Can you hear me now? FCC launches shot across big telecom's bow


Over the last decade, the major cell-phone companies have been accused of overcharging for inferior service, imposing onerous fees and long contracts, and generally treating their customers like ATMs with a pulse. For most of that time, the agency charged with overseeing the industry, the Federal Communications Commission, has generally let Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile conduct business as they please.

Today, the FCC, led by new Chairman Julius Genachowski -- President Obama's old Harvard Law School chum -- put the industry on notice that those days are over, by announcing a wide-ranging inquiry focused on ways to increase "innovation" in the wireless industry. Translation: no more business as usual.

Originally published