RCA carriers unsatisfied with Verizon's exclusivity offer

The Rural Cellular Association blasted as inadequate Verizon Wireless' recent offer for exclusive handsets, arguing the proposed compromise doesn't cover current and past exclusive arrangements.

"While RCA is encouraged by Verizon Wireless' most recent exclusive handset proposal, RCA will continue to pursue modifications to the policy," the trade group said in a statement. "The commitment does not go far enough to rectify the consumer and competitive harms caused by these agreements. More than 180 million of the nation's wireless customers are unable to benefit from the new policy."

Last week, Verizon offered to give carriers with 500,000 or fewer subscribers access to all of its exclusive devices from all of its handset partners six months after Verizon launches the phones. The offer was outlined in a letter Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam sent to Congress, and came after both the FCC and the Department of Justice promised look into whether handset exclusivity arrangements harm market competition. 

RCA, which represents more than 80 small and rural wireless carriers, noted that the offer Verizon made is for new exclusive handset agreements only, and would not apply to agreements Verizon has made in the past. The deal also attracted criticism last week from consumer groups such as Free Press, which said the deal did not go far enough.

Verizon seem unperturbed by the RCA's response. "No individual company has to accept our offer," Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffrey Nelson told Reuters.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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