Monday, August 6, 2007

FCC Clarifies that Roaming is a Common Carrier Obligation

The FCC clarified the roaming obligations of Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS) providers, stating that automatic roaming is a common carrier obligation for CMRS carriers. Automatic roaming allows roaming mobile telephone customers to place calls as they do in their home coverage area.

Specifically, the FCC required CMRS carriers to provide roaming services to other carriers upon reasonable request and on a just, reasonable, and non-discriminatory basis. When a reasonable request is made by a technologically compatible CMRS carrier, a host CMRS carrier must provide automatic roaming to the requesting carrier outside of the requesting carrier's home market. The FCC also decided to maintain its existing manual roaming requirement, which requires CMRS providers to permit customers of other carriers to roam manually on their networks, for example by supplying a credit card number, provided that the roamers' handsets are technically capable of accessing the roamed-on network.

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