Legislator proposes 4G bill requiring operators to guarantee data speeds

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), who often has pushed new legislation as it pertains to the wireless industry, has introduced legislation that would require mobile operators to spell out their "guaranteed minimum" data speeds and their network reliability statistics to potential customers.

"Consumers deserve to know exactly what they're getting for their money when they sign-up for a 4G data plan," Eshoo said in a statement. "The wireless industry has invested billions to improve service coverage, reliability and data speeds, and consumers' demand for 4G is expected to explode. But consumers need to know the truth about the speeds they're actually getting."

The bill, known as the Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act, would require wireless carriers provide to consumers at the point of sale and in all billing materials a host of information about the services they market as 4G, including guaranteed minimum data speed, network reliability, coverage area maps and pricing. Additionally, carriers would have to provide information on the underlying technology they are using to provide 4G service and network conditions that may impact the speed of applications and services used on the network.

The proposed legislation also requires the FCC to evaluate the speed and price of 4G wireless data service provided by the top 10 U.S. wireless carriers so that consumers can compare the various services.

CTIA is opposed to the idea. "We are concerned that the bill proposes to add a new layer of regulation to a new and exciting set of services, while ignoring the fact that wireless is an inherently complex and dynamic environment in which network speeds can vary depending on a wide variety of factors," Jot Carpenter, the CTIA's vice president of government affairs, said in a statement. "Congress should resist calls to impose new regulations and instead focus on the real issue, which is making sure that America's wireless carriers have sufficient spectrum to lead the world in the race to deploy 4G services."

For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
Verizon's Melone discusses '4G' marketing claims
Battle erupts over T-Mobile's 'largest 4G network' claims
AT&T names first five LTE markets for summer launch
Verizon to offload EV-DO, LTE traffic onto Wi-Fi

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