Sprint Nextel filed a suit against 14 Iowa carriers alleging that the companies have struck illegal deals with conference call companies and chat lines to boost long-distance call volume and inflate the charges to big phone companies, like Sprint. Many of these same phone companies have already counter-sued AT&T, Sprint and others for withholding payment for long-distance calls by their customers to their services. The rural phone companies claim their activities are legal and previous rulings from similar cases will be upheld. Other industry pundits say the rural carriers are exploiting a loophole in regulation, which the big telecoms should get patched up.
Sprint said in a statement, "Left unchecked, such schemes will grow and force carriers to abandon the unlimited long distance pricing plans that consumers have embraced and benefited from over the past decade."
For more on Sprint entering the Iowa imbroglio:
- see this AP article