offer and not all the exciting phones sold in europe and japan, because in the US the carriers sell all the phones, because it's the excuse for the lengthy contracts. Indeed, the only really innovative phone to come along in the US is the iPhone, and even that is contractually tied to a single carrier. Also, in the US we have less technological advancement in the network itself because the carriers know you're locked in and can only use the phones they select, so they have less incentive to upgrade because you can't leave them and there's little competition if you could. Further, all the carriers have reputations for poor customer service and network reliability issues in some locations, and frankly they're also all reputed to not care very much, because they know that any customer churn they suffer will be replaced by incoming competitors fleeing the exact same problems from their "competitors".

      If we eliminated the lengthy contracts, cell companies would lose their incentive to offer discounts on phones, and would likely choose to start charging full price for phones. This would likely result in a competitive market for equipment arising, resulting in more consumer choice. Further, carriers would then have to directly compete on plan prices and services, resulting in more consumer choice on plans, likely lower prices, and probably also the companies improving their network speed in an effort to actually compete with each other for a change. And of course, they'd have to start giving a damn about dropped calls instead of just blaming the customer, because the customer can actually drop them on the spot and go to someone else until they find someone who can actually give them reliable service.

      So, I intend to write to my senators and tell them that if they really want to do any good in the cellular phone market, they should ban all cell phone contracts... or at least, ban all fees for breaking the contract, which would have essentially the same effect.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Skater (41976)
        Uh, I believe you can get cellphone service without a contract. Buy the phone outright then go monthly. Or get a prepaid cellular phone.
        • While I agree with you, keep in mind that in the US, there are a half dozen different kinds of cell phone technology. This causes 2 big problems, one, you can't take your Sprint Cell phone and move to T-Mobile service, because the phone won't work. And number 2, it is not cost effective to manufacture cheap, simple cell-phones in the US, because you would have to make several different types of the same phone. So the companies work closely with the cell-phone service companies, and develop the phones tha
        • No, not true. For the major carriers, you have to buy a 1 or 2 year contract to get the lowest price.
        • by TheMCP (121589)
          It depends on which provider you're using, and which plan. Some providers will not offer service without a contract. Among those that do, I know for a fact that my provider will not offer certain plans without a contract. Now, think about that for a minute: that means that I have to commit to a year of being locked into that provider just so that I can have the privilige of... paying them money every month. And for that commitment, they give me... nothing special. And I paid full price for my own phone!

          So,
      • by leenks (906881)
        Europe really isn't all that different you know... We generally have lengthy contracts (though O2 in the UK recently offered a 1month notice contract, but you BringYourOwnPhone and it is an exception to the norm) - many are 18 or 24 months now, and the phones are offered free or at a big discount if you take these contracts. Termination fees apply if you are within the contract period just the same as in the US.
        • by Ajehals (947354)
          You can get monthly contracts if you don't need or want a "free" phone, the issue is that all the high street retail shops will try to push a phone plus contract deal (to the point where some of the third party suppliers will tell you its the only way to do it). If you call a given carrier and tell them you have a phone and want to use it on their network with terms similar to one of their contracts they will set it up for you.
      • by GooberToo (74388)
        I should be able to drop them any time I feel like it, just like a landline phone. I can cancel a landline phone any time I want to, and the phone company has to cut the bill off based on the number of days of the month I actually had the phone line active. Why should a cellular provider be able to give me any less generous terms?

        Because unlike a land line, these days you most likely get a phone in the deal. The expense has to be covered. If you own your phone free and clear, I agree. Otherwise, they hav
        • by jZnat (793348) *

          ... they have a right to make money like any other business, which includes recouping their investment in you as a customer.
          Nobody, and I mean nobody has a right to make money in any sort of capitalistic market. The only right you have is the right to start your own business in that market if you can cover the costs of starting said business.
          • by GooberToo (74388)
            Nobody, and I mean nobody has a right to make money in any sort of capitalistic market.

            That is of course, completely incorrect. Everybody has the right to make money when both parties agree to the terms up front. If you don't want him to make money, don't give him the right by signing the contract.

            Is this, "I have no common sense or business knowledge day" on Slashdot or what? Shesh.
        • by TheMCP (121589)
          And when they have recouped their investment, how come I'm still locked in until the contract is up? Or do you think all phone values come in nice neat multiples of one or two years of profit margin?

