Still-Bitter Verizon Promises Not to Hog New Handsets, Hopes Others Will FollowJohn Herrman7/20/09 7:18amFiled to: Verizonwireless carriersCarrier ExclusivityBusinessiPhonePalm pre33EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkVerizon has outlined a plan to loosen its handset exclusivity deals, limiting their lifespan to six months. The announcement's caveats are massive and Verizon's motivations aren't pure, but it's nonetheless a step in the right direction.AdvertisementIn a letter to lawmakers, the carrier announced intentions to institute a six-month limit on handset exclusivity, allowing competing companies to move in on Verizon exclusives big and small. Great! Except for one minor detail: These "competing companies," it turns out, must have 500,000 consumers or less. This shuts out every national carrier you've ever heard of and quite a few regional ones, meaning this change only has the potential to affect about 5.6% of wireless users, according to the Consumer Union.And then there's that nasty business of motivation: Verizon has been stewing over AT&T's exclusive iPhone contract for over two years now, and can't have been too happy about getting snubbed by Palm with the Pre—a handset that they've been very vocal about pursuing. Loosening their own exclusivity deals, however slightly, gives them a sturdier leg to stand on should they choose to publicly grouse about another carrier's phone-hoarding—something they're already positioned fairly well to do, simply because the most exciting Verizon exclusive is probably the BlackBerry Storm. They don't have much to lose, basically.