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AT&T's Exclusive Deal Impedes iPhone Innovation
WASHINGTON - June 9 - Apple announced yesterday that the new iPhone will be able to deliver features like multimedia messaging and tethering services that allow consumers to use their cell phones to connect their computers to the Internet. While these iPhone features will be available in other countries, AT&T, the iPhone's exclusive carrier in the United States, has delayed them.
The AT&T spokesperson told the New York Times that "the delay has nothing to do with network issues," but "declined to say why AT&T was slower to embrace these features than other carriers." AT&T also said that it "is not ready to announce a time frame or whether there is an additional monthly price for the feature."
This is not the first time that AT&T's exclusive deal has sparked controversy. The wireless carrier recently acknowledged playing a role in blocking Skype, the popular voice application, on its 3G network. AT&T's lead lobbyist, Jim Cicconi, told USA Today, "We absolutely expect our vendors not to facilitate the services of our competitors."
Chris Riley, policy counsel of Free Press, issued the following statement:
"Consumers are tired of wireless carriers impeding innovation instead of promoting it. Congress should unlock the mobile marketplace by putting an end to these exclusive deals.
"Cutting-edge wireless devices and applications have the potential to launch new industries and revolutionize everyday life. In this challenging economy, we cannot afford to allow AT&T or any other company to stand in the way of progress."
Read the New York Times story: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/08/att-tethering-and-mms-coming-to-the-iphone-in-us/