Got this interesting email today from Consumer Reports:

If you own a cell phone, the giant telecom companies are likely holding you hostage right now.

They know they can charge you what they want, give you spotty service, and even prevent you from getting the latest technology, because almost all the most popular wireless handsets on the market today are shackled by "exclusivity deals" meaning if you buy a particular phone, you can only get service from one company.

Want an iPhone? You're stuck with AT&T. Own a Blackberry Storm? You have to deal with Verizon. These exclusive contracts mean your pricey phone is virtually worthless if you try to change companies. And forget about shopping around for a better deal.

Throw off the chains of the telecom giants. Tell Congress to free your phone now!

A few years ago the telecom companies tried to keep you from taking your phone number with you when changing providers. They knew if you had that freedom, you'd walk away from bad or pricey service. But with your help we mounted a campaign to the Federal Communications Commission and Congress to let you keep your number, and the companies were forced to give in.

We want to give your cell phone that same freedom. The FCC just agreed to review these exclusivity deals, and the Department of Justice is reportedly looking into it as well. It's time Congress gets involved and makes sure that when we shop for wireless phones and service, it's in a truly competitive, free and open marketplace.

But the telecom giants are lobbying against this freedom, and we need consumers like you to put the pressure on once again.

E-mail Congress for the freedom to shop for the best deal on your phone AND your phone company.

In Asia, 80 percent of wireless phones are sold outside of a wireless carrier contract. But in the United States, you're either stuck with one company, or your phone is effectively worthless. That's not a free market, that's just un-American.

Jim Guest

P.S. Know anyone else caught between the phone they want and the company they have? Forward this message so they can weigh in, too!