Monday, October 22, 2007

Free My Phone by Walt Mossberg

"A shortsighted and often just plain stupid federal government has allowed itself to be bullied and fooled by a handful of big wireless phone operators for decades now. And the result has been a mobile phone system that is the direct opposite of the PC model. It severely limits consumer choice, stifles innovation, crushes entrepreneurship, and has made the U.S. the laughingstock of the mobile-technology world, just as the cellphone is morphing into a powerful hand-held computer." more...

This is a brief excerpt from noted technology journalist Walt Mossberg. While this has the tone of a rant, it's hard to argue that Walt is not spot on in his assessment of the state of the mobile wireless industry in the United States.

While consumers may enjoy some minor sticker shock relief from subsidized devices, the consequences are otherwise dire. The industry is in a near state of gridlock with innovation and choice stifled by the carriers, with a wink and nod from the FCC.

I believe the FCC needs to make a stronger mandate for open access, especially for devices and services. The walled garden approach will not work, and it has been proven that an open model gave rise to more robust markets and services for PC's, the Internet and let's not forget long distance communications.

The FCC can foster innovation and access while protecting the interests of the carriers that successfully bid and pay for use of the spectrum, but let's not forget that the spectrum is a national asset which needs to be effectively leveraged.

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