Rural carriers seeking ban on mobile exclusivity deals

The Rural Cellular Association plans to file a petition with the FCC calling for an investigation into exclusivity deals used by large wireless providers to secure rights to carry certain cellular phones. According to the Wall Street Journal, the group represents about 80 small and rural wireless companies, most with fewer than 500,000 customers. Using the iPhone as an example, the complaint states that most Vermont residents, as well as those in rural areas of 15 other states, can’t use Apple’s handset because AT&T offers only roaming coverage in those areas, and other carriers which do offer service can’t sell the iPhone. CITA spokesperson Joseph Farren argues that “When you look at the number of handsets available in the U.S. compared to Europe we’re far ahead,” adding that since consumers have so many choices, there is no need for an FCC ban on exclusive deals. [via CNET]

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