Apr 10 AT 10:05 AM Edgar Cervantes 9 Comments

FCC requires data roaming at “reasonable” rates

Since 2007, mobile service providers have been required to reach fair voice and text roaming agreements with fellow carriers. In an attempt to stop a duopoly in the U.S. smartphone market, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has made a change on data roaming policies. After executing a 3-2 vote, the adjustment would force major carriers to offer “reasonable” roaming agreements with smaller companies, which would give minor carriers a better chance at competing against the big brothers.

Voice and text roaming has become quite a part of everyday life for most Americans, and one can say it has even become a necessity. Since 2007, mobile phone technology has advanced immensely, and it goes without saying that the Android OS is one of the biggest contributors, with about 300,000 smartphone activations a day. Along with the other operating systems, Android is highly reliable on data services, and with the speed that life runs at nowadays, it is simply not affordable to lose connectivity.  It has come to a point where cellphone data is highly important, even as much as voice and messaging (if not more). So, what do we do? Of course, we choose go with one of the major carriers, offering the widest coverages (unless you have no need for roaming).

As consumers, competition is something necessary, it creates a healthy balance, stopping big corporations from charging unreasonable amounts of money for their services. Since nothing has been regulating them, companies have been creating data exclusivity. Verizon and AT&T have declined to reach any type of roaming agreements with their 4G networks, and have made very few with their 3G networks, making them a smartphone/data duopoly. One can only worry about what would happen if the AT&T / T-Mobile deal is actually approved; at that point, Verizon and AT&T would have 80% of the contracted mobile customers in the U.S., which is indeed worrisome.

Let us use Android as an example, for the sake of familiarity. Upon walking into a Verizon store, one  can easily find 10+ Android devices, and if T-Mobile were to merge with AT&T, their numbers would easily surpass Verizon’s. As of now, Sprint would be the next “big carrier” in the block, and they only have about 5 Android devices. On the other hand, when one walks into a Metro PCS store, a Boost Mobile store, or any of the sort, finding more than 2 would make you a very lucky individual. Such small carriers actually tend to offer much more affordable pricing, which comes to prove that the price is not as important as the available devices, or the services for that matter.

One of the main concerns upon making this decision, was the fact that carriers might lose interest in investing towards their networks, which was not the case after 2007, so it seems highly unlikely. Allowing the little guys to roam on the bigger data networks would help them to at least have a better chance at giving comparable services at a competing price. Roaming might even be impossible in certain cases, since different carriers use different technologies (e.g. CDMA / GSM), making them completely incompatible. That said, the last thing we need is a smartphone duopoly, where one would have to choose between two companies. This is an attempt to benefit the consumer, and the major carriers would still receive payment for the use of their towers; ultimately, everyone wins.

Via: Engadget

Source: FCC

Hello, I am Edgar Cervantes. I am an avid Android fan, and keeping myself updated on the topic is part of my daily life. I will always work hard to give the best of me to our community of Android enthusiasts, and I am very honored to be part of this ship. Hopefully we can all enjoy sharing our knowledge and opinions!

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  • http://Website Richard Yarrell

    Fair is fair no doubt…Little carriers need help too…I guess this is a pretty good gage of what the FCC feels about the potential At&t and Tmobile merger. People on tmobile should’nt be to worried about that merger taking place there’s too manny people lining up AGAINST IT….I am happy cause tmobile deserves to remain tmobile not be FORCED to become part of ASS T&T.

    • celiinddahk

      hi Hey Y’all Y’all do know that for the past 15 years, the price for cell phone service has gone up, and not down. There is obviously no competition Y’all.
      http://nutraslimhcareview.wikidot.com/

  • http://Website mike

    Seriously?

    This news is literally 3 or 4 days old.

    Please hire more employees, but if you don’t, I hope you will enjoy watching this website fail.

  • http://androidandme tommytmo

    You have got to be kidding me. “Such small carriers actually tend to offer much more affordable pricing, which comes to prove that the price is not as important as the available devices, or the services for that matter.” People pay more for what they think is a more reliable service or because their friends and family also have that carrier therefore free mobile to mobile. I don’t know anyone who actually says I’m going to pay more so I can choose from a bigger selection of phones.

  • http://Website Shakikwa Jackson

    Hey Y’all

    Y’all do know that for the past 15 years, the price for cell phone service has gone up, and not down. There is obviously no competition Y’all.

    If just comparing voice and not data, the price per minute, I’m paying more per minute today than I was 10 years ago. 10 years ago I thought, “Oh when 2011 rolls around, I’ll have unlimited calls for 10 bucks a month.” I guess I was delusional.

    Well expect some price increases when the At&t/T-mobile monopoly merger is approved by our wonderful government agencies.

    Oh shit Tyrone is going to be home soon and his fried chicken and grits ain’t done y’all.

    Love Y’all

  • http://Website Tito!

    Yay! I Like this post.
    T-Mobile, FTW! (:

  • http://pryvateid.tumblr.com Dave

    That wouldn’t make that much of a difference. This is a ploy to easy into approving the AT&T & T-Mobile deal. What would be ‘fair’ & beneficial would be to just simply block the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile deal & let us have ‘choices’ like America is supposed to be about (liberties, freedoms, etc.). America is the boiling pot, let us have a little freedom to choose what will help us out in this struggling economy & recession.

  • celiinddahk

    That wouldn’t make that much of a difference. This is a ploy to easy into approving the AT&T & T-Mobile deal. What would be ‘fair’ & beneficial would be to just simply block the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile deal & let us have ‘choices’ like America is supposed to be about (liberties, freedoms, etc.).
    http://nutraslimhcareview.wikidot.com/

  • http://Website snowbdr89

    Im kind of amazed dick yarrell wrote something some what intelligent.