I often see to very different views on the concept of a free market. One is "free from intervention" and is producer-focused, which often leads to one or a few domninant players due to network effects and/or scale advantages. The second one can be interpreted as "optimal competition" and is consumer-focused, where regulations (antitrust, enforced standards, consumer protection etc) try to make sure that the consumer always has a choice and that a market can not stagnate into its stable state of one or a few dominant players. I think the telecom market in the US vs EU (and probably most of the world) is a good example. In most places, the government has mandated a single standard (for example GSM) and rules for roaming on a network. This has led to a big market of small service providers on a few networks (there is for example stiff competition on prepaid SIMs). What I have understood from the US, differing standards between the providers coupled with a subsidized payment plan for the phone effectively causes a lock-in situation for the consumer. I am definitely leaning in favour of the "optimal competition" interpretation of a free market (how can a market be free if the consumer does not have a choice?).