Walt Mossberg likens big cellphone carriers to “Soviet ministries”

Walter Mossberg, who co-produces and co-hosts D: All Things Digital, a major high-tech and media conference and who also writes and edits for the Wall Street Journal recently wrote a damning column (October 22) in the WSJ which points out how government and big cellphone carriers stifle innovation at the expense of consumers.

You can read the article here:


or in the Wall Street Journal:


Some of his observations are real zingers:

“A shortsighted and often just plain stupid federal government has allowed itself to be bullied and fooled by a handful of big wireless phone operators for decades now. And the result has been a mobile phone system that is the direct opposite of the PC model. It severely limits consumer choice, stifles innovation, crushes entrepreneurship, and has made the U.S. the laughingstock of the mobile-technology world, just as the cellphone is morphing into a powerful hand-held computer.”


And here’s another:

“That’s why I refer to the big cellphone carriers as the “Soviet ministries.” Like the old bureaucracies of communism, they sit athwart the market, breaking the link between the producers of goods and services and the people who use them.”

Mossberg concludes with an analogy to the wired phone network of the 70’s and states:

“I suspect that if the government, or some disruptive innovation, breaks the crippling power that the wireless carriers exert today, the free market will deliver a similar happy ending.”

We agree with Mossberg on this point. And if given the chance, M2Z would certainly like to help deliver a pro-consumer happy ending in wireless broadband.


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