Tuesday, August 26, 2008

FCC Undecided on Changing Mobile Phone Roaming Rules

Here's some interesting wireless contract scoop for those who make a lot of roaming calls. According to a Reuters article, the Federal Communications Commission or FCC has not yet made a decision on chaining certain cellular roaming issues that have caused some problems for some mobile phone carriers.

This delay on changing the mobile phone roaming rules was seen as significant since smaller carriers have been expecting a decidion on this issue. Let's look at the heart of this conflict since roaming is one of the many aspects of mobile phone contracts.

The problem lies on whether carriers should be allowed to roam in areas where they own airwaves, but have not built networks, are affecting smaller carriers. Smaller carriers own spectrum in certain markets but lack the means to build the wireless networks and so they have to rely on o roam on the existing networks of larger rivals. The FCC has decided to look at this issue after the commission reaffirmed the rights of smaller carriers to roam on the networks of bigger wireless companies about a year ago.

Minor wireless network providers wanted to gain access to areas where they had acquired spectrum. unfortunately, they lack the means to build networks top exploit those areas. Neverthe less, thses small carriers wanted to preserve their right to roam in those areas.

Earlier, the FCC made a proposal that allowed smaller carriers who owned unused spectrum could continue roaming for four years before they lost roaming rights. The FCC wanted to give smaller carriers time to build out their own networks or to give the spectrum back to the government and continue roaming.

However, the FCC's five commissioners were unable to agree on the proposal so it was withdrawn. Some commissioners were concerned that they need more time to study the issue while some wanted to grant a longer phase-in period to smaller carriers.

The FCC did not indicate a specific time frame for making a decision in this issue. Well, this looks like an issue that won't go away soon. This issue affects regional customers who might lose their ability to make roaming calls if the FCC did not grant smaller carriers to roam on major net works.

Tune in to this blog for more news and updates regarding issues related to mobile phone contracts.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sprint's ETF Lawsuit Loss Could Shake the Industry!

It been a few weeks since I've made a post here. The wireless contract scene has been quite so There wasn't anything to write about. But that's not the case right now. I've just found out that Sprint lost a lawsuit on its ETF wireless contract policy. Let's explore the details of this story.

Apparently, Sprint's early termination fees has violated a state law according to a California state judge when he ruled against the company. The members of the class who sued Sprint for it's ETF were awarded a total of $73 million in reparation for the fees.

The judge's tentative ruling says that Sprint will have to pay $18.3 million to customers who sued over the fees. Sprint should also credit $54.8 million to those who were charged but did not pay the fee. Well, Sprint seems to be in a bind now but the company does have two weeks to contest the ruling.

Not on to the bigger picture. The judge is also considering other lawsuits against telecommunications companies over mobile phone contract policies covering early termination fees. And recently, Verizon Wireless agreed to pay $21 million to settle an identical lawsuit. Overall, things are not looking well for mobile phone carriers.

FCC representatives refused to release any comment on this pivotal court decision however they did indicate that it will not affect the agency's plans on ETF. Currently, the FCC is dealing with lobbying over how best to handle the ETF policies in the wireless contracts of carriers.

The FCC has been asked by various Telecommunications companies to regulate the fees. They want the agency to protect them from class action lawsuits in state courts. The FCC has released information on a plan in which the cancellation fees would be reduced over the life of the contract.

Customers and consumer groups have continually assailed the ETF policies in the mobile phone contracts of cell phone carriers. Perhaps this important decision will fuel the efforts to regulate this troubl;e some fee. Tune in to this blog for more wireless contracts info, news and updates.