Since 2007 the FCC has enforced rules concerning cheap roaming agreements for voice and messaging services, and now there is talk of the same happening for data roaming. In a response to the inquiries of U.S Senators, the Federal Communications Commission has came to the conclusion that they need to enact rules governing carrier negotiation regarding dating roaming.
In a statement, made by FCC chair Julius Genachowski said:
“After an extensive review of the record, the FCC staff has concluded – and I agree – that a data roaming rule is necessary 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. The record contains abundant evidence from both national and rural businesses that a data roaming rule is necessary to achieve these important goals because some providers have been unwilling to negotiate either 30 or 40 data roaming agreements or have created long delays or taken other steps to impede healthy competition and roaming for consumers. Moreover, 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.”
Now the question is when will these rules be enacted and what does this mean for the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, if anything? Right now we are waiting to see, but I am sure that we all are looking forward to seeing how the FCC will encourage competition and still let the companies negotiate.