FCC may require mobile data roaming

The chairman has circulated a draft order that would require operators to negotiate fair data roaming agreements

With some mobile operators making it difficult for people to use data services while roaming on their networks, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is now working to develop a rule that would require them to negotiate reasonable data roaming deals with other operators.

Some providers have been unwilling to negotiate data roaming agreements or have "created long delays or taken other steps to impede healthy competition and roaming for consumers," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a letter to members of Congress. He was responding to representatives who wrote to him asking what authority the FCC had to regulate data roaming.

In the letter, Genachowski said the FCC has the authority under the Communications Act to set rules governing mobile operators for the convenience of end users.

He also said he has circulated a draft order to the other commissioners for consideration. The order would require operators to offer data roaming arrangements with other carriers on commercially reasonable terms and conditions.

The public record contains "abundant evidence from both national and rural businesses" that a rule is necessary since some operators have been reluctant to negotiate data roaming agreements, he said. The policy is needed "to ensure vibrant competition in the mobile marketplace, to unleash billions of dollars of investment that is currently sidelined, to create thousands of new jobs and to meet the consumer demand for seamless nationwide coverage, be it for voice or data," he wrote.

He also wrote that the transition to LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks makes data roaming even more important. "As the mobile world moves to LTE, the Commission's basic bipartisan voice roaming rules will be in jeopardy, as they will no longer ensure automatic voice roaming," he said.

That's because in the future operators may transmit voice calls using VOIP over LTE, classifying voice as a data service. Without data roaming, an operator might lose the ability to let its customers use voice services when outside of the operator's coverage area.

The rule proposes to allow operators to negotiate and determine terms on a customer-by-customer basis.

Genachowski sent the letter to 12 members of Congress including Republicans Representative Joe Barton of Texas, Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and California Representative Mary Bono Mack.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags telecommunicationregulationU.S. Federal Communications Commissionmobilegovernment

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?