FCC strengthens wireless roaming rules, but not by much

By nature, regional carriers have limited coverage maps. If they had the resources of the big guys, they’d probably be playing in the same league. But they don’t, so they can’t. And without some external body regulating this sector, they’d probably be squashed by now. So we can thank the FCC for that. We just think they could have done a lot more with this ruling. First off, there was no cap put in place on how much the big telecoms could charge for these roaming agreements. The FCC deemed it suitable to “leave it up to the marketplace to determine the terms of any agreements.” Now, we’d expect the Commission to step in should a telecom become ridiculous with its asking price. But other than that, the small cell companies’ hands are tied. The second issue we have is with the lack of a data provision in this ruling. Yes, we understand that the big telecoms built these networks and that they can do with them as they please — unless ruled otherwise by a governing body. Maybe it’s just us being softies, but when you own such a powerful entity, shouldn’t you use it for the betterment of the people? It’s not like we’re asking AT&T and Verizon to just let everyone use their data network for free. It would certainly come at a fair and reasonable cost. But we’re not even getting that. Small companies are getting completely shut out of the data market. Should the FCC not step in soon and make a ruling on roaming data services, the small cell companies could fall staggeringly behind, effectively crippling them and possibly eliminating them from competition. Enjoy the ruling, small telecoms. Too bad it’s something that should have happened years ago. Now maybe you can catch up a bit and party like it’s 2005. [CNN Money]]]>

Posted in