AT&T's Exclusive Deal Impedes iPhone Innovation

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Jen Howard, Free Press, (202) 265-1490 x22

AT&T's Exclusive Deal Impedes iPhone Innovation

WASHINGTON - 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/

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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