FCC Mandates Data Roaming

On April 7th, 2011 the Federal Communications Commission adopted a rule aimed to “allow consumers with mobile data plans to remain connected when they travel outside their own provider’s network coverage areas by using another provider’s network.”

The FCC’s mandate is aimed at ensuring that widespread data plans are available on “commercially reasonable terms,” and comes after the lobbying of several smaller mobile networks, such as Sprint Nextel, in an attempt remain competitive among the larger wireless carriers.

Reports of a proposed acquisition of T-Mobile by AT&T were cited by Sprint’s  senior vice president of government affairs as a threat to continued wireless competition.

Several Republican Commissioners disagreed with their Democratic counterparts, claiming that the rule “imposes common carrier obligations.”

For more information on the FCC mandate, see sources below: