T-Mobile US has won a declaratory ruling that could force AT&T and Verizon Wireless to charge lower prices for data roaming.
T-Mobile argued in a petition to the Federal Communications Commission that the biggest carriers charge their smaller competitors artificially high prices. The petition asked the commission to offer specific guidance and enforcement criteria for determining whether any given data roaming agreement is commercially reasonable.
The FCC granted T-Mobile’s request today, rejecting arguments made by AT&T and Verizon. The ruling by itself doesn’t lower the rates that T-Mobile has to pay AT&T and Verizon. However, T-Mobile could now challenge the rates it pays those companies and have a better shot at winning because the commission largely accepted T-Mobile’s proposed guidance. The greater possibility of FCC intervention could also improve T-Mobile’s leverage in negotiations.
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