And, even where rules only affect a single provider, such as LightSquared or Dish Network, the affected providers might not think government rules are especially fair. And there always is a risk of unintended consequences, even when a policy is well intentioned.
Something like that, with price implications for lighter mobile data users, arguably has happened as an unintended result of an apparently unrelated decsion by the Federal Communications Commission regarding Verizon’s purchase of 700-MHz spectrum.
The FCC decided that Verizon was violating the “open access” rules of the 700 MHz spectrum licenses it purchased in 2008 by charging customers an additional $20 per month to tether their smartphones to other devices.
Verizon paid the fine and allowed tethering on all new data plans. Perhaps it is not a major issue, but one result of that ruling is that Verizon Wireless essentially has abandoned the “light user” part of the postpaid mobile broadband market, according to the Technology Policy Institute.
Basically, Verizon and T-Mobile USA offered lighter users the more-expensive data plans, before the decision. Afterwards, Verizon became the highest-priced alternative for light data users.
You might argue that the changes are completely coincidental. You might argue the changes do not reshape the market.
But it is possible to argue that a decision ostensibly related to “open access” caused the leading mobile service provider to change its retail packaging in ways that made it the sole “high price” provider in the market where it had been within $5 to $10 a month of all the other leading providers.
That's an unintended consequence, you might argue.