Jarrett Rush of The Dallas Morning News posted the short post in the Opinion Blog of the newspaper web site titled, Should AT&T be allowed to be the iPhone's exclusive carrier?. This sparked 65 comments on the newspaper web site, several hours ago it made it to the front page on Digg, which collected 191 more comments; as of this writing. The last comment on Digg being mine, which I had copied here as I did not have enough time to edit my original comment.
I think AT&T or any carriers should not have an exclusive on hardware.
Yes, if we do not have exclusivity, mobile handset prices will go up, but I think the market will take care of that.
We in Hong Kong had enjoy this free market for years. Mobile phone handsets are not locked to any particular carrier. GMS became the only network platform 9 years ago, and the last of the CDMA network was phased out by with the last carrier 8 years ago.
Yes, prices are relatively higher compared to those in North America, but because of the heavy competition among the mobile handset manufactures, these prices are adjusted to survive the market conditions. In Hong Kong low end handset at less than HKD1000.00, higher end handset between HKD2500.00 - HKD4000.00, top of the line handset at HKD4000.00 and above. With the average being between HKD1000.00 - HKD2500.00
A study showed that there is an average of 3 mobile phone per person in Hong Kong, and most of the major manufactures launch their newest handsets in Hong Kong first as test market. Some times even before they launch the handset in their home country.
Mobile phones are prevalent, everyone in Hong Kong has one, from age 12 and above. The only ones you see using pay phones on the streets are tourists.
As a result of this free market we also enjoy SIM unlocked mobile phones for years. With every features of the mobile phone as designed by the manufacture available to the consumers. Most of the mobile carriers offer contracts for their tariff plans but most also have monthly pay-as-you-go packages.
There should be a freedom of choice for the consumers. Each consumer should have the choice to purchase the least expensive to the most expensive handsets. This choice should be based on the consumer's budget and desired features. None of this should be determined by the mobile carriers.