updated 12:30 pm EDT, Wed August 8, 2007
FCC: Cheap roaming a must
Cellular phone carriers must allow rivals to connect to their networks for roaming purposes, and at a "reasonable" cost, the Federal Communications Commission has declared. The decision was made in response to a long series complaints made by a variety of groups, who say that the larger American carriers often charge exorbitant fees to subscribers on smaller networks -- sometimes as much as $0.79 per minute on top of regular rates. The carriers must also allow automatic connections for roaming, where equipment is compatible.
The ruling is, however, narrow in scope: it does not set specific roaming fees, nor will there be an official investigation into earlier practices. Furthermore, the ruling only applies to voice calls and text messaging, not the increasingly prevalent use of data. "I believe we should have taken another step forward today," said Democrat commissioner Michael Copps. [via PC World]