Law in the Internet Society

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UnderstandingthePipesandSwitches 6 - 23 Sep 2011 - Main.AustinKlar
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I found Eben's lecture last class on the basics of what comprises the internet helpful, as well as his discussion of why the phrase "network neutrality" doesn't capture well the relevant technical and legal dynamics.
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 Reading about Verizon and its attempt to regulate data usage, I wonder whether it's true that was a primary concern for AT&T's attempted merger with T-Mobile. After all, T-Mobile controls many cell towers and AT&T would benefit immensely through more wireless options for their customers. Rather than upgrade the infrastructure, AT&T is trying to acquire more. If that be the case, what do you think would be the effects on data usage and availability for AT&T customers? Certainly the Justice Department is wary of the effect on the market as a whole, but I welcome insights, esp. from other economists and antitrust people, on this. Perhaps this will cause Verizon to backtrack on efforts to rein in their own customers.

-- ThomasHou - 22 Sep 2011


I think youre right about ATT and T-Mobile's merger. T-mobile has the cell towers, and ATT has the customers. Also, in theory, T-mobile competes with ATT (and Verizon). Practically speaking, I don't think T-mobile competes at all. They are well behind in the handset department. We all know how their sidekick venture worked out. Further, lets say ATT raised their phone plan prices by 10 a month. Are people going to leave for T-mobile? No, probably not. They won't want to pay a penalty fee of 170+ for breaking their contract, buy a new device, and sign a new contract. Plus, T-mobile has a reputation of having service thats not the best, and far from it. So, practically speaking, I really don't think anyone is going to leave the big 2 for T-mobile. However, it is theoretically possible while T-mobile still exists. The justice department might be worried that if the merger happens, the practical reality will become actual reality. It might make ATT customers happier in the beginning when their service becomes immensely better. But that will open the door for ATT to hike up prices. Especially with new Android and iOS devices coming out, people will be ready and willing to stick it out with Verizon and ATT. Sprint is not in the picture as they dont have the iPhone....yet....but they will. But, its tough to say Sprint, like T-mobile, is going to have a huge effect on the big 2

-- AustinKlar - 23 Sep 2011


Revision 6r6 - 23 Sep 2011 - 12:20:11 - AustinKlar
Revision 5r5 - 22 Sep 2011 - 14:39:35 - ThomasHou
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