Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Dec 2011 23:05 UTC
Legal I guess this is something many Americans hope would happen in the United States: the Dutch competition watchdog has raided offices of T-Mobile, Vodafone and KPN, the three Dutch carriers. The three carriers are accused of illegal price fixing, something they've already been found guilty of about ten years ago.
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In the US ...
by WorknMan on Tue 6th Dec 2011 23:30 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

In the US, it's pretty obvious that the carriers are fixing prices, especially for the phones. Of course, since the government is working for them, I doubt anything will ever get done about it.

Reply Score: 4

I wish...
by matthewp131 on Wed 7th Dec 2011 04:53 UTC
matthewp131
Member since:
2011-09-21

I am one of those Americans hoping this would happen in the US. Wireless carriers here are all pretty bad.

Reply Score: 2

Two countries perspective
by Flash3441 on Wed 7th Dec 2011 05:55 UTC
Flash3441
Member since:
2006-03-29

I spend half the year in the US and half the year in Australia, and neither country has anything resembling competition.

US
AT&T, Verzon, and Sprint raised their mobile phone contract exit fees by the same amount within 20 days of each other.
US watchdog's can't/won't do anything about it because it's the US and they never do anything about it.

Australia
Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have organised it in a way where they take turns on who has the best deal every month. Jan/Apr/Jul/Oct Telstra can have the better deal. Feb/May/Aug/Nov is Optus' turn. Mar/Jun/Sep/Dec is Vodafone's time to shine.
Australia watchdog's can't/won't do anything about it because they need these companies to support them on their National Broaband Network plan.

Congrats to the Dutch for having a country and government that cares about them.

Reply Score: 3

In France
by Fabimaru on Wed 7th Dec 2011 07:42 UTC
Fabimaru
Member since:
2009-01-29

Companies get caught from time to time in France (or at the UE level) in various sectors, but if the the fine is lower than the gain, it won't stop well to continue. It would be much better if in the end they had an actual loss. In this case, I guess that the stockholders would sue the top management for their loss.

Reply Score: 2

RE: In France
by DOSguy on Wed 7th Dec 2011 13:04 UTC in reply to "In France"
DOSguy Member since:
2009-07-27

if the the fine is lower than the gain, it won't stop well to continue.


True. In most cases it simply pays off to fix prices, because in the end it still was profitable. Wouldn't it be better to prosecute those people at the top ranks who are responsible for these practices instead of just fining the company?

Also, it bothers me that companies get fined, but the customers who payed too much for years don't see anything back from it. Does anybody know of an example where a company convicted of price-fixing was forced to sell their product cheaper in order to 'pay back' customers or something like that?

Edited 2011-12-07 13:05 UTC

Reply Score: 2

In Spain
by iagorubio on Wed 7th Dec 2011 08:29 UTC
iagorubio
Member since:
2011-10-28

There is fierce competition as the main - and only from most of my life as it was a state monopoly - carrier Telefonica is bleeding customers to the newcomers Yoigo and Orange.

Said that, the "competition" does not bring us good prices as they are competing with the overly inflated prices of Telefonica.

In 2007 there were fines for price fixing among Telefonica and Vodafone but were waived on appeal - Telefonica's monopoly was broken on 1995. After that prices were almost fixed between those 2 companies until those newcomers got their licenses.

Now prices are coming quickly down, and I hope it keeps going down because they are expensive still compared with Europe.

Reply Score: 2

RE: In Spain
by Tractor on Fri 9th Dec 2011 16:56 UTC in reply to "In Spain"
Tractor Member since:
2006-08-18

Spain is one of the rare countries were the Regulation Body is cheating in favor of the local champion, Telefonica.
And as a consequence, prices there are much higher than in most other comparable countries. What a shame.

Reply Score: 1

In the Philippines
by Johann Chua on Wed 7th Dec 2011 10:02 UTC
Johann Chua
Member since:
2005-07-22

Slightly less competition now since Sun Telecommunications was acquired by Smart, which already had a majority of the cellphone market. The acquisition isn't final yet. Sun was offering cut-rate prices and it's feared that that the acquisition will end them.

(BTW, number two operator Globe Telecom's exclusivity deal for the iPhone ended. Both Smart and Globe are taking reservations for the iPhone 4S.)

Reply Score: 2

RE: In the Philippines
by Soulbender on Wed 7th Dec 2011 10:13 UTC in reply to "In the Philippines"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Yeah, it's too bad they got/will be acquired by Smart. On the other hand, Sun Mobile Broadband is, how should I put this, the worst goddamn internet service in the history of the universe. Probably. Sorry, it frustrates me to no end.
Still things are competitive between Smart and Globe, as far as I know, but yeah, more competition wouldn't hurt. I was going include Red but then I remembered they're "powered by smart", whatever that means.

Reply Score: 2

Corruption in the Great White North
by sparkyERTW on Wed 7th Dec 2011 14:29 UTC
sparkyERTW
Member since:
2010-06-09

Canadians suffer from this as well. I used to hang out with a few people who were decently far up the chain at Rogers, one of which admitted that they held regular meetings with Bell and Telus to discuss mobile plans/deals. Bastards.

