[PLUG-TALK] Android, Chapter 2, Happy, Happy

John Jason Jordan johnxj at comcast.net
Thu Mar 17 17:24:22 PDT 2011

On Thu, 17 Mar 2011 16:55:49 -0700
wes <plug at the-wes.com> dijo:

>but WHY do they use different spectrums? WHY is each phone not capable
>of connecting to both, or a wider range?
>this is the implementation of the lock-in.

That is precisely my gripe. What if there were four different
television standards in use by four different television broadcast
facilities, each of which charged for their use? You'd have to buy the
correct television set for the service you wanted to use. This did not
happen because the FCC enforced uniform standards for television
broadcasting right from the beginning of the industry. Ditto for radio,
decades earlier. 

In the cell phone field, however, the industry sprang up without FCC
standards. Thus we have the current situation. If all carriers used the
same frequency (and other technologies), I could buy a phone and use it
with whatever carrier offered the combination of price and service that
suited my needs.

If there was a uniform standard the services could still sell phones
subsidized by contract lock-ins. They just wouldn't have as easy a time
hanging onto their existing customers. They'd be forced to compete on
price and quality of service. 

In the present day T-Mobile and AT&T employ fairly similar
technologies; sufficiently that you can use an AT&T phone on T-Mobile
and vice-versa. But starting with 3G, and continuing with 4G, these two
carriers have gone to different technologies, so that if you use a 3G
or 4G phone from either carrier on the other carrier's service it will
be limited to 2G performance. Why did they do this? There is only one
logical answer: Because they felt that it was in their financial best
interests to do so. 

Lock-ins are anti-competitive and not beneficial to the consumer. If
only the regulatory agencies had acted in the beginning I could buy a
phone and use it with whichever carrier provided me the best price
and service.

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