FCC: Big carriers must connect all "roamers"

Following a lengthy regulatory process over roaming fees in the EU, the FCC has ruled that larger carriers must offer roaming service to smaller carriers. The FCC's five commissioners ruled in favor of the rules that compel carriers to offer terms on roaming that are "reasonable and non-discriminatory." The FCC decision does not include a mandatory cap on connection fees, however. The ruling also excludes broadband service connections--it only covers voice, SMS and push-to-talk services. The FCC is willing to review any comments on the need to include data services. Democratic commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein both expressed a desire to include such services, but the majority apparently ruled against them.

"I believe we should have taken another step forward today," Copps said at the meeting. "Consumers rely upon their mobile handsets these days for a dizzying array of data services, going well beyond those we cover in today's item."

Comcast, which is part of a quadruple play joint venture with Sprint Nextel and other cable providers, recently petitioned the FCC to review roaming agreement rules between the wireless incumbents and newcomers.

For more on the ruling:
- read this article from Dow Jones