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Wednesday, 04 November 2009

Verizon Wireless Illegally Bans Competing 3G Products


verizon illegally bans competing products

 

In an unusual move, Verizon Wireless has begun banning resellers from selling all antennas and cell phone amplifier products that improve signal for 3G mobile broadband devices and cell phones (such as the Droid, BlackBerry Storm2, LG enV, MiFi, iPhone, and other popular devices). These antennas and powered amplifiers are typically used as a retention tool to keep customers from canceling service when in a weaker signal area or when in-building coverage is poor or non-existent.

The first victim of this new unfair policy is 3Gstore.com. 3Gstore.com has been selling 3G / EVDO mobile broadband devices and service since 2005 and has been one of Verizon's biggest cheerleaders and supporters, but earlier this year they had their authorization to sell Verizon Wireless products and services suspended with no warning or explanation. After much digging, the reason given by Verizon was that 3Gstore.com also sold antennas and cell phone amplifiers. 3Gstore was told that if they wanted to continue to sell Verizon Wireless products, they would need to cease selling all signal enhancing devices.

Ironically, Verizon Wireless stores sell some of the exact products that 3Gstore.com sells and Verizon Wireless B2B has sold exactly the same powered amplifiers that 3Gstore.com sells. Why has 3Gstore been targeted?  Apparently, Verizon Wireless is coming out with a new signal enhancing product, called a femtocell, which Verizon Wireless is calling the "Verizon Wireless Network Extender". While this product uses different technology, it competes with the powered amplifiers sold by 3Gstore.com and thousands of other resellers as well. So, it appears that Verizon Wireless is trying to illegally ban competing products in order to increase sales of the models sold directly by them.

Michael Ginsberg, president of 3Gstore.com, responded to Verizon's new policy: "If we give in and stop selling antennas and amplifiers, what is stopping Verizon Wireless from coming to us next month and demanding that we stop selling 3G routers? What Verizon Wireless doesn't seem to understand is that we have prevented thousands of Verizon customers from canceling their service contracts, because a signal-boosting product we sold to them allows them to use and enjoy their service. These products allow Verizon to retain customers that otherwise would have canceled their service due to weak or unreliable signal." Many agencies and companies understand the value that cell phone amplifiers provide (see NTSB Article).


In addition to 3Gstore, there are many other Verizon Wireless resellers and agents that sell antennas and amplifiers to help their customers. If this action against 3Gstore is allowed to go unchecked, they could be the next to get a notice to stop selling Verizon Wireless products.

"We are looking for Verizon Wireless to realize that they made a mistake, and to rectify this by allowing 3Gstore to sell their products again. If Verizon continues to be unwilling to work with us, we may also be in the market for an experienced legal firm in the telecommunication industry to represent us pro bono," said Ginsberg.


Related Links:

  • For more information, read our blog post on this issue.
  • If you would like to comment on this article, join the discussion on the EVDO Forums
  • If you are a legal expert in the telecommunications industry and would like to further discuss 3Gstore's dispute with Verizon, please contact legal@3gstore.com
  • If you are looking to purchase Verizon products and services, please contact us. While we are not currently processing Verizon orders, we can help you select the right gear and point you in the right direction.

 




Last Updated ( Wednesday, 04 November 2009 )
 
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