You're viewing an article in iPO's historic archive vault. Here, we've preserved the comments and how the site looked along with the article. Use this link to view the article on our current site: Congressman Proposes Bill to Require Contract-Free Phones
Congressman Proposes Bill to Require Contract-Free Phones
Wednesday, February 27th, 2008 at 12:55 PM - by
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has proposed a sweeping bill to alter the terms on which customers purchase mobile phones. The "Wireless Consumer Protection and Community Broadband Empowerment Act of 2008" recognizes that wireless service has become a replacement for traditional phone service for millions of Americans and seeks to require broader disclosure of fees and terms, require plans with no early termination fee, proration of plans that do have termination fees, offer a contract-free non-subsidized phone and a host of other remedies that seek to address practices in the mobile phone industry.
Rep, Markey is the chairman of the House telecommunications and Internet committee. Hearings on the bill start on Wednesday.
The mobile phone carriers have responded, according to C|Net, by saying that the early termination fee is necessary to offset the cost of subsidized phones. Accordingly, the Markey proposed bill would require carriers to offer a non-subsidized phone.
The proposed legislation mirrors the rules that have been in force in Europe for some time.
Seeing the handwriting on the wall, some carriers, including AT&T, have already announced plans to prorate termination fees. That move is probably intended to serve as evidence that the mobile phone industry can regulate itself. Rep. Markey's proposed legislation however goes into much greater detail to protect the interests of the consumers. No doubt that the CTIA and the carriers will fight this bill, but the weight of time, the dependence of so many Americans on cell phones and the precedent in Europe all portend a sea change in the way Americans purchase mobile phones.
- Editorial - It's Time for the Promised, Unlocked iPhone 3Gs
- Wal-Mart Employees Confirm iPhone Rumors
- The RIAA vs. 19 Year Old Cancer Patient
- Mac Gaming News - Gameloft Brings Hero of Sparta to the iPhone
- Free on iTunes - Return to the Moon, JPL, Stranger Things And More
- Apple Claims 300 Million App Store Downloads, 10,000 Apps Available