AT&T: T-Mobile’s data roaming proposal would “violate the Telecommunications Act”


T-Mobile recently put forward a petition to the FCC asking it to rewrite data roaming rules. But AT&T has called the proposal unlawful. T-Mo’s initial petition calls for the FCC to ensure that US data roaming agreements between larger and smaller carriers are fair. In the words of T-Mobile’s original proposal:

The Commission adopted the data roaming rule because it found that providers require access to data roaming in order to be able to compete, and that an extensive record showed that many were having difficulty obtaining such access on reasonable terms. Despite adoption of the rule, however, real-world industry experience shows that providers continue to be stymied in their efforts to negotiate data roaming agreements on commercially reasonable terms.

These problems are due in large part to certain ambiguities in the “commercially reasonable” standard for data roaming – ambiguities that could not have been foreseen at the time, but which have become apparent with experience. The data roaming marketplace, and the consumers who rely on it for ubiquitous, affordable wireless service, would benefit substantially if the Commission provided greater clarity on the meaning of its “commercially reasonable” standard in the context of data roaming.

In short, T-Mobile thinks that because there’s no specific framework, or boundaries to work within, large carriers are getting away with perhaps charging too much. And this is because the “commercially reasonable” term is so vague, that anyone could argue any transaction was commercially reasonable. You can read that FCC filing here.

And just like it did with the petition to change the proposed laws for a spectrum auction next year, AT&T is lobbying against changes to the data roaming rules. More than likely because it stands to lose something.

In a blog post today, Joan Marsh, AT&T’s VP of Regulatory wrote that this proposal is unlawful, and that it violates the Telecommunications Act which prohibits the FCC from treating wireless broadband providers as “common carriers”. The post also points towards the fact that T-Mobile is now paying less for its data roaming than it ever has. Insinuating that T-Mo has nothing to complain about:

There is no justification for granting T-Mobile’s petition –  in fact, according to T-Mobile’s own economist, wholesale roaming rates have trended “downward strongly” in recent years, and the average wholesale roaming rates paid by T-Mobile have fallen nearly 70 percent since 2011 and continue to decline. 

Needless to say, we don’t know how this is going to play out. And just because the FCC voted in favor of T-Mobile’s auction rule changes earlier this year doesn’t mean that the “Un-carrier” will get its way this time.

Via: AT&T, FCC 

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  • GinaDee

    T-Mobile is a large company. They have chosen over the years not to invest enough in their own coverage.

    Now they are asking the government to force AT&T to lower their roaming rates so they can offer their customers more coverage without paying as much.

    Sorry T-Mobile I’m calling your BS on that one. Our US govt. shouldn’t force one telecommunications company to subsidize your intent to offer more coverage because you were too cheap and lazy to build out the nationwide licences you’ve had for years.

    Yes T-Mobile has licenses to build out service all over the nation but they have chosen not to. It’s a business decision they made to remain a cheap urban carrier.

    • vinnyjr

      Sounds to me like Ms GinaDee is a employee of AT&T. That is the Carrier who charges tons of money for lousy service. I’ll stick with the Cheap Urban Carrier who has the best rates, double the data speeds and real unlimited data. Thank You T-Mobile.

      • Matthew James

        Their service is no better or worse in general than T-Mobile’s. All depends on location, location, location. AT&T low spectrum allows me to have reliable, consistent service at home, which is more than what I can say about T-Mobile.

        • Eric

          At least AT&T didn’t pull a Verizon back in the fall of 2013.

      • Spanky

        So the fact that she doesn’t unconditionally fellate T-Mobile automatically makes her an AT&T employee? By the same token, it can be stated that you’re a T-Mobile employee.

      • vinnysr

        Did the etf payoff business uptick slow down already?
        The 15 likes and yourself must be having some kind of downtime to make laughable comments like you stated.

        The only thing that you stated as a fact is unlimited data.
        I have unlimited data but I learned pretty quick that doesn’t mean much once I leave my city because I was roaming the whole time on ATT LOL

        Tons of money, have you price checked recently because prices are pretty close now.
        Last i checked 1 ton was like 2000 pounds of weight, but you made it plural so at bare minimum 4000 pounds.
        Are you claiming ATT cost $4000 more over a time period???

