Washington, D.C. – Today, the Rural Wireless Association, Inc. (RWA) shared the results of its member survey on the impact of the three nationwide carriers’ discontinuance of 3G services on rural Americans. RWA asked the Federal Communications Commission to require the three nationwide carriers to delay their plans to sunset or shutoff 3G wireless service until December 31, 2022. Each of the nationwide carriers —AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile—have announced plans to sunset 3G service on dates ranging from December 31, 2021 in the case of T-Mobile to mid-2022 for Verizon and AT&T.
RWA’s survey found that rural carriers’ subscribers are already experiencing problems accessing 3G across the nation due 3G services already being shut down or reduced. RWA flagged that VoLTE roaming issues needed to be resolved among the rural wireless carriers and the nationwide carriers in advance of the three carriers’ official 3G shutdown dates. RWA President, John Nettles noted that “Rural wireless carriers need additional time to transition to VoLTE which requires coordination and implementation with the nationwide carriers. Part of the delay has been related to the nationwide carriers dragging their feet over the past several years to test and implement VoLTE roaming with the rural wireless carriers. When you are a small carrier, it is often hard to get on the radar of the larger carriers.”
A copy of the ex parte can be found here.