The March Of Mobile Phone Progress Isn't Always Smooth Or Direct

from the be-patient dept

Tim Wu is discouraged. Writing in Slate last week, the telecom expert lamented the terms he's facing as an aspiring iPhone 2 owner: a two-year AT&T contract thanks to the handset's newfound inability to be unlocked and a move toward a more conventional subsidized handset model. Wu sees this as emblematic of a shift in the mobile industry:

The fact that someone like me is switching to AT&T is a sign of the times in the telephone world. The wireless industry was once and is still sometimes called a "poster child for competition." That kind of talk needs to end.

He's right -- but then, that kind of talk shouldn't have been started in the first place. The mobile market was defined by long contracts, locked handsets and a lack of prepaid options long before Apple arrived on the scene. Now it appears that it'll remain that way long after Apple.

Admittedly, this is a disappointment. Many looked at Apple's choice of a second-rate carrier -- one they could bully around -- as a sign that everything was about to change. Finally a handset manufacturer had arisen that was powerful enough to break the industry's self-serving revenue model and empower consumers! With the recent declaration of the iPhone 2's retreat toward conventional industry shadiness, those counting on Apple's benevolent technological dictatorship have found themselves disappointed (as they have before, and no doubt will again). They were fooling themselves anyway: did anyone really think Apple was going to tolerate phone unlocking forever?

But the outlook isn't all grim. As Wu notes, the Google-led Open Handset Alliance is trying to follow in Apple's footsteps with its own game-changing, must-have handsets -- only this time there seems to be a more expressly ideological slant to the effort. And Verizon's Open Development Initiative, while less than perfect, is perhaps even more encouraging in that it shows the industry has begun to acknowledge the market's need for more flexibility in data services.

And that's the real reason for hope: the march of progress. Anyone who tries to paint the mobile industry as the picture of efficient market competition is either in denial or deeply dishonest. But wireless services will inevitably become more important and more available, whether thanks to WiMAX, revived municipal wifi projects (now without capital costs, thanks to the magic of bankruptcy!), spectrum freed by digital broadcasting, or some other wireless technology. The mobile carriers haven't been great at competing amongst themselves, but you can bet they'll begin responding once consumers have reasonable alternatives.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: competition, markets, mobile phones, monopolies, tim wu


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  1. identicon
    Confabcells ltd, 21 Mar 2009 @ 2:04am

    BUY BRAND NEW IPHONES 3G 16GB AT A VERY LOW COST.

    Buy Brand new Mobiles Phones, Laptops, Gizmos, Games, Ipods, Plasma Tvs, Communicators and many at very cheap and Affordable prices. We deliver to any location Worldwide, we look forward to your patronage and promise to give you the best of our services.

    List of some of our products:

    NOKIA PHONES
    ***********
    Nokia Aeon-------$450
    Nokia N96............$400
    Nokia N95... . ... 350usd [ 8GB]
    Nokia N95..........320 usd [4GB]
    Nokia E90---------360usd
    Nokia N81---------270 usd [8gb]
    Nokia N82..........290 USD
    Nokia 8800.........300USD [ Sapphire Arte ]
    Nokia 8600 -------250 usd [ LUNA ]
    Nokia 7500---------255 usd [Prism]
    Nokia 7900..........260 usd [Prism]
    Nokia N800 Internet Tablet....250usd
    Nokia 5300 ......200usd [XpressMusic]
    Nokia N75 ..........210 usd
    Nokia N73.. ..... 180usd
    Nokia N76..........250usd
    NokiaN77...........255usd
    Nokia N72..........200usd
    Nokia N71...........190usd
    Nokia N93i..........230usd
    NOKIA N93------220usd
    Nokia N92... .. . 210usd
    Nokia N91... .... 190usd
    Nokia N90.. ......180usd
    Nokia N80... .....180usd
    Nokia N70..... . 145usd
    Nokia 6030.... ..120usd
    Nokia7360..... ...130usd
    Nokia 8800... . . 170usd
    Nokia 8800-----190usd[SIROCCO GOLD]
    Nokia 9300i... .. 150usd
    Nokia9500.... . . 160usd
    Nokia E61..... . ..180usd

    MOTOROLA PRODUCTS
    ***************************
    Motorola Kkrz1. ...150usd
    Motorola L6...... ...140usd
    Motorola pebl.. ..180usd
    Motorola v3i.. . ..120usd
    Motorola A1200.....242usd
    Motorola q............180uud

    Samsung
    **********************
    Samsung Omnia .......$280
    Samsung Innov8 ......$300

    SONY ERICSSON PHONES
    ******************************
    Sony Ericsson C905.....$300usd
    Sony Ericsson p910i....$180usd
    Sony Ericsson w900i....$155usd
    Sony Ericsson K750i....$150usd
    Sony Ericsson k800i....$150usd
    Sony Ericcson W850i....$180usd
    Sony Ericsson k700i....$140usd
    Sony Ericsson W800i....$155usd
    Sony Ericsson W900 ....$170usd
    sony Ericsson w600i....$140usd

    LG PHONE:
    **************************
    Lg Chocolate......162usd
    Lg U890............182usd

    PALM TREO PHONES
    **************************
    Treo 680---------------------$299
    Treo 650 ............................ $150usd
    Treo 700 ........................... $180usd
    Treo......................... $200usd
    Treo 700w ......................... $200usd
    Treo 750............................. $220usd

    I- PHONE
    **************
    16GB Apple I-phones at $350
    8GB Apple I-phones at $300
    8GB iPhone 3G.. ......$220
    16Gb iPhone 3G........$260

    HTC
    ******************
    HTC Touch Cruise------------$500
    HTC P5500 (HTC Nike)-----480usd
    HTC P6500 (HTC Sirius)---440usd
    HTC S730 (HTC Wings)-----450usd
    HTC P4550 (HTC Kaiser)---440usd
    HTC P3450 (HTC Elf)------450usd
    HTC Advantage X7501------400usd
    HTC S420 (HTC Erato)-----300usd
    HTC P6300 (HTC Panda)----350usd
    HTC S630 (HTC Cavalier 100)--450usd
    HTC P3400 (HTC Gene)-----340usd
    HTC P3350 (HTC Love)-----350usd
    HTC Advantage X7500 (HTC Athena) --- 400usd
    HTC S320 (HTC Monet) ---------- 250usd
    HTC P4350 (HTC Herald 100) ------- 399usd
    HTC P3300 (HTC Artemis 160) ------- 250usd
    HTC S620 (HTC Excalibur 100) ------ 400usd
    HTC P3600 (HTC Trinity 100) ------- 300usd
    HTC S310 (HTC Oxygen) ------------ 229usd
    HTC Meteor (HTC Breeze 160) ------- 250usd
    HTC TyTN P4500 (HTC Hermes 200) --- 300usd

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat

Warning: include(/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_promo_discord_chat.inc' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/pear:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395:/home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/..') in /home/beta6/deploy/itasca_20201215-3691-c395/includes/right_column/rc_module_promo.inc on line 8
Recent Stories
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.