        Don’t get me wrong I hate ATT but if your going to stick up for your employer atleast post credible information instead of the gibberish you posted. SMH

    • G

      To be fair, we would need to see how much T-Mobile is paying for the rates. Just because it is down 70% does not mean that is significant enough to accept. Look at how data usage has exploded since 2011. 10GB of data for one line was $70+/mo on a 2YR contract.

      Also, I would applaud T-Mobile for trying to get a lower rate for roaming since so many complain at how little they can afford to give. I know it’s crazy to imagine, but T-Mobile does have to pay for that service for it’s customers.

      • vrm

        Neither at&t nor verizon have huge buildouts in rural areas, in terms of bandwidth available for data.

        T-mobile offers unlimited data, which would also mean their customers while roaming, will use unlimited data ( or at least large amounts of data, which is what they want at low prices).

        At&t’s n/w, esp in rural areas, is band width constrained and so they have to resort to such tactics.

        • ChristianMcC

          Roaming data is limited to, at most, 200MB, domestically.

        • Tom

          And if you have unlimited it is only 50MBs

      • maximus1901

        Then they should just allows us to pay for additional roaming beyond the whatever they give us.

    • Nearmsp

      That is how the rest of the world operates. Even cable companies in Europe and Australia have to provide access to others and charge them acceptable price. US is the only country where everyone has their unique network and thus wants to eat up smaller companies to get monopoly pricing. Consumers suffer as a result.

    • Jay J. Blanco

      Exactly! AT&T would lose money and customers. T-Mobile should buy some of Sprint 800mhz. That’ll help out alot. Smaller carriers is they best option to expand

      • jeremyvbk

        There is no left over Sprint 800smr spectrum to buy. And it’ll never happen anyways

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Yes there is. Sprint has tons of 800mhz spectrum just sitting unlitized especially in the western U.S.

        • jeremyvbk

          No they don’t they have an 8×8 MHz chunk in the west, some areas less, and that is bring used for 1 1.25mhz 1xrtt 800mhz channel plus one 5×5 800mhz LTE channel. The Mexican border and Canadian border areas are the only Ines not able to deploy. So There is none for T-Mobile to try and buy. And like I said before Softbank would never sell its 800mhz spectrum.

        • maximus1901

          Tons? They have at most 7×7 MHz which they are using 5×5 lte and 1.25×1.25 CDMA voice carrier. Where do you get tons?

    • Melissa Cardenas

      tru that i really like tmobiles prices but coverage outside LA was spotty and frustrating. Edge 90 % of the time i wouldnt mind edge as long as it worked for data but data was not usable at all with edge,And my job requires me to travel alot and tmobile just dont work if u travel alot , Now on att i have hspa outside the city no its not always lte but it at least works for data fine. Im just hating the prices ugh ..

      • Glen Barrett

        I recently switched to a Cricket Plan. Cricket was bought by AT&T just 3 months ago, so if you haven’t seen them recently, your in for a surprise. On Cricket, I got a Cricket SIM card, and enjoy AT&T’s coverage with 5GB for $55 when I setup auto-pay.

        T-Mobile was always a hassle. My new AT&T iPhone didn’t need to be unlocked. I got a phone which the unlocking company wanted another $50 to unlock it. So yeah, Cricket made more sense. The phone worked because it thinks its an AT&T sim card. Now, I have a Cricket rate, I get LTE, and said “Good Bye” to life in the slow 4G lane.

        The other thing that annoyed me about T-Mobile was the high-pitched sounding Filipino customer service reps at T-Mobile.

        I still have free T-Mobile data on iPad. But for phone calls and coverage, Cricket is the best bang for the buck.

        • Jack

          Why do you have to single out a certain race if don’t like the company. Don’t be ignorant .

        • Glen Barrett

          It reminds me of my neighbor’s mom, while growing up. She tried to get me to marry into her family to bring additional family members to the US. I hope you don’t see anything wrong with them. But everytime I call T-Mobile, I’m reminded of that childhood experience.

        • MTV

          Filipino would be an ethnic group defined by region. Filipino is not a race by any means. If your going to advise on not being ignorant, you might want to due diligence before stating your thoughts.

          High pitch part of his/her statement is stereotyping and could cause reasonable anger possibly but your trying to accuse GB of being a racist without calling him/her a racist . Thats just about as ignorant as a racist themselves.

