Verizon offers small carriers fresher handsets

July 17, 2009

(AP) -- Verizon Wireless is offering small cellular carriers a chance to get new phone models faster.

Like other large carriers, sometimes exclusively locks up new models for six months to a year. On Friday, it said it would let small carriers, those with less than 500,000 subscribers, get the phones in six months or less.

The carriers that could take advantage of the offer are mainly rural.

The phone industry's exclusivity arrangements - like the one that ties the to AT&T - have drawn attention from the Senate and the Federal Communications Commission, which has said it is starting an investigation.

Verizon Wireless earlier this year offered to restrict its exclusivity periods, but only for LG and Samsung phones. Rural carriers called the offer insufficient.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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