Just beneath the slick advertising from the major carriers and CITA, in the aftermath of the recent 700MHz auction, and with LiMo and Android battling for OS of choice, Whew!, there are many battles being fought on many fronts.
Here is a short list of battles currently being waged:
1. The federal government is taking a hard look at ETF fees and trying to establish national guidelines that are fair to customers while simultaneously wresting control of the issue from the states.
2. All major carriers are knee deep in class action lawsuits (with teeth) from everything ranging from unfair ETF charges to line item charges on customer bills that were not clearly explained.
One example is T-Mobile's current woes over allegedlly charging customers for services without their consent. The suit affirms that T-Mobile, in concert with third party vendors, is charging customers for services while omitting information that would allow customers to make an informed choice and/or opt out. Further, the claim is that T-Mobile then shares in the profits gained from such billing practices.
Similar suits have been filed against Sprint Nextel Corp., Alltel Communications LLC and Verizon Wirelss.
3. Google's participation in the 700MHz auction resulted in driving up the final bid Verizon needed to capture the vaulted C Block. No love lost there, as is wittnessed by Verizon's recent decision to align with LiMo rather than Google's Android operating system. In a quote from RCRWireless News (May 19, 2008), "...some onlookers read the moves as ratcheting up the tension between Verizon Wirelss and Google in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission's 700MHz auction."
Another effect resulting from Google's auction participation was its insistance that Verizon Wireless adhere to open-access requirements governing the C Block.
4. Though Apple entered the world of wireless with a single exclusive agreement with ATT Wireless, it is now globetrotting, inking numerous agreements throughout the world in its quest to sell 10 million units. RIM's Blackberry line-up, once the choice of business people everywhere, is being challeged as Apple promises to integrate push email that works seamlessly with Microsoft's Outlook. So Apple is taking on the world in general and RIM in particular, all without a single owned tower.
5. Network speed is a huge issue. While AT&T Wireless continues to roll out 3G phones, much of its inventory remains at slower speeds. Meanwhile Verizon Wireless is looking forward to LTE and 4G and they appear poised to get their first with a product mix to match. This is one to watch as may of the best products and services coming soon will require the fastest speeds available.
Clearly the wireless industry is a fully engaged, fluid and certainly fierce part of the consumer market, as titans and start-ups, consumers and government are all battling for fairness, disclosure and supremacy.
We are watching in real time exciting technologies work through problems, a public vetting of agendas and intent, played out for our education and entertainment on a daily basis.