        • UMA_Fan

          Prepaid customer care on tmobile is outsourced. Post paid isnt.

        • UMA_Fan

          Remember Cricket throttles LTE to 8mbps and HSPA+ to like (i think) 3mbps. Might not matter for some people understandably but where you get T-Mobile LTE coverage you can pull nearly three times faster speeds.

        • James Kozak

          i never had a hassle with TMobile and been with them 7 years

      • UMA_Fan

        Well tmobiles has promised all edge to 4G by middle of 2015. Would be a good time for people to lock into the tmobile plan prices of today because who knows what the rates will be for new customers once coverage in rural areas expands

        • maximus1901

          TMO can’t afford to increase rates as long as there’s 4 national carriers.

        • UMA_Fan

          Not entirely true. T-Mobile ISN’T the outright cheapest national carrier even right now. They have the best value for many people especially considering the free international roaming. I don’t see the actual pricing TIERS going up but I can imagine what you get at each price point may be different let’s say a year from now. This already occurred with unlimited data. For example, you can still add on data for $20 but now you get 5GB instead of unlimited and if you want unlimited now it’s $30/month which used to offer 5GB. But if you signed up for unlimited when it was only $20 you get to keep it to this day. I could see as data becomes more and more in demand that unlimited might be a higher price point in the future.

        • jeremyvbk

          Promised but impossible to deliver. Edge and LTE have different ranges and usable signal levels. LTE is a more fragile airlink. Since it is so, it will be impossible to cover all edge to HSPA+, and or LTE. They would have to have more rural towers to do so.

        • maximus1901

          Hspa is still significantly better than lte.
          I can get 3 bars of Hspa+ inside my house but zero TMO lte.

        • jeremyvbk

          Agreed HSPA+ is better reaching than LTE. But that is just to show how hard it can actually be for rural LTE coverage. They HAVE to add more towers. Backhaul will be the next biggest thing. Will they add microwave chains, or run fiber like Sprint did for theirs(microwave in some unrealistic places fiber can’t get to)

        • maximus1901

          Does sprint have contiguous b25 lte everywhere? No they don’t they are relying on b26 in rural locations; they have contiguous Evdo coverage.
          Same with TMO. They’ll have seamless Hspa and Spotty band 2 lte but band 12 will fill in gaps.

        • jeremyvbk

          But sprint has the use of band 26 already implemented in a lot of places. Band 12 still aas channel 51 issues and can’t be used until next year in many places. And then you have to add devices for support. It’ll be tougher for T-Mobile to rollout rural given the channel 51 issues, and as in some areas with 800smr rebanding it can be a hassle even we with deadlines for the Local govts to vacate 800. Same with channel 51.

        • maximus1901

          Plus, does TMO really NEED wal to wall rural lte? With seamless Hspa and spotty band 2 lte, much of the traffic would be offloaded to lte and then Hspa 1900 would catch what’s too far from lte. Compared to current experience, that’d be heaven.

    • Almeuit

      T-Mobile is large? Compared to AT&T and Verizon?

      • maximus1901

        It’s large enough to expand its coverage in areas most roamed by its customers. Plenty large.

        • Almeuit

          And spectrum doesn’t come into play on that? Lol. Yeah I’m sure they aren’t expanding because they love hurting customers /rolleyes

        • maximus1901

          They aren’t expanding because they’re cheapest carrier and carriers never expand coverage, they only buy other carriers. TMO’s spectrum does not end at city limits or where they current do have coverage. Look it up in fcc database.

        • Almeuit

          Yeah.. Never.. Lol whatever you say pal :D.

        • Aaron Davis

          Until recently, t-mobile has only been able to buy high frequency short-range spectrum. It makes no sense to deploy short-range towers in areas with low population densities. Once you get out in corn country, you might be looking at 2-3 customers per tower, which would make zero financial sense. Since it takes a lot more than 3 customers to justify a tower, pretty much anything outside of a city is too sparse to make any sense.

          Verizon has always had a ton of low frequency long-range spectrum. This means that a single Verizon tower, placed in the exact same spot, would cover significantly more area and people, making it viable even out in corn country.

          This is why spectrum matters. At&t and Verizon were very much aware of this fact since the beginning, which is why they have done their best to make sure that they always outbid t-mobile for low-frequency, to keep their coverage-per-tower advantage.

