Verizon Wireless cries foul, responds to FCC-mandated data roaming rules

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted in favor of a new set of rules that will force larger cellular carriers such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T to provide roaming access to their data networks at prices set by the FCC. The move will allow smaller regional carriers to take advantage of the large investments made by national carriers at a mere fraction of the cost of building out their own data networks. Immediately following the FCC’s vote, Verizon Wireless’ executive vice president of public affairs, policy and communications Tom Tauke issued a statement. “Today’s action represents a new level of unwarranted government intervention in the wireless marketplace,” Tauke said. “By forcing carriers that have invested in wireless infrastructure to make those networks available to competitors that avoid this investment, at a price ultimately determined by the FCC, today’s order discourages network investment in less profitable areas. That is directly contrary to the interests of rural America and the development of facilities-based competition and potential job creation. Therefore, it is a defeat for both consumers and the innovation fostered by true competition.” Hit the jump for Tauke’s full statement.

“The U.S. wireless communications marketplace is one of the most dynamic, competitive and innovative in the world.  Consumers have many choices in wireless products and services and expect that these services will be available wherever they go.  To meet these customer expectations, Verizon has entered into 40 data-roaming agreements with our competitors – big, small, urban and rural.  We have also formed an industry-leading spectrum-sharing partnership with rural carriers to expand the reach of 4G services in rural areas.

“Today’s action represents a new level of unwarranted government intervention in the wireless marketplace.  By forcing carriers that have invested in wireless infrastructure to make those networks available to competitors that avoid this investment, at a price ultimately determined by the FCC, today’s order discourages network investment in less profitable areas.  That is directly contrary to the interests of rural America and the development of facilities-based competition and potential job creation.  Therefore, it is a defeat for both consumers and the innovation fostered by true competition.

“We are also concerned that the FCC is taking this action even though it does not have the statutory authority to do so.  Consumers benefit from the deployment of wireless networks that have more capacity to offer new services, and Verizon is committed to working with policymakers to accomplish that goal.”

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