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FCC Proposes Fines For E911 Failure

Article Comments  58  

Aug 31, 2007, 1:19 AM   by (staff)

The FCC today proposed fining Sprint, Alltel and US Cellular a combined total of $2.8 million for failing to meet a 2005 enhanced 911 (E911) deadline. None of these carriers were able to get 95% of their subscribers on location capable handsets by 2005. Alltel and US Cellular have now met this goal, however Sprint has not yet reached the 95% mark according to the FCC. A Sprint spokeswoman today said the company has nearly met the goal with 94.7% of subscribers on location capable handsets.

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Sep 4, 2007, 1:05 PM


Okay, so I've read both Phone Scoops story as well as Yahoos, and what I'm getting from phone scoops story is it is ultimately up to the subscriber to upgrade their handsets to an E911 capable device. If that is so, why is the carrier being punished for their customers using the device they'd like? If the customer doesn't want to upgrade, they wont. If the carrier tried to make people upgrade their device to an E911 capable phone, I'm sure the customers would get upset. When I read Yahoos story though, it sounded more like the carriers hadn't updated the network itself to support E911. If that is the case, then the fine is understandable. I guess I'm just a little confused about what's really going on here...
The customers are the ones who need to upgrade the handsets.

Sep 1, 2007, 3:01 PM

E911 Service

AT&T Wireless already complies with the E911 rule.
However there is a problem with the E911 rule (I've read the ruling). While the FCC does control the airwaves (cell phones) they do not control local 911 districts. For a local 911 district to have E911 the voters have to pass a tax increase. If not then the dispatcher can't locate you exactly. They have to use triangulation. I live in a suburb of a large city. There are multiple 911 districts within this city, some have E911 and some don't (remember the tax increase). Some local 911 districts arn't under FCC, state, county or even city control.
Actually, if I'm not mistaken, the FCC regulates all terrestrial wireless and wired networks (but not non-terrestrial wireless such as satellite).

I think the idea behind this is to have 911 districts who have e911 to be able to use it, regardless...
Why doesn't the FCC just threaten to cancel their licenses for spectrum? i guarantee every cell phone provider would be more than willing to give away any handset, and just about give you any plan you want, without contract problems.
My Motorola timeport is more capable of E911 than my brand new Krzr k1m. My timeport plugs into my car which can tell a dispatcher exactly where I am using the car's GPS system.

and ohhhh, better upgrade to a NEW phone and pay a lot of money for...

Sep 4, 2007, 12:16 PM

I have read every post and......

Some are right when they say that older phones are more reliable. Lets look at the extreme rural areas. I think that the majority of the noncompliate phones are bag phones. The older bag phones are powered at 6 watts. WOW! The new Moto M800 is only powered at 3 watts. That is the strongest e-911 phone on the market. The handsets that we are now familiar are not even at 1 watt of power.
Do you think that the carriers should pass on the fine in a nice law suit to the manufactures?

Just an idea.....

Sep 2, 2007, 2:49 AM

Thats what Sprint gets for reliable phones

See, who's to say Sprint doesn't offer great phones? Apparently they last you long enough to not have the E911 function in them. Sanyo thats why you don't make money in your cell phone department, its because your phones are to good and reliable. They last too long so you don't have to replace them as much as lets say an LG or Motorola on the other networks. And yes I know Motorola lost money this quarter thats because they don't make them reliable enough. Good job Sprint, its just too bad your customers keep their old phones just because they don't seem to break down like the other carriers phones. I see it as Sprint again getting punished for being better than the competition.

Aug 31, 2007, 1:14 PM

Why don't they

Actually get the damn E911 service to work.
This is a fine for what happened in 2005, not something current

Sep 2, 2007, 3:31 PM


After reading this I was sitting and thinking, "How is it that Sprint has gotten so far behind in the game for enabling E911 on their phones?" They were the first to start installing it on their phones back in 2001 using Qualcomm's Snap Track chipset. I believe it was a Samsung phone that they were boasting about after the FCC announced the mandate in October of the same year. They announced that they would have it covering all new phones by end of 2002. What the hell happened? There can't be that many phones out there that are more than five years old.

The in dawns on me. It was probably the incorporation of Nextel. The company who was officially the slowest at getting their handsets up to snuff to compete in the market. I mean, ...
umm it said PROPSED it hasnt said it will levy... and the out to all of this is.. we offer the handsets we cannot make people buy them... but you are right nextel customers are some of the slower ones to change handsets... but heck the handsets that m...
I think the smart move would be for Sprint to say "look, you have an old handset that is costing our network so we're gonna make it so it also costs you. You have until such and such a date to fix it or we'll increase your bill by 10%" which they can...

Aug 31, 2007, 9:04 AM

poor management

not to smart IMO, probably would have cost them far less to just send out some cheap gps capable freebies to their customers.
I dunno - assuming Sprint's share of the $2.8m fine is $1m even, that's still a fair bit of cash to suddenly drop on customers. Even a 10th of a percent of their customer base is tens of thousands of users, and to just give them phones (which ...
Keep in mind that Sprint also has a large business base of customers. And if they are part of the non-GPS crowd, they would be a hard sell to switch over. If I were running a business, I wouldn't buy new phones for my employees just because my contr...
First off Verizon is bigger so don't blame the size of the customer base, but here is the main point.

By getting fined it solved nothing, they still have to get those customers switched, it is not going to cost them less today then it would have mo...
sprint phones so good you dont gots to change em lot. sanyo last long time man. you know wat i mean. lg verizon last 7 month. i dont care wut nobody say sprint phone are more reliable

Aug 31, 2007, 1:22 AM


Why does at&t and T-mobile not have to participate. Or do they and I just dont know.
gsm phones dont have GPS, its just triangulation

Aug 31, 2007, 11:59 AM

GPS, on gsm?

so since you can have the towers triangulate your position for cdma how do GSM phones get located by 911?
CDMA phones use triangulation as well as GPS (hence assisted or A-GPS)

GSM phones use triangulation only typically but some have A-GPS
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