I think this pundit might be just as wrong as the people they're criticising.
The situation where the operators are gatekeepers ceased to have any technical significance (e.g. frequency compatibility) some years ago in almost all regions. For a period after that it continued because the operators had set things up so that you couldn't get competitive prices without buying the telephone and the service together at the same time (from the same greasy salesperson who gets a cut). Now it exists only by tradition, and that's very fragile.