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Friday, 28 August 2009 10:35

FCC worried about Apple/ teleco trade deals

Written by Nick Farell
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Launches investigations


In a
move that will cause Apple Messiah Steve Job's heart to freeze, the US Federal Communications Commission has decided to investigate the lucrative exclusive deals that the fruit themed toymaker has been signing with phone companies.

For ages the iPhone dream has been built on the back of Apple signing a deal with the likes of AT&T for exclusive rights to the product. Now the FCC is worried that such deals could stuff up any "innovation" in the wireless industry.

The FCC is also interested in the recent row over Google Voice and the Apple App Store and may opt for more regulation in the industry. All five FCC commissioners, including the two Republicans, voted to approve a pair of investigations into the wireless industry.

One will look broadly at the state of competition and innovation, and the other, will look to see if telcos are not telling customers what they are paying for well enough.

Analysts think that the FCC could force mobile providers to sell subsidy-free phones. Another idea is that they could end exclusive deals between carriers and handset makers, which would target deals such as the one Apple made with AT&T.

Nick Farell

Nick Farell

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