• LFOldTimer

    “The effort in Orange County to win city contracts was led by Newport Beach Mayor Kevin Muldoon, a former 5 Bars executive and former GOP state Sen. Richard Ackerman of Fullerton.”

    There’s the take-a-way from this article.

  • kburgoyne

    What an interesting mix of consistency versus monopoly. While certainly there is always the need for suspicion of cronyism, one goal of allowing AT&T and Verizon to have some level of free reign to build out the 5G infrastructure is consistency of experience for mobile users.

    When it comes to basic cellular, there is only AT&T and Verizon in this area. All other “cell phone companies” lease access to the AT&T and Verizon networks. Sprint is Verizon. T-Mobile is AT&T. There are other areas of the country where other companies control the two main networks, so our locally known companies end up having to lease access from them.

    Same concept for the lesser-known “cell companies”. It’s why if a person signs up for a “cheaper” cell phone company they may find they don’t get service at a crowded venue (such as a concert), or elsewhere where there is a high density of cell users. It’s because AT&T and Verizon lease the “left over” bandwidth to the other companies. As the left-over bandwidth shrinks, AT&T and Verizon’s own customers start being given priority.

    For those people concerned about their cell phone expenses, it’s a perfectly functional tradeoff. The main problem really only being a lack of “informed decision making” (required by HONEST free market) since typically customers are not told they’re making the tradeoff.

    End users don’t sign up for service with 5 Bars. They sign up with AT&T, Verizon, et al. This means 5 Bars doesn’t seek to get its revenue from end users. It seeks to get its revenue from leasing their sites to the actual cell phone companies. Presumably the 5 Bars equipment blocks other carrier equipment. Otherwise the whole legal debate would be moot. If the law passes, Verizon and A&T would simply ignore 5 Bars equipment and install their own.

    If the 5 Bars equipment prevents the installation of competing equipment, that is the basic foundation of a “natural monopoly”. Is 5 Bars regulated as a monopoly? Without the ability for other companies (be it AT&T and Verizon, or anyone else) to compete with 5 Bars in a geographic region, 5 Bars can hold hostage the consistency experience of 5G. The same would obviously be done by AT&T and/or Verizon given the opportunity, but they’re regulated as the monopolies they are.