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Verizon-AT&T Duopoly the Worst Thing for Mobile Customers

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Every four years in America, we're reminded that narrowing a field of choices down to two is very problematic. No matter how many pros and cons are weighed, a 50-50 shot is bound to come with more than a few downsides. Sure, there are alternative candidates along the fringe, but support and prominence are both lax. Choosing a third-party option, as a gubernatorial alien from The Simpsons would phrase it, is like "throwing your vote away."

In the tech world, we've already seen a two-party field occur countless times. Windows (MSFT) versus Mac (AAPL). VHS versus Betamax (SNE). HD DVD versus Blu-ray. 

And, most prominently in 2012, Android (GOOG) versus iOS. However, like the Libertarian and Green Party candidates of the smartphone world, we also have BlackBerry (RIMM) and Windows Phone -- both of which have seen their numbers dwindle. At this point, in the absence of BlackBerry 10 and solid Windows Phone app support, you're best off with one of the two top dogs.

But moving forward, as most consumers are choosing between a Droid and an iPhone, their options of which national carrier to choose have also become limited. In terms of the frontrunners, we have Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T), Sprint (S), and T-Mobile. And if you'd like an iPhone, you can only choose among the first three. 

And as Verizon and AT&T grow both in subscriber and spectrum, the rest of left flailing in their wake. T-Mobile nearly got bought out by AT&T and Sprint is swimming in debt. Again, customers are best off with either top dog.

Problem is, both Verizon and AT&T know this. 

Both have gotten rid of unlimited data for new customers. Both have charged fees for dubious reasons, like early termination and online payments. Both have implemented arbitrary data caps. Both have killed apps on Android and iOS devices because they "mimic functionality" offered by their terrible, proprietary systems.

In short, knowing that customers have fewer alternatives, they've treated them like crap.

Reflecting this sad fact, The Simple Dollar mocked up an infographic which details just how awful a Verizon-AT&T duopoly is for consumers.

(See also: Microsoft Destroys Beloved Franchise's Last Shred of Dignity and AT&T Falsely 'Upgrades' iPhone 4S to 4G)

Twitter: @mcs212

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POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.