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back to article FCC forces data roaming on US wireless giants

The US Federal Communications Commission has approved roles that would let smartphone users affordably access the internet using their rival provider's network. A vote along by party lines by the Federal Communications Commission has gone in favor of forcing US carriers to offer data access at "reasonable" roaming rates, …

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Unhappy

Or move to the UK.

It ONLY costs me £3.07 per megabyte if I nip over the channel.

Oh wait!

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Not good... but not that bad

You're with the wrong carrier, then.

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Market domination

Verizon has a large percentage of the US (both by population, and by actual land area) covered. But, even when they didn't (before the purchase of Alltel, which provided huge amounts of coverage out west) they still had unlimited voice and data roaming. I don't think they need a deal like this, but there could be people pulling GBs of data roaming, so it surely won't hurt them any.

AT&T, on the other hand, covers a largeish percentage of POP, but has HUGE swaths of roaming. They have a SEVERE roaming restriction -- the lesser of 20% of your data allowance of 24MB a month, whichever is lower. Ouch! Worse, AT&T has their phones lie and say "AT&T" *ALL THE TIME* (unless they are internationally roaming). They like to play this game that they cover the areas that matter, and on the national-level map don't even distinguish between native and roaming coverage, despite having STRICTLY enforced data, voice, and text roaming limits. So, it's hard to tell how much of your coverage is ACTUALLY on-net and how much is roaming, until AT&T complains you roamed too much.

Sprint has a roaming limit of 300MB.

I don't know what T-Mobile's limit is.

I really have the feeling that AT&T will get improved roaming rates, and will not improve the roaming terms. They have really been on a cash grab of late, for instance reducing their data plan from $30 for unlimited to $25 for 2GB (oh, and then they have the gall to say, well, you paid for 2GB, but Oh no! You can't *tether* with those GBs you've already paid for, you have to pay EXTRA for that privilege!)

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not iPhones

The data roaming 24MB cap applies to feature phones, not data plans. This is the data plan component of phones that have general data allotments. (camera phones etc).

AT&T clarified to me, formally, there are no caps or limits on iPhone, Android, or Data Connect off-network roaming, there are no overage fees, and unlike the wording of the default wireless terms I'm linking to below, they will not change or cancel your policy for exceeding any limits. It is possible the 3rd party carrier might throttle or disconnect your usage if you abuse the roaming partner's ToS, but AT&T will not do so.

http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/articles-resources/wireless-terms.jsp

As for tethering, there is a simple explanation most people do not recognize or understand. AT&T can really give two shits about DATA load. (they're an L3 backbone provider, they have the bandwidth....). What they care about is AIRTIME. Cell phones are specifically designed and programmed to hold a static IP, but yet use very little (near zero) airtime on a channel when idle, and have short time-outs to release the channel allowing a tower to "push" data back on a separate one on demand to that static session IP, and of course so long as the channel is availabel, the phone can use it when it needs. It attempts to "reserve" the channel, but it is mostly not in use unless you are actively, or have just recently, sent or received data.

However, PC operating systems have no such understanding, and very very little of PC software operates on push technology. Windows, even sitting idle, with mail open and maybe a browser, is near constantly pinging away at systems and services. This creates enough load that even when using "no data" sitting idle, your phone's connection to the network can not be idled itself, and thus you are using air time with no data load. This is also why they dislike streaming and torrent loads. (they're 100% on, but using limited or metered bandwidth, it's better for the carrier if you download the whole movie all at once and get OFF the air to watch it as opposed to streaming). This gets even worse when your phone is a hotspot and lets more than 1 PC connect...

Bandwidth is very cheap. Airspace is very expensive. They would rather slam data into your mobile at 14mbps and get you off the air than let you idly ping services holding that channel in permanent use. THIS is why they charge more, and many don;t even give you extra data with that fee (AT&T does). You're likely to use significantly more airtime, without actually placing significantly more network load, and it;s the airtime they want you to pay for.

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We're all Socialists now

The FCC's give away of the services of others makes no more sense than forcing Hilton to accept reservations placed via Holiday Inn at Holiday Inn rates.

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Troll

Oh look

It's someone using the scary "S" word to try and convince us he's right. Let's all listen and do what he says.

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Is there a fog in here?

What part of enforing open competition, little different from FRAND legislation on patent licensing, is supposed to correlate to socialism?

Does the government own the network and give it people? no. Regulation is FAR from socialism.

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Bronze badge
Headmaster

No, not really. Not even a little bit.

It's much more like requiring a bank to allow ATM cards from other banks withdraw funds (and they even get to charge a fee.) And we all know how much that practice has ruined the banking industry.

Besides if forcing companies to cooperate like this makes us socialist then we're *already* socialist given that voice roaming rules have been on the books for quite some time now.

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Paris Hilton

Paris is now taking reservations?

Who knew?

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Socialists ?

And hospitals should not be forced to take people with out health insurances. People that Visit the UK should not be able to call the police when they need help, because they don't pay taxes.

What's with republicans view that the world should be deregulated at all cost and then bail the industry out when the do some thing stupid and then blame the democrats.

David define for me what you think socialism is and why it is bad.

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