          Ironically, focusing on a purely low-frequency network has come back to bite Verizon and at&t in the end, when people in the middle of a major city can’t even make a basic voice call because there are TOO many people people per tower (coverage is TOO good).

        • UMA_Fan

          Exactly. Thank you for actually making sense! The whole 600mhz auction debate ISN’T about making networks better for at&t/verizon but it’s true crisis mode from their perspective if T-Mobile gets a good chunk of that spectrum because all they will have to do to cover the boonies is throw up a single tower out there and you’re pretty much done.

        • maximus1901

          See my post above about 1900mhz Hspa+21
          Even that would be a huge improvement to edge.

        • maximus1901

          It’s not th fcc’s problem how much it costs to deploy, only that tmus HAS the spectrum.
          For a point of reference, CDMA pcs goes slightly farther than lte 800mhz according to empiracle observations. Assuming CDMA goes farther than wcdma, this means that it wouldn’t cost TMO any more to deploy 1900mhz Hspa+21 than it does for att vzw to deploy lte 700mhz.

        • Aaron Davis

          it’s not about the cost to deploy, it’s about the number of customers you will get per tower.

          Do you even understand what “range” means?

          To cover a given area with 1900mhz would take significantly more towers than it would with 700mhz.

        • maximus1901

          1900mhz 3G >= 700mhz lte according to people who have verizon.
          Since CDMA and wcdma have same basic tech, I conclude that TMO could deploy 1900mhz Hspa+ at same cost as 700mhz lte.
          There’s more to it than just frequencies. You have to take air link into account

        • Aaron Davis

          I’m sorry, but anecdotal evidence from a handful of Verizon customers doesn’t beat the laws of physics.

          At the same trasnmission power, a higher frequency will ALWAYS have a shorter range. It doesn’t matter if it’s light rays, radio waves or sound waves. This is why you only hear the bass part of your neighbors stereo when he cranks it up.

        • maximus1901

          There’s more than physics. You have to compare the same technologies. LTE vs LTE not HSPA vs LTE or CDMA vs LTE. LTE is OFDM and CDMA is CDMA.
          You can’t even compare FM vs AM radio, for range comparisons, because they use different modulation techniques and FM – I think – is more robust.

        • maximus1901

          I’ve also ready people saying that vzw CDMA pcs goes farther than 700mhz lte. Sooooooooo tmo has ZEROIOOO excuse to not cover America with at least Hspa+21 on 1900mhz

        • maximus1901

          Wrong. TMUS was able to participate in the 700MHz 2008 auction and could’ve bought all the 700a block. Sure it wouldn’t have ALL been useful but better to start in 2008 than in 2014.

        • UMA_Fan

          Verizon isn’t going to cover much of the boonies with their ‘XLTE’ BS either because it uses the same AWS spectrum that T-Mobile uses primarily for their 3G, 4G and LTE networks. Wonder why? Because Verizon doesn’t have a lot of towers in rural areas either. It’s thanks to their lower band spectrum that travels further that makes it economical for them to cover those kind of areas. I would imagine once T-Mobile gets their hands on low band spectrum they would be able to do the same.

          Also keep in mind a year and a half ago no one thought T-Mobile would cover this many people with LTE by now and so fast. They’ve built out LTE faster than anyone else in the US so just imagine what the network will look like a year from now.

        • maximus1901

          It’s neither fcc’s nor att’s problem how much it costs TMus to expand footprint. All that is relevant is that tmus HAS Thr spectrum.

        • James Kozak

          they are expanding

        • maximus1901

          Their lte but not their overall footprint.

        • maximus1901

          TMO had no low freq spectrum until this year which has made it more expensive to build out coverage but it’s still able to if it wanted
          Or TMO could buy our the remaining gsm CCA members but deutsche Telekom doesn’t wanna be a sugar daddy to TMus anymore.

        • GinaDee

          Expensive yes but T-Mobile already offers 2G coverage in many rural areas. It’s not AT&T’s fault.

        • UMA_Fan

          The 2G runs off lower band spectrum than the typical AWS LTE. Easier to deploy. I’m sure they’ve looked into this heavily and they’ve concluded it only makes financial sense to cover the boonies with 4G with low band spectrum or none at all.

        • maximus1901

          No it doesn’t.
          Pcs is 1900mhz and
          AWS is 1700mhz for uplink and 2100 for downlink; it’s right in the middle.

