Fair Roaming Alliance and RTG Members refute claim that mandated data roaming would limit innovation or investment in wireless telecommunications

On September 2nd, the Fair Roaming Alliance and RTG members issued a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which refutes the White House’s Business Roundtable and The Business Council’s joint June 21, 2010 letter alleging that a data roaming requirement would limit innovation or investment in wireless telecommunications.

The Council’s letter stated that

[t]he FCC has proposed or is considering a number of regulations that will limit innovation or investment incentives. Examples include mandating wireless carriers provide data roaming services to any requesting carrier – even in areas where those carriers possess their own spectrum but have chosen not to invest in the capital infrastructure necessary to use it…

We know this is untrue. In fact, as evident in the record developed at the FCC on this matter, the near-unanimous view of the wireless industry is that an automatic data roaming obligation not only is in the public interest, but is essential to preserving and promoting competition, innovation and investment in wireless data services and wireless networks. Notably the two main opponents of a data roaming requirement are AT&T and Verizon Wireless, which collectively serve over 65% of all wireless subscribers and continue to increase their dominance with each passing quarter.

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