Just a few days ago, Verizon announced a change to the way they’d handle exclusive handset deals: rather than holding on to all of their exclusive handsets for years and years, they’d let any small carrier (defined as any carrier with under 500,000 customers) offer the same phones after a 6-month absolute exclusivity period. It was a move in the right direction, but it was still pretty terrible. Why? Go ahead. Name 3 carriers with under 500,000 subscribers. Now name one person you know on each of them. Can’t? That’s because the new deal helps pretty much nobody.
Looks like we’re not alone in our thinking. This morning, the Rural Cellular Association, a group of roughly 100 small/medium-sized carriers, expressed their opinion on the matter:
“”While RCA is encouraged by Verizon Wireless’ most recent exclusive handset proposal, RCA will continue to pursue modifications to the policy… The commitment does not go far enough to rectify the consumer and competitive harms caused by these agreements,” the group said. “More than 180 million of the nation’s wireless customers are unable to benefit from the new policy.”
Hear, hear, RCA.