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

It would explain why the Rogers Samsung Nexus waiting list got yanked off the website while Bell pimps the phone for it's few months of exclusivity. Clear pricing policy would be a nice change too; actually stating the final price one pays instead of "you get XXX minutes for 30$ a month" at the start of the conversation and the final price being 53$ a month due to hidden fees and obligatory addon services. I need call display but I can't have just call display; I have to buy the bundle of three other features I don't want just to get the one feature I do want.

(and how I wish there was something more open, interesting and less invasive than IOS/Android/Win7Phone available too. I'd gladly open my wallet for something close to stock Debian on a phone like Maemo was)

Reply Score: 2

In Mexico...
by KLU9 on Wed 7th Dec 2011 17:17 UTC
KLU9
Member since:
2006-12-06

The lack of mobile and landline competition in Mexico helps contribute to the only guy who can compete with Bill Gates for richest [###] in the world: Carlos Slim.

Whose company gave us the idea of "roaming" as going to another city in the *same* country, accessing the towers of the *same* company you already use, but having pay extortionate long-distance rates. Thanks!

Who owns not only the former landline monopoly and the largest cellphone company, but also a bank, a department store chain, a restaurant chain, half of downtown Mexico City, Rodin's The Thinker and so on and so forth.

Fortunately there are "3" other competitors... two of which are both owned by the same dynasty (which also owns one half of the television duopoly, a bank, a chain of white goods stores, a chain of clothing stores and so on and so forth.)

The last competitor being Telefónica, itself a former state monopoly. And who don't have a signal where I live.

Oh well...

Reply Score: 4

v We don't like the price
by Berend de Boer on Wed 7th Dec 2011 19:49 UTC
RE: We don't like the price
by Thom_Holwerda on Wed 7th Dec 2011 20:53 UTC in reply to "We don't like the price"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

The other obvious answer would be: why not try capitalism?


Because that leads to... Price fixing?

Seriously dude, aren't you out of your college phase by now? This is getting silly.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: We don't like the price
by bhtooefr on Wed 7th Dec 2011 22:32 UTC in reply to "RE: We don't like the price"
bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

I suspect that he's trying to call for not having any restrictions on spectrum.

Which doesn't work, because that means whoever can afford the biggest transmitter wins, and barriers to entry are even higher.

And, infrastructure itself is expensive to start out with.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: We don't like the price
by zima on Wed 7th Dec 2011 22:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: We don't like the price"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

that means whoever can afford the biggest transmitter wins, and barriers to entry are even higher

That probably wouldn't work even that "well" - when there are no regulatory obstacles, it's much easier to jam than to orderly & efficienty transmit, receive, etc., I believe? (essentially making the "self-regulatory" mechanisms a one giant web of extortions, at best)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: We don't like the price
by bhtooefr on Wed 7th Dec 2011 23:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: We don't like the price"
bhtooefr Member since:
2009-02-19

Indeed - with no regulation, you'd end up with a monopolistic mafia running the airwaves.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: We don't like the price
by Berend de Boer on Wed 7th Dec 2011 23:39 UTC in reply to "RE: We don't like the price"
Berend de Boer Member since:
2005-10-19

"The other obvious answer would be: why not try capitalism?


Because that leads to... Price fixing?
"

The only entity big enough to fix prices is the government.

But you haven't answered my question: why are there only three carriers? I think a small island as Cyprus? A country like Israel has almost ten. Kenya has 4. South Africa 7.

As I said, I'll bet you find that competition is heavily restricted.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: We don't like the price
by jal_ on Thu 8th Dec 2011 10:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: We don't like the price"
jal_ Member since:
2006-11-02

I think a small island as Cyprus?


Cyprus has 2 carriers, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mobile_network_operators_of_Eu....

A country like Israel has almost ten


If four is almost ten you're right. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mobile_network_operators_of_th...

Kenya has 4. South Africa 7.


Kenya is 14 times the size of the Netherlands, SA 29. Your point being?

Edited 2011-12-08 10:25 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: We don't like the price
by HarmHilvers on Fri 9th Dec 2011 22:27 UTC in reply to "We don't like the price"
HarmHilvers Member since:
2010-12-29

Your name looks Dutch, so you should have known that a few years ago we started with more than three operators: on top of the three already mentioned we had Telfort and Ben. The former was acquired by KPN and the latter by T-Mobile. (Even now I still have an old SIM of Ben in my T-Mobile phone.) By the way, we have about sixty virtual operators in the Netherlands (http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_virtual_network_operator in Dutch).

A few days ago, I read an interesting proposal (http://arnoudw.tweakblogs.net/blog/7370/naaien-kpn-voda-en-t-mobile... in Dutch) for some big changes to the way mobile networks are managed and ruled: the government should buy the network and become the network operator, so that all other providers would become virtual operators. This would be in essence the same as the energy market: there is a semi-government organization that runs the energy network, and all energy corporations have the right to use that network. Interesting proposal.

Reply Score: 1