MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) is refuting claims by consumer groups that its recently announced LTE data plans violate the FCC's net neutrality rules, and said it is not running afoul of the FCC. The flat-rate carrier, which introduced the new plans earlier this month, also said it will respond fully to the FCC about the complaints on or before Feb. 11.
MetroPCS' new LTE plans break down into three tiers. The $40 plan includes unlimited talk, texting and LTE Web browsing with unlimited YouTube access. MetroPCS' $50 LTE plan adds international and premium text messaging, turn-by-turn navigation with MetroNavigator, mobile instant messaging, corporate email and 1 GB of additional data access. The $50 plan also provides access to some of the features in the carrier's MetroStudio content storefront, though only through a WiFi connection. MetroPCS' $60 plan adds unlimited data and premium on-demand video and audio content through the carrier's MetroStudio.
Consumer groups, including Free Press and Media Access project, said MetroPCS is making access to sites such as Netflix and Hulu more expensive, and also is blocking Skype service outright.
"The complaints about our new, pro-consumer, pro-competitive 4G LTE rate plans are erroneous," the company said in a statement. "We continue to offer consumers a full service, unlimited data plan. We increased consumer choice by adding two new rate plans that are less expensive and enable consumers to select the service and content they want at a price point they can afford. These new rate plans comply with the FCC's new rules on open mobile Internet."
Under the FCC's rules, which were approved by a 3-2 vote in December, wireless carriers are barred from blocking services such as Google Voice and Skype that compete with their own voice and video offerings, as well as those in which they have an attributable interest. Carriers also face transparency requirements on network management policies and a basic "no-blocking" rule on lawful content and applications.
- see this Washington Post article
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