Verizon Wireless Handset Policy is “Virtually Meaningless,” Consumers Union Says

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 17, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Joel Kelsey, policy analyst for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, today dismissed a decision by Verizon Wireless to change its exclusively arrangements with handset manufacturers. Verizon said smaller wireless carriers with 500,000 customers or less would be able to offer Verizon phone models after a six-month exclusivity period.

“This is virtually meaningless,” Kelsey said. “It is a classic example of what a big wireless company often does when policymakers start asking tough questions about its anti-competitive practices.

The company responds with a change in policy that, at best, helps the smallest number of consumers possible. This does nothing to correct the anti-competitive effects of exclusivity. Exclusives continue to blunt the force of consumer demand, and consumers continue to face limited choices in the marketplace.”

Media Contact: David Butler, 202-462-6262, dbutler@consumer.org

Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, is an independent, nonprofit testing and information organization serving the consumer. We are a comprehensive source of unbiased advice about products and services, personal finance, health, nutrition, and other consumer concerns. Since 1936, our mission has been to test products, inform the public, and protect consumers.