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AT&T Government Businesses Communications Verizon Wireless Networking Your Rights Online

AT&T: Meet the New US GSM Monopoly 189

Posted by timothy
from the for-some-values-of-monopoly dept.
itwbennett writes "Why should consumers care about the AT&T/T-mobile merger? Already, Verizon has dropped unlimited data plans and the US trails Japan, South Korea, and others in variety and performance of mobiles. Don't think for a second that those aren't the direct result this new monopoly, says blogger Tom Henderson. '...Those pesky State agencies that used to have regulatory authority has been usurped by the US Federal Government,' writes Henderson. 'This wasn't an accident. Who would you rather deal with, 43 different state regulatory authorities, or those convenient people on Capitol Hill?'"
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AT&T: Meet the New US GSM Monopoly

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  • Capitol Hill (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @01:03PM (#36625194) Homepage Journal

    For all your one-stop shopping needs.

    Ever notice how few people are really paying attention? How along the campaign trail nobody ever asks an important question like, "Would you oppose an AT&T / T-Mobile merger which really harms competition in the US?"

    They had an Ohio farmer on the news, back when W was running for re-election, when asked which was more important, Social Issues or Economic Issues, the farmer said, "As long has be works to block abortion, he doesn't mind if a few eggs get broken." Really. Wonder how he's doing on that farm after the Bank Collapse. When are people going to wake up and realize they have put far too much focus on a social agenda and too little on Business and Economic issues which affect them to more devastating effect?

    I suppose someone, somewhere is fine with the merger, as long as their important Social Agenda gets lip service.

  • by vijayiyer (728590) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @01:21PM (#36625450)

    Does anybody on Slashdot actually travel? Prices in general of most goods are _way_ cheaper in the US than in Europe or Japan (I haven't been to South Korea). US taxes are relatively low. Why do I care if a cell phone bill is a few hundred bucks a year more?
    And then people miss the point that cell infrastructure scales both with population and with physical area. Someone has to pay for that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 30, 2011 @01:30PM (#36625572)

    Bullshit. I work for a telco in Finland, and covering a piece of land is as easy/hard in both as the average population density is in the same ballpark. I would even accept that covering rural America is harder, but by that logic most Americans in the cities should have the best broadband in the world. The real difference is that we have four national networks for a population of 5M and the competition is fierce. The regulator is here FOR the people.

    Every nation gets the government it deserves.

  • In Russia.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 30, 2011 @01:30PM (#36625584)

    In (Ex-Soviet) Russia, you can choose from MTS, MegaFon, Beeline, Tele2, or a few other GSM Providers.
    In China, you can choose from China Mobile (Easyown, GoTone, M-zone, Peoples, ZoNG), ChinaUnicom. (Yes, the main ones are state-owned)

    In the "Free" United states, you can choose any GSM provider you want, as long as you "want" to use the government-approved AT&T/T-mobile.

    So you say: "If there's customer demand, Capitalism shows another company will be created so competition remains..." Yeah Right. The State (FCC) owns 100% of the spectrum, and it's all been sold to AT&T T-Mobile. So exactly what GSM spectrum is available for competition?

    It's also the only country in the world that will put you in jail if you even /attempt/ to buy and import a Citroen C5 or a Citroen DS3 ("R", preferably) Automobile.
    Don't give me the safety line -- both of these cars are rated very well for both safety, and emissions. (Google NCAP) And they look cool too.

    I'm not feeling very "Free" as we celebrate our "Freedom" this weekend.

  • by zooblethorpe (686757) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:23PM (#36626372)

    Does anybody on Slashdot actually travel? Prices in general of most goods are _way_ cheaper in the US than in Europe or Japan (I haven't been to South Korea). US taxes are relatively low. Why do I care if a cell phone bill is a few hundred bucks a year more? And then people miss the point that cell infrastructure scales both with population and with physical area. Someone has to pay for that.

    I think it depends on where you go, and what goods you're looking at. I lived in Tokyo for three years. Moved back to the US, to California, and naively expected the cost of living to be lower.

    It wasn't.

    What was more galling, not only was I paying more living in CA, but the quality of the goods and services purchased was generally lower.

    A random sample list:

    • Eggs - cheaper in Tokyo, and fresher there too.
    • Dry cleaning - cheaper in Tokyo.
    • Prepared ready-to-eat foods (a.k.a. chûshoku in Japanese, a bit like a carry-out buffet) - hard to find in the US outside of grocery stores, but generally tastier, more varied, and cheaper in Tokyo. Great for anyone living on their own, or in a household where no one has time to cook.
    • Telecoms - both cell and internet service were *way* cheaper, with *way* better coverage and data speeds. I could place a phone call on the Ôedo line, the newest and deepest subway line in Tokyo, but I would drop out of service while driving on US 101 from Mountain View north past Google's massive campus. Yay, AT&T. :-P

    And would people *please* give the population density argument a rest? It's a red herring. The San Francisco Bay Area is quite densely populated and is supposedly the center of the US high-tech industry - and yet cell coverage is kinda crappy, and internet service is much more expensive and much slower than anything you get in Japan (unless you're out in the boonies). It's not about population density, it's about profit margins, and what regulators and the competitive environment will allow.

    Cheers,

  • Oh for Pete's sake! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun (571051) on Thursday June 30, 2011 @02:35PM (#36626516)
    State Agencies get eaten alive by something as big as AT&T/T-Mobile. Did a State agency break up Ma Bell? All I can say to these State's rightser Loons is Divide and Conqueror.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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