For rural carriers, Verizon offers to reduce exclusivity time for LG, Samsung phones

Verizon Wireless has offered to reduce the duration of its handset exclusivity contacts with LG and Samsung in a bid to help rural wireless carriers get the phones faster.

Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said Friday that two months ago the carrier offered to allow LG and Samsung to sell their handsets to a group of rural operators represented by the Associated Carrier Group (ACG) six months after the phones launched with Verizon. The offer did not apply to other CDMA carriers such as Sprint Nextel and MetroPCS.

While the ACG said it found the proposition encouraging, it has so far rejected the offer. The group said that, in practice, its members would need time after the six month exclusivity period to modify the handsets for their own networks. The ACG represents 25 CDMA carriers that have a combined 2.6 million subscribers. The largest carrier in the group is Cellular South.

Verizon's comments came a day after Cellular South CEO Victor Meena told a Congress subcommittee that "the situation with exclusivity agreements is bad and is only getting worse," according to the Associated Press.

The Rural Cellular Association asked the FCC last year to bar handset makers from striking exclusive deals with carriers, pointing to AT&T Mobility's deal with Apple for the iPhone as an example.

For more:
- see this AP article

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