Report: FCC may vote on data roaming rules in December

When it convenes its December meeting, the FCC may vote on whether to move forward with rules that would mandate automatic data roaming among wireless carriers, according to a report in Politico.

The report, citing unnamed industry sources, said the five-member commission may vote next month on the rules, which were first proposed in April and have split the wireless industry between big operators like Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and other, smaller carriers.

FCC representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The FCC voted to adopt a second further notice of proposed rulemaking on whether to apply automatic roaming to mobile data, which expands the scope of a previous proceeding and acknowledges the evolution of the wireless broadband ecosystem. The rulemaking also sought comment on whether the FCC has the legal authority to take action on the issue. 

Verizon and AT&T have attacked the proposal on several fronts, arguing the FCC does not have the authority to implement automatic data roaming. Smaller carriers, including Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), T-Mobile USA and Cellular South, have argued that a data roaming rule would help increase competition and benefit rural customers. 

The issue flared up earlier this month when T-Mobile claimed that AT&T refused to enter into a 3G data roaming agreement--a claim that AT&T refuted. AT&T has argued that data roaming deals should be made on an individual business-to-business basis.

For more:
- see this Politico article

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