          And if I want out, why can't I just pay off the difference between the amount they have recouped and the discount they gave me on the phone? Why do I have to pay an outrageous fee (which is probably more than they paid for the phone in the first place) instead?
          • by GooberToo (74388)
            how come I'm still locked in until the contract is up?

            Because of the obvious answer, people are stupid. For years they moved away from contracts but the consumer pissed their pants waiting in lines to sign back up for stupid contracts. You're a victim of being surrounded by morons.
          • by GooberToo (74388)
            Is general business practices in a free market and customer retention really this much of a mystery to you?
      • Re:Why even that? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Skapare (16644) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @09:01AM (#20520019) Homepage

        I have to disagree with you. Contracts should not be banned. Some people even like those. They can get a new phone every couple years without paying a lot up front. These are the same people that lease cars and trade up every 2 or 3 years.

        Cell phone contracts used to be the only way the majority of people could afford a cell phone. This practice emerged from the days of mobile phones before cellular technology, which existed at least as far back as the 1950's although I don't know what all the terms were then. The first one I ever saw even used tubes (not transistors) inside a pair of large boxes installed in the trunk of a car. When cellular technology emerged, the phones were still fairly large and also expensive due to lack of economy of scale. That, of course, eventually changed.

        The problem is, of course, the cell phone service providers still like the term contracts for many reasons I'm sure you are aware of. They try to make it hard for people to get phone service, or even phones, any other way.

        But you can buy an unlocked cell phone even in the USA, and then sign up with the carrier of your choice. A friend of mine who works for a major cell phone service provider based on GSM [wikipedia.org] technology in the customer service inbound call center has told me that a fraction of a percent of customers are in fact monthly no-term customers using unlocked phones. They are trained not to offer such services, but do know how to sign people up if someone wants it. He also told me that it is a full price service that way, about as costly as a pre-paid phone.

        You can find unlocked phones easily. For example at Amazon.Com, look at the left side of the home page under "Consumer Electronics" and click on that link. From that page of cell phones, on the left side find a whole subsection of links for unlocked phones. Be sure you get 850/1900 MHz phones for use in the USA and a few other countries in the Americas. If you want a phone good for international use, get a triband (850/1800/1900 for both USA bands) or quadband phone.

        These phones are apparently overseas phones that may or may not come with a USA warranty. That's one of the problems in the USA is that the manufacturers are not selling directly to retailers here that I can find. It could help if we get wording added to this law change that requires the manufacturers to make their phones available to resellers that want to sell them a full price as no contract unlocked phones. Then people can have a choice.

        Some other places to look for unlocked phones are here [cellular-blowout.com], here [puremobile.com], here [ustronics.com], here [cellhut.com], and here [cellularcountry.com].

        • You start out saying that contracts shouldn't be banned, and then every point after the first (contracts make financing a new phone simpler) is a problem caused by the ubiquity of contracts or tricks they use to force you into a contract. Delete the first paragraph and the remaining points are all good arguments for banning long-term cellphone contracts.
          • by Skapare (16644)

            I still stand by my position that the term contracts should not be banned. Instead, the phone companies should be required to divulge that alternatives exist. And manufacturers need to be required to make the phones available to domestic resellers under standand warranty sale.

            I don't want to take away one particular method of purchase. While that might speed up getting decent phone service for those that hate contracts (I being one of them), I'm opposed to the idea of taking away an option some people w

            • by argent (18001)
              Instead, the phone companies should be required to divulge that alternatives exist.

              They would just make it unpleasant and expensive enough to get a phone without a contract that it wouldn't matter for most people.

              And manufacturers need to be required to make the phones available to domestic resellers under standand warranty sale.

              It wold be more useful to make limitations on any warranties (or other restrictions on purchase or use) based on the country violations of free trade agreements.

              But that kind of *co
        • by sjames (1099)

          I would say a better option is to require all phones to come unlocked and use sim cards. Even a customer that is happy in a long term contract may have good reason to want to use it on more than one account, for example, a work account on weekdays and put the personal simcard in on nights and weekends. A customer that wants the cheap or free phone is free to enter into a long-term contract to get it. Customers that want to keep their old phone are free to do so with the sim card. Carriers should be required

          • by dgatwood (11270)

            Agreed. To achieve this, though, you have to be more subtle. Pass a law that says that the bill must clearly spell out the portion of the bill that is amortizing the cost of the phone over the contract period, and mandate that the monthly cost be reduced by that amount after the initial contract period unless the customer explicitly requests and receives a new phone.

