At a hearing conducted Wednesday before the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee, lawmakers seized upon the recent introduction of the Apple iPhone and on publicity surrounding the FCC’s draft 700 MHz order to highlight the potential application of Carterfone rules to the wireless industry. Issued in 1968, the FCC’s Carterfone rules allowed subscribers to the legacy AT&T phone network to attach devices of their choice to that network as long as such devices caused no harm to the AT&T system. Complaining that current industry practices that “lock” wireless handsets and that prevent customers from installing custom software and other applications on mobile phones stifle innovation and customer choice, Skype Communications has petitioned the FCC for a ruling that would extend Carterfone principles to the wireless industry. Voicing support for the Skype petition, subcommittee chairman Ed Markey (D-MA) propped up an iPhone, which, in the words of Markey, “demonstrates the sheer brilliance and wizardry of wireless engineering,” yet also “raises questions about the fact that a consumer can’t use this phone with other wireless carriers” besides AT&T. Accordingly, Markey added, the introduction of the iPhone “highlights problems with the current marketplace structure, where devices are provided by carriers, portability of devices to other carriers is limited or non-existent, and many consumers feel trapped.” Declaring that Carterfone “has taken on new urgency” in light of the FCC’s draft 700 MHz order, House Commerce and Energy Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) said the FCC should consider imposing open access provisions on wireless spectrum licenses. However, as a representative of CTIA stressed that Carterfone was implemented at a time in which AT&T dominated the nation’s landline phone market, ranking subcommittee member Fred Upton (R-MI) cautioned: “I do not think it would be productive to adopt a regulatory posture that in any way emulates policies applied in the past to a monopoly.” Arguing that the wireless industry is driven by consumer demand as demonstrated by the introduction of the popular RAZR phone by multiple carriers, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless told lawmakers that the application of Carterfone rules to wireless carriers is “unwarranted,” as he warned that such regulation would “decrease the utility of the wireless networks on which literally hundreds of millions of people depend.”