DOJ takes no action on text message price hikes

The Department of Justice has concluded its inquiry into text message pricing and determined that no action is necessary.

The Justice Department has wrapped up its investigation of text-message pricing and determined that no action is necessary, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Those are your tax dollars at work, folks.

It was back in September 2008 - some 15 months ago - that the Justice Department first said it would launch an investigation after Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) questioned why the wireless carriers had doubled their rates from 10 cents per message to 20 cents over a span of a few years. He suspected collusion among the carriers to set those rates.

By all means, when the government suspects collusion, it should investigate on behalf of the consumer. At the time, though, I couldn't help but wonder if Sen. Kohl and the DOJ were tackling the wrong issue, After all, today's consumers are more concerned about things like unreliable networks, exclusivity deals between carriers and phone manufacturers, the process for developing apps for smartphone platforms and, of course, dropped calls.

That's not to say that Washington isn't watching those issues, too. The Federal Communications Commission, for example, is currently investigating early termination fee hikes on smartphones. Seeing how smartphones are the devices expected to see big growth in coming years, this feels like something worthy of Washington's attention.