Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Second-Tier Telecoms Tired of Playing Second Fiddle

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

MetroPCS (NYSE: PCS  ) , U.S. Cellular (NYSE: USM  ) , and a host of other small wireless carriers and associations, including NTELOS Holdings and the Rural Cellular Association, have filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission urging the agency to put an end to delaying tactics that the major wireless carriers have employed to avoid negotiating data roaming agreements.

Last April, the FCC approved rules to require wireless carriers to make data roaming available on "commercially reasonable" terms. This ruling was made to settle a dispute regarding the larger carriers who were against providing data roaming on equal terms with voice roaming.

"What good is that smartphone if it can't be used when that subscriber is roaming across the country, or across the county?" FCC Commissioner Michael Copps asked at the time.

The day after that ruling, Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) and AT&T (NYSE: T  ) both argued against it and in May, Verizon filed suit to void the automatic data roaming rules. Verizon stated that the FCC had exceeded its statutory authority by making arbitrary and capricious rules.

Apparently, to put off complying with the implementation of the data roaming rules as long as possible, the larger carriers had been drawing out the negotiations of any agreements. In the latest filing, the smaller carriers ask the FCC to light a fire under Verizon and AT&T.

"Supporters stressed that imposing a shot clock on such negotiations is necessary to provide the proper incentive for potential roaming partners to timely respond to inquiries," the filing stated. This was, the filing continued, "to incent the larger carriers to engage in good faith negotiations in a reasonable time frame."

Just add data roaming to the other issues of limited spectrum availability, debt from capital expenditures on high-speed networks, and smartphone subsidies, and it makes the road look pretty bumpy ahead for the small carriers. Deeper pockets for legal fees and lobbying may carry the day for the majors here.

Keep track of the above companies by placing them on the Fool's watchlist:

Fool contributor Dan Radovsky owns shares of AT&T. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 1769911, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/27/2016 3:27:30 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,193.58 -5.75 -0.03%
S&P 500 2,133.75 -5.68 -0.27%
NASD 5,223.36 -26.91 -0.51%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

10/27/2016 3:11 PM
T $36.66 Up +0.23 +0.62%
AT and T CAPS Rating: ****
TMUS $49.52 Up +0.02 +0.04%
T-Mobile US CAPS Rating: ***
USM $35.89 Up +0.64 +1.82%
United States Cell… CAPS Rating: No stars
VZ $48.63 Up +1.00 +2.10%
Verizon Communicat… CAPS Rating: ****