Senate Reviewing Handset Exclusivity & SMS

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Broadband Reports says Congress this week will explore the anti-competitive ramifications of exclusive handset deals (such as AT&T/Apple), and also hold a hearing on the high price of text messaging.

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and three other members of the Senate subcommittee on communications, technology and the Internet sent a letter to acting FCC Chairman Michael J. Copps asking the agency to look into deals, such as the one Apple has with AT&T to sell and carry service for the iPhone, and their impact on consumers and smaller wireless carriers.

Short Message Services(SMS) cost carriers virtually nothing. It piggybacks on secondary control channels within wireless transmissions that were going to be sent/received anyway. Representatives from AT&T, Verizon and Cricket will be “grilled” by Congress as to why prices for these services continue to skyrocket.

SMS text messaging is the most widely used data application on the planet, with 2.4 billion active users, or 74% of all mobile phone subscribers sending and receiving text messages on their phones.

Over the last few years, telephone companies have been hiking up the price for text messages from as little as one-cent per message to 25-cents or more depending, even has use has grown wildly. Microblogging sites like Twitter, which reach users by cell phone and web, have also increased text messaging use.

In a series of videos posted by PR firm Porter Novelli on YouTube, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone explains that access to Twitter from mobile devices, desktop applications and SMS now exceeds access from Web browsers by a 3-to-1 margin.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 at 8:31 am .

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