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[imgbelt img=farmer-cell-phone-250.jpg]

Verizon has agreed to
limit its exclusivity agreements with popular super-phone makers to six
months – after which time small rural carriers can make their own deals.

As ECommerce Times
reports, some think this concession may be what rural consumers have
been waiting for: “the ability to buy any feature-rich phone from any
device maker and tie it to any wireless provider they choose.”

Rural
phone companies have been lobbying against the giant phone companies,
alleging that their exclusivity agreements with racy smartphone makers
like Apple (the iPhone) violate anti-trust laws. Verizon communicated
its six-month compromise plan to Rep. Rick Boucher of Virginia, Sen.
John Kerry of Massachusetts, and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, of West
Virginia, all of whom lead strategic oversight committees.

Renay
San Miguel reports some advocacy groups contend that Verizon’s
compromise doesn’t substantially restrict the big companies or change
the phone industry game. Chris Riley of Free Press told San Miguel,
“It’s all just an attempt to forestall legislative or FCC efforts to
regulate them.”