Revoke Cellular Company FCC Licenses!


By Patrick   Follow   Sat, 19 Nov 2011, 7:00pm   24,383 views   19 comments
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Let's revoke the FCC license of the cellular carriers (T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint) until they stop their fraudulent "surprise" billing for services customers didn't ask to use.

The US cellular oligopoly charges two to four times as much as carriers in other countries, so the least they can do is let us choose which services we want to be overcharged for.

Currently, millions of people get "surprise" charges every month for cellular data or texting or other services they do not want, even if they didn't use them at all. This is fraud.

Carriers should have to get explicit written permission for each service separately to charge a customer. Customers should have the option to refuse any service they don't want, such as data or texting. If you don't want data, you should never get a charge for data usage. If you don't want texting, you should never get a charge for texting.

Any billing of customers without explicit written permission for that particular service should result in immediate revocation of their FCC license to use the public airwaves.

Are you with me on this? If so, please leave a comment below, and maybe suggestions on how to spread this idea.

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  1. APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch


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    1   7:50pm Sat 19 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Right on! After AT&T buys T-Mobile (they will; you'll see) it will redouble again and if anyone asks why, the cartel will respond it's all the fault of stalinist repression of the free market.

    I find all the cellular carriers fucking odious constructs of scum sucking highwaymen. They should all be turned the fuck off until a la carte billing is available as the law of the land and voice rates keyed to something reasonable, like a 1 cent a minute maximum.

    Same with the cable cartel. Same with the banks now that I think of it. There should be ZERO fees. None. At all. Ever. A bank fee should be a capital crime. They already take deposits and pay zero interest and charge credit card customers effective rates of 55% - and loan money to payday loan operations that charge effective rates of 400%.

    But, yeah, start with the cellular cartel. Who would not want to wipe their asses with the faces of these criminal psychopaths?

  2. Patrick


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    2   7:51pm Sat 19 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    APOCALYPSEFUCK is Tony Manero says

    Who would not want to wipe their asses with the faces of these criminal psychopaths?

    I like the way you put that.

  3. ¥


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    3   9:23pm Sat 19 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    rent-seeking bastards.

    Selling off our commons -- the EM spectrum was pretty stupid.

    Almost as stupid as giving it all that spectrum away back in the 1950s.

    'course, that was quid-pro-quo. The wealthy got control of a new information medium that was piped into everyone homes, and government got the pro-government bias they wanted.

  4. Patrick


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    4   11:24pm Sat 19 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    The interesting question for me is whether a Congress made up of randomly chosen citizens could possibly be any worse for the 99% than a Congress funded and controlled by the 1%.

    Seriously, I think I'd prefer a Congress made up of 535 of the kinds of people I meet in line at the DMV.

  5. ¥


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    5   12:03am Sun 20 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Patrick says

    I think I'd prefer a Congress made up of 535 of the kinds of people I meet in line at the DMV.

    Ever see Idiocracy?

    It'd kinda be like that.

    One contact with a condo HOA board will put you off of democracy at any level.

  6. Patrick


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    6   7:48pm Sun 20 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I loved idiocracy, so accurate.

    But YES, even with those idiots, we would probably get better and less corrupt laws than we do now.

    HOA boards are just a few people. Congress is 535 people, so I think a random selection of 535 people would represent America pretty well.

  7. thunderlips11


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    7   9:11am Mon 21 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I think this has alot to do with the way the market is structured; in the US, phones and services generally are bundled together.

    In most other countries, you buy the phone separately from the service, which is usually a pre-paid.

    The latest and greatest Cell Phones and Tablets would be a lot more expensive if they weren't subsidized by a two-year phone contract, however.

  8. zzyzzx


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    8   9:50am Mon 21 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    I loved idiocracy, so accurate.

  9. corntrollio


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    9   5:27pm Mon 21 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    Currently, millions of people get "surprise" charges every month for cellular data or texting or other services they do not want, even if they didn't use them at all. This is fraud.

    Yes, this is all for stuff that has some of the greatest margins available on any product. Texting costs the cellular company almost nothing, but they charge you at least 10 cents generally. The markup is something well over 1000%, according to an article I read a while ago.

    Patrick says

    If you don't want data, you should never get a charge for data usage. If you don't want texting, you should never get a charge for texting.

    Yes, one of the biggest scams is that if someone sends you a text you don't want, you still get charged.

    Generally speaking, cell phone companies should be charging what people charge in Europe -- i.e. the caller pays, not the receiver. Here, the cell companies get to double-dip.

  10. Patrick


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    10   7:03pm Mon 21 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Yes, you can draw a straight line from the fact that AT&T is the largest single contributor/briber of Congress to the unusually high costs for cellular service in the USA.

    We don't have a free market, we don't have democracy, and other countries do not want to be like us.

    All we have is legalized corruption of government by smiling corporations, and Fox News telling us how wonderful that is. Who would have guessed that America would just rot to death?