            Such a law would force the actual cost of the phone to be more obvious to the consumer and would cause a huge shift away from subsidized ph

        • by Nevyn (5505) *

          I have to disagree with you. Contracts should not be banned. Some people even like those. They can get a new phone every couple years without paying a lot up front. These are the same people that lease cars and trade up every 2 or 3 years.

          People like paying a small monthly fee instead of a single "large" payment, News at 11. Leasing a car is a pretty bad analogy for a start most people don't get them that way, opting for 3-6 year loans (an option not really available with cell phones). This is more like

      • If you want fancy phones not offered by your carrier, Nokia has a few retail stores in NA where you can get whatever you want and with GSM networks, the service provider never has to hear about it or approve it.

        My current cell service provider offers free phones of comparable value to the sign-up model with each contract renewal - 1 year for low-end phone, 2 years for mid-range and 3 years for high-end. Open by-the-month contracts cost between $5 and $10 extra per month and you get neither subsidized phones
        • by Lehk228 (705449)
          30 min / month? Net10 service is $15/month minimum purchase and that gets you 150 minutes per month. on their web site you can get refurb phones dirt cheap as well.
          • Do your unused minutes carry over to the next month? Does it include call-waiting, call forwarding, voice messaging, GPRS, text and roaming?

            While my $10 prepaid plan is only 30 minutes, the unused part does carry over to the next month and I have all the services. My carrier also has $15 unlimited night&weekend and $20 unlimited incoming plans if I needed them. In all cases, unused package time carries over.
            • by Lehk228 (705449)
              roaming is free, rollover is very yes, call waiting is yes, afaik no forewarding, voicemail is very yes, and the menus more responsive and less wasted time (minutes) than verizon, text is cheap (5c each way on new phones, mine is 3 out 0 in, and no on GPRS. the 150 card USED to be every 15 days but they boosted it to 30 and the $30 card to 60 then recently dropped the $15 card, so it's $30 every other month.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by JoelKatz (46478)
        "Why should a cellular provider be able to give me any less generous terms?"

        You don't have to accept any terms you don't like. So what you are asking is, "why should I be allowed to accept bad terms?" And the answer is that you are a responsible adult who can make their own decisions. You don't need anyone else to protect you from your own stupidity because you aren't stupid.

        If you want to accept some level of lock-in in exchange for a lower price, why should someone else prevent you from doing so?

        That said
  • Good! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Phoenix Wright (1153585) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @04:51AM (#20519043) Homepage
    I think this is a great idea. I just moved back to the US from Japan. I actually never had a cell phone (gasp!) until I went to Japan. Now that I'm back, I'm looking for a local replacement.

    So far, every plan I've seen is incomprehensible or misleading. Or both. As soon as I find a reasonable, understandable plan, I'll jump at it.

    Still looking...
    • Re:Good! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Seumas (6865) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @06:47AM (#20519443)
      I don't see what the big deal is with cell phone bills. They don't seem all that complex to me. The problems I've had with phone bills is six straight months where I had to spend hours each month on the phone, because they were double-billing me. Or the many months I had to deal with them where they kept adding services to my account that I specifically refused and asked not to have... and that they would add back again after I spent hours on the phone removing them. Or the two times they turned off my unlimited net access on my phone, causing me to rack up thousands of dollars in bills for what should have been a $20 unlimited fee.

      None of these were due to the contract. These were all due to crappy business practices and nothing else.

      There shouldn't be anything *deceiving* in a phone bill. I can certainly agree with that. But I don't see why they should be legally bound to make a phone bill read at a fifth grade level like the daily newspaper.
      • by sjames (1099)

        There shouldn't be anything *deceiving* in a phone bill. I can certainly agree with that. But I don't see why they should be legally bound to make a phone bill read at a fifth grade level like the daily newspaper.

