09 October 2007

Regulation and technology adoption

One of the recent discussions in the US telecom policy circles has been the idea of a "wireless Carterfone". Such a policy would basically uncouple handsets from wireless service providers. That is, buyers would be free to choose handsets and wireless service providers independently (much like today's unlocked GSM phones). Carriers tend to bundle handsets and services for several reasons, including:
  • Lowering the barrier to entry (or use) by providing subsidized handsets
  • Ensuring reliable services by testing feature sets on supported phones
  • Strategic and economic purposes

This article suggests that the introduction of the iPhone in France may not happen because of regulations like this. Do you think that this is an example of regulation inhibiting innovation?

Update (2007-10-17): This article in Gizmodo is reporting that the iPhone will be on sale in France after all. Does this alter your opinion about this question? What does this say about bargaining among these titans?

1 comment:

jesus said...

I think apple as a company has strong reasons to not 'unlock' their phones and allow them to be used by any carrier. The most important being that the contract they have signed with at&t. I also think that it would have been better if they had sold the Iphone unlocked, because they would have had more sales. From my point of view customers do not like to be tied to one company, they want to feel some level of freedom. Some people are even thinking about not buying the Iphone and they are waiting for any competitor to launch a similar phone, some others are even wondering why they should buy an Iphone if most of the current-used cellular phones already have the same applications and offer the same services. It is also well known than in many countries the Iphone have been unlocked without apple's consent and they cannot do much to solve that situation. I think the French would do ok without the Iphone, and some other countries should imitate them,