Verizon to Offer Some Exclusive Cellphones to Small Wireless Companies

Posted Jul 20, 2009

Verizon Wireless said Friday that it would shorten the length of exclusivity deals on cellphones. The company will allow a phone under exclusive contract to be sold by any small carrier with under 500,000 customers after six months.

Cell phone companies are facing pressure from the government because of their exclusive handset deals. Exclusivity deals restrict competition. Exclusive handsets are usually the hottest phones around. Therefore, smaller carriers lose customers to larger carriers such as Verizon.

Everyone knows about Apple’s iPhone exclusivity deal with AT&T. No other carrier in United States country can carry an iPhone. If a smaller carrier were allowed to carry the iPhone, their business would boom.

In a letter to lawmakers, Varizon said “Effective immediately for small wireless carriers (those with 500,000 customers or less), any new exclusivity arrangement we enter with handset makers will last no longer than six months — for all manufacturers and all devices.”