FCC issues order on wireless voice roaming


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wireless Voice Roaming: Statement by Consumers Union

Washington, DC—The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) yesterday issued an order on wireless voice roaming, eliminating a loophole that allowed big wireless carriers to charge anti-competitive rates for voice roaming to smaller rural or regional carriers in some markets. This meant that some consumers could receive wireless service in their homes, but would be unable to make calls at reasonable rates in their workplace or while traveling around town. Such service limits are highly frustrating and costly to consumers.
Joel Kelsey, policy analyst for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, issued the following statement today following the FCC’s decision to start the rulemaking process:
“For cell phone users with independent carriers, this FCC action could lead to lower costs and less confusing bills. By offsetting the cost their providers have to pay to big carriers for roaming, subscribers of small carriers can roam closer to home with more reasonable rates.
“This is a welcome move by the FCC, which should help to lower barriers to entry in the wireless marketplace and ultimately give consumers more choice in local providers. This is a good first step, but there is still a long way to go. We look forward to working with the FCC to apply similar rules to data roaming, which has clearly become an essential component of mobile service for consumers.”
Media contact:
David Butler, Consumers Union, 202-719-5916, dbutler@consumer.org