FCC Looks Towards Reconfiguring Cell Phone Markets

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Date: Thursday, February 1st, 2007, 07:19
Category: News

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An article on USA Today’s web site discusses the current cell phone market, the infamous Carterphone (a device that could pull in radio transmissions and connect them to a phone network), the monopoly known as AT&T which hated the Carterphone and a 1968 FCC ruling that declared that anyone could make devices to tie into a telephone network.
The change paved the way for new devices such as inexpensive phones, answering machines, fax machines and modems to be present on the same network while AT&T lost the position it once held.
The article discusses how cable television could become unbundled this year to allow devices such as Tivos and Media Center PCs to be able to descramble cable signals without a cable box, thereby finally backing an as-yet unenforced provision in the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
Click the jump for the full story…


fcclogo.gif
An article on USA Today’s web site discusses the current cell phone market, the infamous Carterphone (a device that could pull in radio transmissions and connect them to a phone network), the monopoly known as AT&T which hated the Carterphone and a 1968 FCC ruling that declared that anyone could make devices to tie into a telephone network.
The change paved the way for new devices such as inexpensive phones, answering machines, fax machines and modems to be present on the same network while AT&T lost the position it once held.
The article discusses how cable television could become unbundled this year to allow devices such as Tivos and Media Center PCs to be able to descramble cable signals without a cable box, thereby finally backing an as-yet unenforced provision in the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
A similar provision might be in the works for the cell phone industry, the devices themselves being set up to work with each other while millions of subscribers find themselves confined to a given network and however tempermental it might be at a given moment. Apple’s upcoming iPhone is confined to AT&T’s Cingular wireless network – an arrangement that benefited both parties, but not a larger market base which would have gladly considered an iPhone had it been available through a Sprint or Verizon network as well.
The same logic regarding bundling applies to devices that only work with any given, favorable brand, printer toner coming to mind, according to Kevin Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
While the article doesn’t mention that Martin and the FCC have launched any specific action to reconfigure the current cell phone market structure and thus do away with bundling, it does point to the fact that this is certainly on Martin’s and industry advocates’ minds.
Whether Martin or the next FCC chairman takes it on has yet to be decided, but something new could emerge from the change.

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