  11. SFace


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    11   12:02pm Wed 23 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    corntrollio says

    Yes, this is all for stuff that has some of the greatest margins available on any product. Texting costs the cellular company almost nothing, but they charge you at least 10 cents generally. The markup is something well over 1000%, according to an article I read a while ago.

    In all fairness, ATT and Verizon spends about 20B on Capex each year respecively, one red cent margin on text is not going to cut it to make it worthwhile return on investment.

    Patrick says

    Yes, you can draw a straight line from the fact that AT&T is the largest single contributor/briber of Congress to the unusually high costs for cellular service in the USA.

    That is too generic to come up to that conclusion.

    1)AT&T is one of the biggest corporation in the United States that does business solely in the US. In fact, the US business alone may be more significant that Mircosoft, IBM, US only business. Contribution may be comensurate with exposure.

    2)This is the type of business that requires approval across the fed state and local level. By default, Lobbying is part of business just like any other telecom company anywhere in the world. The US cell business is actually pretty competitive compared to the world where there is only 2-3 major carriers in play.

    3) Unusally high cell service is disputable without further support.

  12. B.A.C.A.H.


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    12   12:14pm Wed 23 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    SFAce, you really think the 1% are gonna share with you if you make yourself into an Apologist for Them?

  13. Patrick


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    13   12:25pm Wed 23 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    SFace says

    3) Unusally high cell service is disputable without further support.

    Here is further support:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10307726-94.html

    SFace says

    The US cell business is actually pretty competitive compared to the world

    Obviously not true. Here's another link in case you didn't read the first one:

    http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/08/11/1610237/us-cell-phone-plans-among-worlds-most-expensive

    SFace says

    Lobbying is part of business

    No, lobbying is not part of business. Lobbying is an attempt to increase profits at the expense of the public by directly bribing lawmakers. Ask Jack Abramoff.

  14. Patrick


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    14   12:39pm Wed 23 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    SFace says

    In all fairness, ATT and Verizon spends about 20B on Capex each year respecively, one red cent margin on text is not going to cut it to make it worthwhile return on investment.

    Capex per user is about $100 per year:

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/241158-at-t-s-wireless-capital-expenditure-to-match-verizon-s

    Annual revenue per user is about $600 per year:

    https://www.iemarketresearch.com/press_center/2010/USA-will-have-365.7-million-mobile-subscribers-in-2014-with-Verizon-Wireless.asp.htm

    The carrier are giant gushing fountains of cash, which corrupt Congress to prevent real competition and fair prices.

    And you know almost all cap ex is for voice infrastructure. Texting is just gravy on top of that, requiring almost no additional expenditure. So the markup on the extra cost to provide texting is probably well over 1000%.

  15. jkennedy


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    15   1:29pm Wed 23 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (2)  
  16. uomo_senza_nome


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    16   1:45pm Wed 23 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Bellingham Bill says

    rent-seeking bastards.

    oh boy, rent-seeking everywhere.

    I wish someone would draw a diagram similar to that xkcd money chart that shows all forms of rent-seeking in the economy. It will highlight the amount of money slushing around from the productive to the non-productive sector.

  17. uomo_senza_nome


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    17   1:45pm Wed 23 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Patrick says

    Lobbying is an attempt to increase profits at the expense of the public by directly bribing lawmakers. Ask Jack Abramoff.

    Indeed. +1.

  18. APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch


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    18   1:53pm Wed 23 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    One of the satisfying aspects of the advent of Cannibal Anarchy will be knowing the CEOs of these companies will end their lives with a starving neonazi standing on their chest and ripping out their livers and eating them in from of them.

    Patrick says

    Yes, you can draw a straight line from the fact that AT&T is the largest single contributor/briber of Congress to the unusually high costs for cellular service in the USA.

    We don't have a free market, we don't have democracy, and other countries do not want to be like us.

    All we have is legalized corruption of government by smiling corporations, and Fox News telling us how wonderful that is. Who would have guessed that America would just rot to death?

  19. SFace


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    19   4:02pm Wed 23 Nov 2011   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    Here is further support:
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-10307726-94.html

    That's a good start but does not support the thesis that cell companies overcharges by a factor of 2X-4X as a gross approach is misleading for many reasons. 1)The US is large geographically with many market regions so cost of business is different. Many countries don't have the three tier government system to deal with and the telecom tax burden that comes along with it. 2) Price of equipment is embedded in the contract whereas other plans used in other countries may not 3) In a gross approach, McDonalds in US is 4X more expensive than McDonalds in Vietnam so does that make MCD a ripoff?

    In any case, here are the top telecom companies in the world by region and their profit margin before income tax:

    US:
    At&T 15%

    Verizon 12% Verizon is a 100% wireless play vs. AT&T.

    T-Mobile - owned privately by German Telecom: May have to get segment information
    Sprint: Loss

    Europe:
    Vodafone: 21%
    Telefonica: 23%

    Asia:
    China Mobile: 34%
    Airtel (India): 28%
    NTT Docomo (Japan): 20%

    latin America:
    America Movil 22%

    The US wireles companies are signifcantly (about 1,000 basis point) below the profit range of almost any telecom in the world.

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