        • UMA_Fan

          So it’s basically 2100mhz since it won’t work without it.

        • maximus1901

          downlink has higher power. When your phone loses connection, it’s most likely not because your phone can’t hear the tower but because the tower can’t hear you.
          Lower freq for uplink is better.

        • maximus1901

          Why’d you leave s4gru?

        • maximus1901

          TMO covers 285million with 2G or better.

      • UMA_Fan

        They operate more towers than at&t and Verizon in urban areas believe it or not

        • Ordeith

          huh, so that must be why their coverage is so terrible. /s

        • UMA_Fan

          It’s actually why their Internet speeds are so fast

      • GinaDee

        They own spectrum and licenses nationwide. They are a multi-billion dollar for profit corporation. Yes they are smaller than AT&T but then again AT&T is smaller than Exxon Mobile. There is always someone bigger.

        • dtam

          That’s irrelevant. And I don’t think tmobile is just trying to get better rates. They will be under the same rules for when an mvno negotiates with them. Other than an att/Verizon employee, I have no idea why anyone with any sense or read the article would complain about tmobile wanting the fcc to “define” something

        • kalel33

          I don’t see how an MVNO negotiation has anything to do with roaming.

        • dtam

          Figure it’s still using someone else’s network that you need to pay for

        • kalel33

          But MVNOs don’t even have their own network, so it’s not like roaming and the government won’t get involved with MVNOs, because they’re companies that just piggyback on someone else’s network. They’re like an ebay reseller of Oakley’s.

        • dtam

          that’s the point, they are dependent on paying another company to use their network

        • superg05

          such a plant your roots are showing

        • Baxter DeBerry

          not a great way of putting things.. your comparing mobile company’s to oil.. oil is indefinite, its all over the place and more is available.. mobile spectrum is not.. golden white space spectrum 600-1000 is not.. but I know you know that.. Im not saying T-Mo should get things cheaper.. but I do think the FCC should be clearer on its wording.. this is where loop holes form for these companies..

    • Glen Barrett

      Yeah. But now that Softbank/SprintNextel/Clearwire are all teaming up to purchase T-Mobile/MetroPCS, they should pay the roaming rate.

      Having government set prices how a free-market economy works.

    • S. Ali

      Does no one read anymore. T-Mobile isn’t asking ATT to lower their rates. TMO is asking the FCC to clarify what “commercially reasonable” means so that they can enter into a discussion with ATT on fair rates. ATT isn’t involved in tthis discussion at all. They are not asking the FCC to help them negotiate, they are asking for guidance on how to approach roaming as defined by the Telecommunications Act. They want the FCC to make the terms more clear. The request is for an “expedited” decision. Under the current terms, carriers charge whatever they want and call is commercially reasonable.

      This is a 100% fair request that Sprint also supports.

      • GinaDee

        They want the government to fix rates to make it more affordable for them to roam off others. Right now carriers can charge what they want as it should be.

        • UMA_Fan

          But at&t uses the fact that they allow roaming to justify spectrum buys and make themselves look good to regulators. It makes sense for the government to have GUIDELINES and a relative ceiling so at&t isn’t participating in outright extortion.

        • maximus1901

          “guidelines” and “relative ceiling” does not a number make.
          Either there is a tangible number, or one that can derived oooooor there isn’t.

          No matter what TMUS says publicly, fact is: they want cheap-er roaming so they don’t have to expand past the city boundaries.

          FYI: Sprint’s roaming limit is 100MB per user per month and 800minutes and they’re paying VZW (absent other partners).

        • S. Ali

          No, they want the government to DEFINE what “commercially reasonable” is supposed to mean. Then, ATT and TMO can negotiate rates on their terms. Its like you didn’t read the article at all.

        • lordfarquaad

          You really can’t see they just want cheaper roaming, can you?

        • philyew

          Please stop making up $hit. Here’s the first paragraph from the TM petition:

          “T-Mobile USA, Inc. (“T-Mobile”) hereby petitions the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) to expeditiously issue a declaratory ruling that provides prospective guidance and predictable enforcement criteria for determining whether the terms of any given data roaming agreement or proposal meet the “commercially reasonable” standard adopted by the Commission in the Data Roaming Order. Carriers need this modest guidance to provide necessary clarity in individualized negotiations and to help parties better evaluate the commercial reasonableness of offered terms and to reach agreements.”

