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Communications

Verizon Offers Compromise In Exclusivity Debate 106

For about a month now, Congress and the FCC have been investigating the exclusivity deals between mobile carriers and phone makers which require that certain handsets only operate on certain networks (for example, the iPhone on AT&T). Now, Verizon has volunteered a compromise to Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), chairman of the House Energy Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, which would allow smaller carriers access to the restricted phones after a six-month delay, while continuing to block the major carriers. "From now on, when Verizon strikes a deal with a manufacturer for exclusive access to a handset, it will allow the phone be sold after six months to any carrier with fewer than 500,000 customers." In a letter to Boucher, Verizon said, "Exclusivity arrangements promote competition and innovation in device development and design. We work closely with our vendors to develop new and exciting devices that will attract customers. When we procure exclusive handsets from our vendors we typically buy hundreds of thousands or even millions of each device. Otherwise manufacturers may be reluctant to make the investments of time, money and production capacity to support a particular device." Many remain unimpressed by Verizon's generosity.

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