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Wireless Networking Communications Hardware

Skype Asks FCC to Open Cellular Networks 292

Milwaukee's_Best writes "Skype has just asked the FCC to force wireless phone companies to open their networks to all comers. Skype essentially wants to turn the wireless phone companies into just another network of the kind currently operated on the ground. This would require carriers to allow any phone to be used on their networks, and for any application. Users would simply purchase a voice or data plan (though these could easily converge into a data plan if VoIP calling is used) and then use the device of their choice to access the network of their choice. Think of it as network neutrality for cell networks. Given the competition that exists within the industry, is this needed?"
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Skype Asks FCC to Open Cellular Networks

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  • Re:Competition? (Score:3, Informative)

    by profplump ( 309017 ) <> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @12:35AM (#18105196)
    They won't let me bring in my own equipment. I've tried. They won't even let me re-activate equipment that I bought from them and which is still 100% compatible with their network. I've tried that too.

    If you know of a carrier who will allow me to buy my own equipment (not buy new equipment from them) I'd be happy to do just as you suggest. Until then it's contracts with ridiculous fees or a requirement that I buy the newest, fanciest equipment at a price they dictate without any competition. Suggesting that the later doesn't carry the same financial disadvantages as the former because there's "no contract" is ignorant at best.
  • by hirschma ( 187820 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @12:38AM (#18105218)
    From TFA: "Unfortunately, the "invisible hand" has been a little too invisble here, and no operator actually offers a wide-open network."

    Hmm, let's see. With T-Mobile, I can:

    - Buy any GSM phone that I pretty much want to, unlocked,
    - Put in my SIM card,
    - Use all of the T-Mobile services,
    - Enjoy wi-fi,
    - Enjoy unfettered Bluetooth,
    - Enjoy an all-you-can eat data plan (albeit, at EDGE speeds only).

    So why doesn't everyone jump on T-Mobile? Well, on the other hand,

    - I pay more for my service (no one is subsidizing my phone),
    - Can't use all of T-mobile's services or voice plans (no "five friends" for me),
    - Can't get any tech support (see, your phone is not supported, bye)
    - Get scary warnings on the "my T-Mobile site" since they cannot identify my phone.

    I have no interest in Skype. But I do have interest in a BYO phone plan at lower cost, and the option to enjoy all of the plans that T-Mobile offers. Perhaps they have a point.

  • by straponego ( 521991 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @12:56AM (#18105306)
    I was involved in handling the technical aspects of the bidding on the FCC PCS Wireless C Block Auction. This auction was supposed to enable a fourth cell phone carrier to buy spectrum across the US in every market. The auction was limited to small businesses, owned by a woman or minority. You know, fresh blood to compete with the huge incumbents to spur competition, lower prices, and encourage innovation. The I-Phone's random access voice mail? I put that in our business plan, in 1996. Anyway.

    The second largest bidder in the C Block Auction was BDPCS. They bid $2.5 billion. They did their bidding from the offices of US West (now Qwest). They then immediately defaulted, because... they were not actually a real company. They'd never existed before the auction, had never sold a product or service.

    They had bid on all the territories in which US West sold cell phone service.

    The court cases in which they contested their default lasted for years. Years in which there was no fourth competitor in US West's markets.

    The FCC was fine with this.

    Oh, and the bidding process? For each round of bidding, you had to download the results via a proprietary Windows application, over modem, from a 900 number. The download speeds you would get from this number, no matter where you dialed from, amounted to approximately one tenth of the speed of the modem connection.

    Yes, the FCC is a public government agency, the data belonged to the public, and the Internet did, in fact, exist back then. But I added it up, and whoever ran that deal must have made millions from that procedure. A cousin of an FCC commissioner, perchance?

    What I'm getting at, is that if you expect the FCC to enable competition for Skype or anybody else, in the best interests of the public, well. The FCC now, ten years later, is *much* more corrupt than it was then. When Colin Powell's son Michael became head of the FCC and was instrumental in approving the AOL-Time Warner deal (Colin was on AOL's board of directors at the time; the deal made him about $4 million)... Powell was when it started to get really bad.

    Now, the FCC operates purely in the interests of those who can afford their favor.

  • Re:Libertarians (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dlugar ( 124619 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @01:22AM (#18105456) Homepage

    Maybe if you grew up in a state like Massachusetts where children died getting crushed by weaving machines in fabric mills, and where PCBs were dumped by GE into rivers simply because they COULD...well, maybe just then you'd feel a little differently about regulating industry. Hell, they recently found near the Alewife T station, on the cite of an old dye plant, that people who grew up in the area had cancer rates that were astronomically high. These people, as kids, played on the site- and many of them remember that the ground was so contaminated, puddles would form spontaneously in depressions in the ground that were every color of the rainbow.

    There are different shades of libertarians just as there are with many things in life. Many libertarians are not complete anarchists, however; they see the role of government as being important for market failures, such as pollution. Charging a pollution tax on the marginal cost of pollution would, in my opinion, completely compatible with a libertarian outlook.

    I have no excuses for your hypocritical friend and his driveway, however.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:05AM (#18106510)
    Yes, we would be SO MUCH better off with the Government running it.....
  • by majortom1981 ( 949402 ) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @08:38AM (#18107432)
    Here on long island land is at a premium. Cell carriers pay A LOT of many to get their towers mup. Their networks should not be opened up because they pay a lot of money for thier towers for things like the land it sits on, the ata conenctions to the towers and the equipment to run them. That would not be right. I know verizon and cingular are huge companies but that does not make this right.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern