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FCC Hoping to Toss Verizon's Data Roaming Challenge

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Top message:  FCC=Cosumer Advocacy by Slammer   Mar 9, 2012, 10:23 AM

Replying to:  Re: FCC=Cosumer Advocacy by Versed   Mar 9, 2012, 1:25 PM

Re: Economics

by CellStudent    Mar 9, 2012, 4:49 PM

Too many commentators here are ignoring the economics of the situation.

For example, the cost of building a wireless network to support 10,000 subscribers is only slightly more than the the cost of building out a wireless network to service ONE customer. The coverage and capacity capacity needed to service the extra 9,999 customers is basically included in the cost of the build-out to serve one subscriber. The biggest difference is that the electricity bill for keeping the towers up and running is a little higher as you add more customers.

But... the (extremely high) cost of building the towers and putting the communications control systems in place is basically flat, regardless of the number of subscribers on the system!

This is why data roaming for regional carriers is necessary: They can't build out data networks to service their handful of customers who travel outside of their home service areas because if they did, they would go out of business within months.

Of course, that's exactly what AT&T and Verizon want to happen to them, so they're pushing back on data roaming to try and litigate the smaller carriers out of business by forcing them to make really stupid decisions!

The FCC motives in this case are crystal clear and totally reasonable. They're not telling the big carriers to give away free service to competitors, they're trying to require them to resell excess capacity to other service providers at Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory rates. The concept of FRAND payments is not new, it's used in patent litigation all the time, and it is appropriate to apply that concept to regional service providers wishing to wholesale minuscule amounts of data to allow occasional off-network device usage by their customers.

Should there be some sort of cap on how much data they can purchase for resale? I think so. Local carriers should not have to right to sell service plans to customers living outside their service area, using their devices off-network for years and years at a time and and passing their network congestion contribution up the chain to the partner TelCo that actually put the investment in the towers! That would not be justifiable at all: if you want to provide full-time coverage to residents of a particular area- build your own network!

All-or-nothing isn't the way to handle this. Thee needs to be a balance of priorities between the big carriers who have built out, and the smaller carriers that cannot (reasonably) build out in the short-term.

If someone has a better idea of how to o it that than the path the FCC is pursuing now, I'm all ears!

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