[governance] the Apple iPhone rort

David Goldstein goldstein_david at yahoo.com.au
Wed Jul 11 02:12:26 EDT 2007

hi McTim,

My understanding is there is no "pay-as-you-go" with the iPhone, although someone in the USA may wish to confirm whether this is true. The relevant part of their website has a "Maintenance In Progress" message at the moment... But it would be the case of paying out your contract if you wanted one and could connect to another service provider.

The actual provider "lock-in" in this case is also an issue as Apple, supposedly the consumer's champion, is locking in people to one of the worst wireless providers in the US. But then, Greenpeace has already exposed Apple's interest in the consumer with their reports on the environmental credentials of the technology companies. And also the phone is ONLY available through AT&T - you can't even go to another company to get it.

BTW, I don't think the phone has been hacked, as of yet, to enable changing carriers. I think this is, to date, only for other aspects of the device.

----- Original Message ----
From: McTim <dogwallah at gmail.com>
To: governance at lists.cpsr.org; David Goldstein <goldstein_david at yahoo.com.au>
Sent: Wednesday, 11 July, 2007 2:35:50 PM
Subject: Re: [governance] the Apple iPhone rort

On 7/11/07, David Goldstein <goldstein_david at yahoo.com.au> wrote:
Hi all,

I'd put this posting below on my website - http://technewsreview.com.au/ - and thought I'd post it here and see what the response was. It's based on an article in The Guardian today that makes a few more points on the new must-have iPhone. Well, must have only for those who are slaves to marketing hype. It makes points that have been made before.

To have an iPhone one must agree to a contract with AT&T,

Now that the iPhone has been cracked/hacked/unlocked you can take it to another provider.  I guess you still have to buy an AT&T contract, but you could probably get a pay as you go one, and spend virtually nothing.


 previously described as one of the worst mobile phone service providers in the US. So if you want an iPhone, and you are already contracted to another company, you have to terminate that contract with the related fees that involves. Ben Scott's article also notes "if you are on a family plan, you may have to pay a separate fee to terminate all of your family's phones." And there's the point that that AT&T doesn't offer full coverage in more than a dozen states.

Now, the real point the article makes I'd not thought of, and relevant to this list, is that the "practice of tying users to one provider is unique to the wireless world. Cable TV providers can't tell you what kind of TV to buy. 

No, but you are "locked" to the CPE they give you (or sell you).  A wireless CPE where I live now costs ~1000 USD.  Most companies here will think long and hard before they switch providers because of the investment they have already made.

Provider lock-in is nothing new, and not limited to this phone.  

And regular phone service will work on any phone you can find at your favorite electronics store. In the latter case, that's because there is a longstanding set of laws that guarantee consumer choice."

In the USA, at least, this is "called the 'Carterfone' rules, these laws make it so you can use any device you want - phone, headset, fax machine or dial-up modem - on your telephone network, so long as it doesn't harm the network."

The article then says, "But it gets worse: phone companies don't just hold the iPhone captive; they also routinely cripple features on handsets (like Wi-Fi, games, audio and video) so that you can only access their 'preferred' content. They also limit access to the network, despite marketing 'unlimited access'. And they reserve the right to boot you off the network if you do almost anything they don't like."

"This kind of 'blocking and locking' behavior doesn't stop you from accessing the internet, but it does shape your experience and undermine the open, level playing field that consumers have come to expect online. The iPhone is simply the highest-profile example of a wireless internet market that is drifting further and further away from the free and open internet we've all come to expect.

"The only solution to this problem is a political one. 

or technical, there is a beta OS version of this phone in stores now. 


$ whois -h 
whois.afrinic.net mctim

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