          Later it says:

          “The industry guidance that T-Mobile requests would not amount to the prescription of rates, nor will it interfere with providers’ ability to negotiate data roaming arrangements on individualized terms. Rather, it will provide guidance to encourage commercially reasonable individualized practices and, if disputes arise, provide the basis for the Commission to evaluate particular practices or disputes.”

          Right now “commercially reasonable” is so vague that it could mean anything. It can span anything from the requirement for a reasonable, universal value proposition all the way through to allowing variable pricing which is set specifically to limit the commercial competitiveness of the buyer – i.e. the greater the competitive threat, the higher the price, which would fly in the face of normal volume pricing logic.

          There isn’t an even playing field in this industry. There is huge inequality in the practical value of spectrum, where those who came first acquired a huge advantage. Because of this, full nationwide deployment using only AWS and PCS would have required a competitively impossible investment.

          There is a huge inequality between those who have grown organically and those who have grown by acquisition.

          Whether it is Deutsche Telekom’s own fault or not, they overpaid dramatically to buy into the US market when they spent around $55 billion to acquire Voicestream and the other smaller components of TM which altogether brought them less than 10 million subscribers. Compare that with the current value of the company having 4-5 times that number of customers.

          It wasn’t TM’s fault that the FCC allowed the previous tenants of the AWS band to drag their feet over two years vacating the spectrum, to the point that TM were unable to deploy their first 3G service (for which they had invested $ billions with no return) until AFTER the 700MHz auction was concluded in 2008.

          Would we have even had a fourth nationwide competitor, if DT hadn’t taken these limited steps over the last 12 years? All that is being asked for is greater clarity about a measure which was originally intended to ensure a greater measure of fairness. To deny it really is an argument for complete laissez-faire. The free market zealots will applaud you for that, but most consumers should rightly be deeply concerned.

        • maximus1901

          So if this “guidance” is truly merely guidance, and not prescriptive, then who gives a #hit? Why is TMO trying to get a recommendation “passed”? Why is ATT opposing it? If this recommendation is passed and TMO “invokes” it, ATT can say “go #rew yourself” and nothing would happen because it’s a recommendation???

        • philyew

          Read the petition and you will get your answer. It may not be the answer you want, but it is there.

        • maximus1901

          Ehh. I’d rather not. Care to summarize here? :)

        • philyew

          I’m watching the world cup final sorry ;-)

        • maximus1901

          Then why isn’t DT/TMUS taking care of its rural problems via CCA roaming or Rural Roaming Preferred Program? Seems like there’s no excuse.
          Yes most of those carriers are CDMA but they’re deploying LTE using Sprint’s spectrum so TMUS could easily adopt sprint’s 25, 26 bands.

        • philyew

          That’s a good question, I have been hoping to see some developments in that direction, and can only assume that it is the preponderance of CDMA carriers which prevents it being a significant move. However, I agree that TM should take whatever benefits they can from their participation in CCA.

        • GinaDee

          By petitioning the FCC T-Mobile is trying to unlawfully rewrite the Commission’s data roaming rules in ways that would limit marketplace flexibility, undermine incentives to invest in broadband networks, and constitute prohibited common carriage regulation.

          I feel no charity for a multi-billion dollar organization who are trying to sell themselves out (again) but this time to a Japanese owner.

          DT sat there with their thumbs up their backsides while Cingular bought AT&T Wireless, while Verizon bought Alltel, and while Verizon/AT&T gobbled up most of the 700 MHz. The others got bigger because they took risks and made the proper investments at the right time.

          Now TMUS is looking for more charity instead of putting down the CAPEX needed to build out a mid band LTE network nationwide. They are in the spectrum position they are in for reasons that are self inflicted.

    • UMA_Fan

      Well to be fair it’s t-mobiles spectrum that’s prevented huge build outs in rural areas. They would need three times as many towers as at&t and Verizon for the same area. The biggest point to place blame might be DT for not bidding in the 700mhz auctions but that was a wireless lifetime ago. Even Verizon with their XLTE you’re only seeing that in urban areas because it’s higher band spectrum and more expensive to build out in rural areas.