        The clearer and simpler the bill must be the harder it is to sweep the many errors under the rug. Complexity is sometimes used as a tool to commit "deception in plain sight". Considering that there's nothing in a cellphone bill that should require more than a 5th grade education to understand,

  • I'll be visiting the US from Canada soon and I have a pay-per-minute cell phone plan (I don't use enough minutes per month to justify a monthly plan). How bad are roaming charges in the US? I've heard nightmare stories of people getting billed ridiculous amounts of money per call when travelling. Is this just FUD or should I just turn the thing off until I need it?
    • Why are you directing your call to what I assume are American Slashdotters? You need to contact your carrier in Canada and ask them what the charges are when using your phone in the United States.

      You mention that you are on a pay as you go plan. I looked up the various roaming charges while in the United States for you:

      Rogers Pay as You Go and Fido pre-paid:

      Calls Back to Canada from the U.S. $2.49 per minute
      Calls within the U.S. while in the U.S. (local and long distance calls) $2.49 per minute
      Incoming call
      • by pipingguy (566974) *
        I did try to ask my provider (it's a major one), waited for too long for an answer (we're transferring you now.......CLICK), and gave up. Perhaps customer service is not a priority for those not paying monthly or maybe it was just a really busy day for CSRs. Then I called my ex-wife, who used to work for the cell phone company in question, and she told me to fuck off (I guess I should have expected that).

        I was hoping for some feedback/personal experience from Canadians that have roamed in the US. There m
    • by rts008 (812749)
      Really and truly not trying to be a jerk, but wouldn't you try calling your service provider with those same questions to get an at least semi-accurate answer?

      Disclaimer:
      I do not use/own, or have in my presence a cell phone- I do not really know Jack about this subject, but was just curious.

      Hhmm?...There are the 'buy some minutes' type solutions for most of the mainstream service providers...ie: AT&T, NetZero, Xingular, etc... at least in Oklahoma...If we have it, surely it is already thriving everywhe
      • by pipingguy (566974) *
        ...at least in Oklahoma...

        I hope to get to OK someday, we Canucks hear about these places but never visit them. Even though we know more about you than you know about us the US is still interesting. Stereotypes abound eh.
    • by Gnavpot (708731)

      I'll be visiting the US from Canada soon and I have a pay-per-minute cell phone plan (I don't use enough minutes per month to justify a monthly plan). How bad are roaming charges in the US? I've heard nightmare stories of people getting billed ridiculous amounts of money per call when travelling. Is this just FUD or should I just turn the thing off until I need it?

      I have no idea how it works in Canada/USA. But I can tell you that in Europe, you have to very careful if you have an answering service in your

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
        Which carrier is this? I've never heard of it or had it happen and I'd raise hell if one tried to pull it on me.

        It doesn't even make sense - if your phone is off it isn't even on the network so there's nowhere for it to route.. the have no idea what country you're in.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by JackHoffman (1033824)
          All providers do it that way. It only happens if you use conditional call diversion: You're in a foreign country, your cellphone rings and you don't answer it (or you reject the call or the phone is off), the call is diverted (back) to your mailbox, you pay roaming charges for "receiving" the call in the foreign country and for diverting the call back to your home country. Yes, it's a trap. It's particularly dangerous for people who live close to a border where the phone often switches to the foreign networ
        • by Gnavpot (708731)

          It doesn't even make sense - if your phone is off it isn't even on the network so there's nowhere for it to route.. the have no idea what country you're in.

          Of course it makes sense. Otherwise I would not have written it.

          The phone will be "registered" to the network it was last connected to. So all calls go to that network, also when it is switched off.
    • by cyberwench (10225)
      Nightmarish. Make sure you read all the small print - usually if you dig enough you can find the full description of fees in the middle of some contract on their web site. If you've got a GSM phone, you can ask the carrier to unlock it for you and then just get a prepaid SIM in the US. It'll probably be much cheaper in the long run. Another thing to keep in mind is that if your phone is on and a call goes through to it - even if you don't answer it, you'll be charged for that call. That was a fun charge to
  • by evanbd (210358) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @05:13AM (#20519113)

    I want a $39.95 plan to actually cost $39.95. As in, that's the number at the bottom of the bill that I have to pay each month.

    I don't want to pay "regulatory surcharges" or "cost recovery fees" or anything else that isn't included in the advertised price. And this goes for all these sorts of contracts, not just cell phones.

  • Novel Idea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eggman9713 (714915)
    How many people actually read the contracts? I actually read my entire contract and understand it, and have nothing to complain about. People need to actually read and understand their current contracts beofre they can complain about them.
    • The complaint is that no matter what service you pick, you have to sign a contract. Consumers have no choice (in America, not true in the UK), because EVERY company uses the exact same contract model. People don't read the contracts because they are all basically the same...x minutes...x data...blah blah blah...eight million dollars to cancel early...small print...blah...legalese....blah.
  • My coworker switched phone companies and didn't get a chance to try the new phone from home for the three days window they give you (can't remember why but he had a good reason). Guess what, it turns out he didn't have any service in his house, as in zero bars. He wrangled with them for weeks but in the end he had to pay cancellation fees.

    That's the problem with the buyer beware libertarian crowd. What if the buyer is not a trained lawyer and does not understand every small print clause in every contract fo
    • One of the standard arguments against Libertarian philosophy, and especially that section of it embraced by many neo-conservative groups is that a lot of the time it ends up merely being an excuse for those who want to prey on the weak.
    • That's the problem with the buyer beware libertarian crowd.

      Fraud is against libertarian principles. "Buyer beware" is not a libertarian maxim. The situation you describe, the convoluted contracts and small print, is contrary to libertarian ideals.

      Just fyi. [wikipedia.org]
    • You realize that, in the example you gave, it was your friend's inaction that caused him to have to pay the cancellation fees? He decided that he had other priorities during those three days. Fine. But if he decided that he had more important things to do than test his cellphone (something that takes 20 seconds), then he should be prepared to deal with the consequences (either no service, or a cancellation fee.)

      But that's not the real problem. The real reason that the US cellphone market SUCKS is the
  • Hopefully this will make the contracts less attractive as a whole.

    Seriously, can you think of any other service industry like this? power, cable, phone, trash pickup, isp, hosting provider, magazine subscription, ...

    Sure, sometimes you'll see a special rate that only applies if you continue the service for a fixed period, but why is that you cannot get cell service at all without the contract? (Well, I suppose there are those shitty prepaid networks.)

    Something is completely flawed with the whole s

  • by Anonymous Coward
    There's an old saying in D.C. that an "act" -The cellphone empowerment whatever whatever funny acronym ACT- usually means the opposite of whatever it claims in the title.

    The Patriot Act took away things the patriots fought for, the tax freedom act put in more restraints and took away freedoms, and so on. If they had a "Save the babies act" it would probably involve NOT saving them. Seriously, it's THAT bad.

    So when you hear about some new act, assume it's out to get you somehow and respond accordingly.
  • I may sound cynical (though where the Congress is concerned, is that possible?), but how many here wonder whether or not a Congressman/woman or someone from his/her immediate family was recently jacked up on cell phone charges? Forgive me, but I am always somewhat suspicious when legislation is suddenly introduced to allegedly empower consumers given the amount of money it truly takes to lobby the Congress to get anything done these days.
  • Wake me up when I can have cell phone service like I had when I lived in England, otherwise, this is a bunch of posturing by politicians wanting to look hip. There are a few industries in America (telecomunications, cable television, for example) with such messed up business models, yet strong monopolistic locks, it just angers me to no end. Once business gets this far out of control (or actually IN control, but so much so, they are out of control) it is time to regulate. I don't mind lock-in, as long as
  • The telecommunications lobby in this country is huge and I guarrantee that the bill will be defeated. Anyway, as is prototypical of politics these days, the bill is only half-assed concieved. A contract usually implies a guarrantee of minimum service level. What about when the Sprint, ATT, and T-Mobile's of the worlds service works great for thirty days and all of a sudden quality drops off sharply? I am sure this has happened before. Shouldn't you have a right to kick the provider to the curb if this
  • VOIP and POTS contracts can be pretty obtuse, too. And how about those "triple play" contracts that include TV and internet access, too? Even the name of the bill is short-sighted.
  • by retro128 (318602) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @06:28PM (#20523751)
    How about we make cell branding and locking illegal?
    How about exclusive contracts cell manufacturers and service providers illegal?
    How about we make disabling features on the cell phone you paid for unless you ransom it back from your service provider illegal? (Verizon Bluetooth OBEX transfer, anyone? Using your phone as a DUN connection for your laptop?)

    The reason the North American cell industry sucks so much is because manufacturers and service providers are working too closely together and nerfing our phones for the purpose of shaking more change out of our pockets. Implementing the above would bring us in line with how everyone else in the world does things. The bill in TFA is a joke. Congress is stroking it, as usual.

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