FCC votes to compel AT&T and Verizon to share data networks

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
The US Federal Communications Commission narrowly voted to require big mobile carriers to contract with smaller competitors to share access to their mobile data networks, as they are already compelled to do for voice service.



The FCC's 3-2 vote, as reported by Bloomberg, mandates that leading carriers such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless must reach "commercially reasonable" agreements with smaller carriers.



FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said the new requirement would promote competition and investment, noting that "roaming deals are simply not being widely offered.?



AT&T and Verizon opposed the measure, complaining that they have scores of roaming agreements and that there?s no need for regulation. AT&T executive Robert Quinn said in a statement that "a data-roaming mandate is unwarranted and will discourage investment,? and complained that proponents of the new regulation were not just seeking to foster roaming agreements but to "regulate rates downward."



AT&T's vocal opposition to the measure is ironic given its interests in seeking approval of its mega-merger acquisition of T-Mobile, which competitors are complaining will reduce competition and reduce choices for consumers.



If AT&T is legally compelled to resell access to its data network, the merger becomes far more attractive to all parties involved, as it puts T-Mobile's underutilized public spectrum licenses to better use while supporting more avenues for competition, not fewer.



AT&T has indicated that it wants to eventually turn off T-Mobile's non-standard 3G service and repurpose the smaller firm's AWS bands for 4G LTE service, ostensibly supporting high speed data service roaming with carriers such as MetroPCS, which already use AWS for LTE data.



In addition to MetroPCS, the report also noted Sprint Nextel, Leap Communications, and other independent carriers as being potential beneficiaries of the new ruling.



Steven Berry, president of the Rural Cellular Association that represents nearly 100 small American mobile carriers, said in a statement that "consumers will benefit from a more competitive marketplace, and carriers will be encouraged to invest in advanced networks."



For hardware makers such as Apple, the ruling encourages the development of compatible, standardized networks that facilitate roaming, and enables consumers greater choice in mobile providers rather than being locked to a specific carrier as Apple's iPhone has been for the last four years due to technical incompatibilities that prevented roaming agreements between carriers.



The buildout of new, next generation LTE networks by both AT&T and Verizon and smaller regional carriers promises to finally return the US back to the potential for inter-carrier roaming once common under the old AMPS mobile networks in place before the last decade of incompatible barriers arose between the digital networks of GSM, CDMA, and iDEN mobile carriers.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    Quote:

    AT&T and Verizon opposed the measure, complaining that have scores of roaming agreements and that there?s no need for regulation. AT&T executive Robert Quinn said in a statement that "a data-roaming mandate is unwarranted and will discourage investment,? and complained that proponents of the new regulation were not just seeking to foster roaming agreements but to "regulate rates downward."



    Generally, any time you get a quote like that you know they are protecting profits. As a consumer of these services, I don't see a downside here...
  • Reply 2 of 31
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    AT&T's vocal opposition to the measure is ironic given its interests in seeking approval of its mega-merger acquisition of T-Mobile, which competitors are complaining will reduce competition and reduce choices for consumers.



    I would have called it hypocritical rather than ironic.
  • Reply 3 of 31
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,742member
    At least it won't be politically contentious...



    </sarcasm>
  • Reply 4 of 31
    smiles77smiles77 Posts: 668member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fecklesstechguy View Post


    Generally, any time you get a quote like that you know they are protecting profits. As a consumer of these services, I don't see a downside here...



    Actually they have a valid point. This disincentivizes Verizon and AT&T from upgrading their networks quickly as it only helps competitors. The regulation really doesn't seem necessary, and no one is doing anything remotely illegal or unethical. The companies make deals as they see it improve them; this leads necessarily to making their customers happier through faster, more reliable service as they need them to exist. Likewise, while I would disagree with a mandate applied here, I believe the TMobile merger should go through as it should benefit the customers on both networks. It's a great move for both companies, and I believe we'll be better off for it.
  • Reply 5 of 31
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Let us see, a government agency telling a private company how to run their ops... Didn't the government tell banks how to loan money to people for houses they couldn't afford? And we know how well that turned out!



    Has the government shut down yet? Can they do it a day earlier? Pleeeeeeease!



    On a side note: I like how all these Dems are coming out of the woodwork expressing so much concern for the parks closing and cancer research stopping and all that other BS, when they didn't care a rat's ass when they were SUPPOSED TO PASS A BUDGET BACK IN OCTOBER LAST YEAR! as one of their primary responsibilities. </rant>
  • Reply 6 of 31
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    No....the government did not tell banks to loan money to people who could not afford it. The banks did that all on their own.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post


    Let us see, a government agency telling a private company how to run their ops... Didn't the government tell banks how to loan money to people for houses they couldn't afford? And we know how well that turned out!



  • Reply 7 of 31
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    I don't agree. I don't understand the point of two or three different mobile carriers all building out separate networks in the same city. Seems a waste of money and very inefficient.



    Their is little reason they cannot all use the same network and still offer different services at different price points.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post


    Actually they have a valid point. This disincentivizes Verizon and AT&T from upgrading their networks quickly as it only helps competitors. The regulation really doesn't seem necessary, and no one is doing anything remotely illegal or unethical. The companies make deals as they see it improve them; this leads necessarily to making their customers happier through faster, more reliable service as they need them to exist. Likewise, while I would disagree with a mandate applied here, I believe the TMobile merger should go through as it should benefit the customers on both networks. It's a great move for both companies, and I believe we'll be better off for it.



