AT&T yesterday accused T-Mobile and Sprint of violating federal rules that require wireless networks to be compatible with technology for people with hearing and speech disabilities.
AT&T says T-Mobile and Sprint began offering Wi-Fi calling on smartphones without seeking a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission’s TTY (teletypewriter) rules. TTY devices for deaf and speech-impaired people can be used in conjunction with cell phones, and the FCC requires wireless networks to be able to transmit 911 calls made using TTY devices.

(credit: Apple)

Although TTY devices do not operate reliably over Wi-Fi, T-Mobile and Sprint “have been offering Wi-Fi calling services for a significant period of time, well over a year on Android devices and for months on iOS devices,” AT&T wrote in a letter yesterday to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “Neither of those carriers has approached the FCC to request a waiver of the TTY rules” and are thus “offering those services in apparent violation of the Commission’s rules.”
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