Verizon offers to cut exclusive time for phones

(AP) -- Verizon Wireless has offered to shorten the period in which it demands exclusive rights to new cell phones from LG and Samsung in an effort to give small rural carriers a better chance to sell up-to-date phones.

But the rural carriers don't believe the offer is good enough and haven't taken it up.

spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said Friday that the company offered two months ago to let Inc. and Co. sell their phones to rural carriers represented by the Associated Carrier Group six months after the devices' launch at Verizon Wireless.

ACG said Verizon's offer is encouraging, but in practice, its members wouldn't be able to start selling the phones right when that six-month period expires. The group said carriers need more time to modify the phones to work on their networks.

ACG represents 25 carriers that together have 2.6 million subscribers. The largest carrier in the group is Cellular South Inc., based in Ridgeland, Miss.

Verizon Wireless' offer did not apply to sales of the phones at larger competitors like Corp., or urban upstarts like MetroPCS Communications Inc.

Rural carriers have complained that big carriers like Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. lock up hot new phones with exclusivity periods that can last for years. The Rural Cellular Association asked the Federal Communications Commission last year to ban the practice.

In particular, AT&T's arrangements with Apple Inc. have drawn attention. AT&T is still the only seller of the iPhone in the U.S., nearly two years after the first model was launched.

On Thursday, the chief executive of Cellular South, Victor Meena, told a U.S. House subcommittee hearing on wireless competition that "the situation with exclusivity agreements is bad and is only getting worse."

Samsung and LG are the largest suppliers of U.S. phones for the network technology, known as CDMA, that is shared by Verizon Wireless and ACG.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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May 09, 2009
Another sign that we are ramping up toward the singularity?

I find simple articles like this fascinating as they demonstrate how much more quickly technology and sales models are being overturned as the pace of technological advancement accelerates.

Here we just had the 'worst recession since the Great Depression' and we are already bouncing back. I predict that we will be out of this malaise within a year, or two at the most. There is just too much going on, too many new ideas and technologies just burning to get out the door, for people to play it safe and hold back on investing.

The cell phone, pda, smart phone, whatever you want to call it, will continue to play a central role in our lives. It will be our computing platform (desktops are on the way out and even laptops will peak and decline very soon.)

Between more powerfull devices and cloud computing, we will do everything on our portable device. I think the next really big step is augmented reality, whether using see through video glasses, or something equivalent. We will walk through a virtual world overlayed on the real world (Vernor Vinge "Rainbows End", Charles Stross "Accelerando", and even anime like the show Denno Coil.

I think Google Earth will morph into just such an overlay, so that we see information streamed from Google's servers, overlaid on everything that we see.

There will even be disputes over geographical location ownership. A store owner will want the right to upload content to be displayed at the location in Google Earth corresponding to his real world store. For example, he might have a virtual store front that puts his real world store to shame.

When we look through our glasses, we will see the public views that everyone wants us to see, including avatars, and we will have to disable them or lift our glasses to see the real world, lol.

My whole point here is that this seemingly innocuous article is just the tip of the iceberg. We will see more of this. Short product life cycles, shorter contracts, changes coming faster and faster.

I wonder how quick a pace we can all handle? Each generation has shown that it can assimilate changes at a faster pace than the previous ones, but we are now seeing changes happen faster than the turnover of generations. Is there a limit? Or will we evolve ourselves to keep up?

May 09, 2009
Wow, a fking cell phone story and then you go off on a tangent on the singularity.

May 09, 2009
Yeah, but it was an exponential tangent.

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