  • Reply 8 of 31
    tonkintonkin Posts: 42member
    Definitely control the telecoms. Most of their infrastructure was, and is, funded by the taxpayer in various forms. "They", these corporate living entities, chose to make money in an arena that is, by necessity, heavily regulated. "They" are playing the game while holding all the implements, and now they're trying to re-write the rules. Naughty. Unfortunately, they are spoiled and very rich, and it's hard for the audience (consumers) to really know what's going on. "They" can say anything and we must believe it. Who's checking the facts?
  • Reply 9 of 31
    8corewhore8corewhore Posts: 833member
    Great news for consumers.
  • Reply 10 of 31
    libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 1,418member
    The knee jerk reaction is that it will "help consumers" here, but the opposite is the reality -- this WILL stifle infrastructure investment, increase costs (regulation always costs more) and government interference in private industry ALWAYS has unintended consequences...



    Enough is enough -- government is always sticking its nose into EVERYTHING! Wonder why that toilet doesn't flush right in your bathroom -- you guessed it -- GOVERNMENT REGULATION!
  • Reply 11 of 31
    libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 1,418member
    Any government funding of telecom infrastructure needs to end! Enough is enough -- the nation is broke, in debt, and has a MASSIVE SPENDING PROBLEM!





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tonkin View Post


    Definitely control the telecoms. Most of their infrastructure was, and is, funded by the taxpayer in various forms. "They", these corporate living entities, chose to make money in an arena that is, by necessity, heavily regulated. "They" are playing the game while holding all the implements, and now they're trying to re-write the rules. Naughty. Unfortunately, they are spoiled and very rich, and it's hard for the audience (consumers) to really know what's going on. "They" can say anything and we must believe it. Who's checking the facts?



  • Reply 12 of 31
    libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 1,418member
    Think again bucko -- what do you think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are? That's right, the taxpayers are paying for their mortgage failures, and they are government entities!





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    No....the government did not tell banks to loan money to people who could not afford it. The banks did that all on their own.



  • Reply 13 of 31
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,503member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post


    Actually they have a valid point. This disincentivizes Verizon and AT&T from upgrading their networks quickly as it only helps competitors. The regulation really doesn't seem necessary, and no one is doing anything remotely illegal or unethical. The companies make deals as they see it improve them; this leads necessarily to making their customers happier through faster, more reliable service as they need them to exist. Likewise, while I would disagree with a mandate applied here, I believe the TMobile merger should go through as it should benefit the customers on both networks. It's a great move for both companies, and I believe we'll be better off for it.



    When they give back all the billions in tax subsidies then I'll feel for them.
  • Reply 14 of 31
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,778member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    No....the government did not tell banks to loan money to people who could not afford it. The banks did that all on their own.



    they sure did ... and with alacrity.
  • Reply 15 of 31
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,778member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post


    The knee jerk reaction is that it will "help consumers" here, but the opposite is the reality -- this WILL stifle infrastructure investment, increase costs (regulation always costs more) and government interference in private industry ALWAYS has unintended consequences...



    Enough is enough -- government is always sticking its nose into EVERYTHING! Wonder why that toilet doesn't flush right in your bathroom -- you guessed it -- GOVERNMENT REGULATION!



    I'll star believing some anti-government rhetoric from the loony right when I see all of them in congress refusing to accept pensions and health care benefits that come from this scary thing they hate so much called the Government of the United Sates. You know the institution set up by we the people and democratically elected by the same.
  • Reply 16 of 31
    mennomenno Posts: 854member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    No....the government did not tell banks to loan money to people who could not afford it. The banks did that all on their own.



    As other's have said, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The government basically told banks to take on high risk housing loans, backed by these two establishments because they were "Too big to fail." and if the homeowners defaulted, the government would bail those banks out.



    So basically they told the banks: You know those high risk/high reward loans? We're removing the risk. At worse, you get your money back, but you stand to gain a ton of money!



    What do you think banks would do? It's like telling a guy he can do whatever he wants for 24 hours and bear no responsibility for his actions.
  • Reply 17 of 31
    mennomenno Posts: 854member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 8CoreWhore View Post


    Great news for consumers.



    Not really. What it will mean is that Verizon and ATT will have no reason to upgrade their existing networks. They'll just wait for someone else to do it and then roam off of them.



    It will slow down broadband expansion considerably.



    Why should a small regional carrier (that can offer cheaper rates because of it's much smaller network) gain full access to Verizon's network for a fraction of the cost it would take to build that network out?
  • Reply 18 of 31
    mennomenno Posts: 854member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    When they give back all the billions in tax subsidies then I'll feel for them.



    So all those regional carriers can roam in a single state of their choosing. There are those billions back.
  • Reply 19 of 31
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post


    Let us see, a government agency telling a private company how to run their ops... Didn't the government tell banks how to loan money to people for houses they couldn't afford? And we know how well that turned out!



    Has the government shut down yet? Can they do it a day earlier? Pleeeeeeease!



    On a side note: I like how all these Dems are coming out of the woodwork expressing so much concern for the parks closing and cancer research stopping and all that other BS, when they didn't care a rat's ass when they were SUPPOSED TO PASS A BUDGET BACK IN OCTOBER LAST YEAR! as one of their primary responsibilities. </rant>



    Ah the 4th branch of the government; the unelected administrative state. They sure work wonders don't they.
  • Reply 20 of 31
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post


    No....the government did not tell banks to loan money to people who could not afford it. The banks did that all on their own.



    Actually, you're wrong. The government did tell banks to do that through the CRA (Community Reinvestment Act of 1977). It started with Carter and Clinton gave it a shot of adrenaline in the 90's. Do some research.
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