RTG recently responded in a letter to the FCC regarding AT&T’s March 24, 2011 ex parte acknowledging that it has entered into a 3G data roaming agreement with one of RTG’s members, CTC Telcom d/b/a Mosaic Telecom (“Mosaic”). RTG is thrilled that at least one of its members has been able to obtain an HSPA+ (3G) data roaming agreement with AT&T. To RTG’s knowledge, this is the first domestic 3G data roaming agreement between AT&T and a rural mobile operator. RTG notes that this agreement was executed only after the FCC announced that it intended to adopt a data roaming mandate and right before AT&T announced its intention to acquire T-Mobile.
RTG is certain that the FCC’s plan to mandate data roaming will be a giant step in assisting President Obama with his initiative to bring 4G mobile broadband to America, including those living, working and traveling in rural America. With the future data roaming mandate in place, rural wireless carriers can be assured that their investments in rural 3G and 4G networks will not be stranded because their subscribers will now have the ability to access the networks of the large carriers who hold the majority of spectrum below 1 GHz in urban and suburban areas across the nation. Likewise, urban consumers will be able to access rural networks when they travel through rural America provided that AT&T and Verizon do not block their respective customers’ access to those networks. RTG is anxious to review the soon to be adopted data roaming Report and Order and trusts that the FCC will take into account the impact of a potential AT&T/T-Mobile merger when putting the final touches on the Report and Order.