AT&T inks HSPA+ deal with Mosaic

It appears AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Mosaic Telecom have signed an HSPA+ data roaming agreement, an action that likely ends a contentious disagreement between the two companies.

Wisconsin carrier Mosaic said it negotiated with AT&T in January for a data roaming deal, but that the companies couldn't reach an agreement. Mosaic claimed AT&T's stance on a possible data roaming deal was "posturing" by AT&T to curry favor with FCC officials as the agency considers requiring automatic data roaming agreements.

However, in an FCC filing yesterday, AT&T said it "reached a HSPA+ agreement with Mosaic Telecommunications." The carrier did not provide details.

Mosaic and AT&T did not immediately respond to questions on the terms of the agreement. Mosaic, part of Chibardun Telephone Cooperative, offers wireless service in Wisconsin. The company in January signed a deal with Nokia Siemens Networks to upgrade its network to LTE technology.

The FCC is currently considering whether to apply automatic roaming rules to mobile data. Larger wireless carriers have argued that the FCC should not mandate data roaming agreements, while smaller carriers have argued the opposite.

Indeed, AT&T's dispute with Mosaic isn't the first dust-up in filings on the issue. For example, the Rural Cellular Association and the Rural Telecommunications Group in a recent joint FCC filing wrote that, "AT&T told RCA it will not negotiate any 3G data roaming agreements unless it helps to fill-in its nationwide coverage map." AT&T also has spared with T-Mobile over 3G data roaming.

The data roaming issue has become notably more contentious following AT&T's proposed acquisition of T-Mobile USA, an action that would combine the nation's two largest GSM carriers.

The Rural Cellular Association wrote that "the proposed AT&T and T-Mobile merger will result in dramatic market consolidation, underscoring the immediate need for data roaming."

For more:
- see this AT&T FCC filing (PDF)

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