Idiotic Government

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The justice department moved to block the $39B merger of AT&T with T-Mobile on the grounds that it would harm competition.

An idiotic standpoint to take considering government previously allowed each digital mobile phone network provider to lock out the otherwise open GSM standard (designed to provide roaming across competitors) through SIM card locking to being used only by its own handsets (I stated my case before).

Kind of like allowing Apple computers to only connect with other Apple users over the Internet, and Windows users only with other Windows users. The free-market principles of the mobile phone business have been violated from the start, with the government standing by idle and consumers having suffered the consequence of proprietary and dim cell phone coverage for many years.

What idiotic government does not understand is that SIM card locking, a seemingly small tactical implementation had a detrimental effect on the creation of free-market competition that would have allowed many smaller GSM mobile phone providers to give the wealthy incumbent a run for its money, and have allowed for better consumer value some twenty years ago.

Rather than blocking the merger between AT&T and T-mobile, government should have moved to block the locking of SIM cards so before or after the merger with AT&T any new GSM provider has a fair chance of competing on core competency: providing sublime network access to anybody who needs it.

We need smarter government if we want our country to prosper again.


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About Georges van Hoegaerden

Georges is a serial entrepreneur, venture catalyst, 4x CEO, board director turned innovation economist (by fate). His ideas have raised $14M in venture capital and produced over $100M in returns. More.

  • Rich Caproni

    Amen. Having spent 10 years in E. Europe, it is painful to come back to the US and get worse service in both signal quality and support at a much higher cost. It is indeed the result of previous policy and blocking the AT&T T-Mobile merger is a sad and inappropriate way to try to address it. I guess the tough question is what could be done now? Theoretically, what do you think would be the result if government forced the unlocking of SIM cards now? I think Metro PCS would grab huge market share.

    • Georges van Hoegaerden

      I think government should force unlocking of SIMs, because it is against free-market principles. That will invite new entrants to the market onto a level playing field. May the best network provider win!