      • maximus1901

        That’s not the fcc’s problem. TMO has spectrum so let them build it out. I actually hope att increases TMO’s roaming to force tmus to expand coverage.

        • gsm1900

          TMO does not have low band spectrum. They purchased some 700Mhz spectrum from Verizon, but there is no device support. Even if they stood it up today it would be useless. The reason this is the FCC’s problem is because they sold all the best spectrum to the biggest players, and did not control how they deployed it. Verizon has owned AWS spectrum since 2007, but started building on it in 2013. Why? Because only T-Mobile used it, so by Verizon supporting it device manufactures would build it in. Why didnt T-Mobile have AWS support on the iPhone until 2013? Because win 2012 Verizon told Apple to build it in to get ready for their eventual AWS deployment. T-Mobile just rode the verizon wave.

        • bucdenny

          It’s not AT&T’s and Verizon’s fault that Sprint and T-Mobile didn’t bid on the 700mhz auction. How is it the FCC selling the big players?

        • T-Mobile has been actively expanding coverage. In fact, they have now surpassed Sprint in terms of native LTE coverage to become the 3rd largest LTE carrier.

    • izick

      Keep in mind here: They’re still our airwaves. These companies have the responsibility to provide service on these specific wavelengths that we expect to receive. The companies license the spectrum from the government; we, the people (administered by the FCC), still own the outside air in which these waves travel. This article ( explains some background of why we should either be in favor of a merger or see others provide better access to network sharing.

  • Mike

    I’m torn on this. Absolutely that term ‘commercially reasonable’ should be defined because left to a dominating entity to define, the answer is what they want to charge. But should the government dictate what the answer should be? Slippery slope.

    • dtam

      I think govt probably should be able to define. Not necessarily a set price but define as a percentage compared to the carriers usual rates they charge to their own customers. There just needs to be something that prevents price gouging

      • Logan S

        You might have a ground in preventing price gouging in a monopoly, but if there are other providers in a specific market, then a provider should be able to set their price, roaming or native. It’s take it or leave it.

        Granted, having Verizon or Sprint as the other provider(s) in that market means AT&T is having a monopoly on the GSM service there, and there is (currently) no way for T-Mobile to roam on VZW or Sprint, so T-Mobile might make a case based on that. It’s a weak one though.

  • UMA_Fan

    Isn’t one of the reasons T-Mobile is getting such a lower rate for data roaming was because of the failed at&t merger??? At&t should not be able to use that as an excuse.

    • Moby

      No, T-Mobile only got access to AT&T’s network for roaming for seven years. There was no lower rate given.

  • Brendan Ward

    I thought you couldn’t roam no more on att and tmobile and sprint have worst coverage in the north east especially northern ny state

  • jason h

    My base case assumption is always that ATT is full of it and I go from there.

  • Bourgeois

    Why do I have unlimited data roaming while in Europe, but if I roam in the U.S. I am capped at 10MB per month?

    • kalel33

      Because very few people will use the international data roaming but the domestic roaming would be used quite a bit. They used to have unlimited domestic data roaming but it seems they believe it’s “Uncarrier”, because nobody else does it.

    • philyew

      Most likely because there is a real opportunity to offer reciprocal services to overseas carriers, whereas there would have been little or no interest from AT&T customers roaming on the TM network when the roaming agreement was reached in 2011.

      If you can trade roaming rights for roaming rights, you avoid a cost component. If you have to buy roaming rights, as with AT&T, then TM has to set a break point beyond which it is uneconomical to offer the service.

    • GinaDee

      T-Mobile is being cheap. Ironic how they can brag about free international 2G roaming knowing good and well that their average subscribers aren’t global travelers but fail to provide a decent rural data experience right here at home.

      T-Mobile would rather have the government force the hand of other operators who spent their own capital building out rural networks and make them accessible to them at cheap rates so they don’t have to build out on their own.

  • KijBeta

    In my opinion, this would benefit regional carriers and if dish network more than T-Mobile. It would have made more sense for several regional carriers (those who are not being bought out) to file the request together.
    T-Mobile wants to shake up the industry, this might be more to ruffle feathers. Like poking the bear with a stick several times.

  • notyourbusiness

    ATT is just pissy and wants to thwart anything T-Mobile does to better its network and user experience because it’s terrified of losing more customers. -_-

  • Kev

    So basically T-Mobile wants to mooch off the big boys?