AT&T accuses FCC for Sprint, T-Mobile Wi-Fi calling favoristism2015-10-05 02:12 by Daniela
Tags: AT&T, FCC, T-Mobile
AT&T has recently complained to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler about its inability to launch the service "Wi-Fi calling", due to regulation obstacles. The company is accusing competitors of launching the same feature without legitimate approval from the government agency.
Wi-Fi calling makes it possible to make and receive phone calls and to send and receive text messages via a Wi-Fi network, instead of using the traditional mobile network. It mainly benefits those in poor signal areas or budget-conscious users, since it essentially allows them to make calls for free.
Rival companies Sprint and T-Mobile have already started offering WiFi calling even though the FCC hadn't granted a support waiver for teletypewriter communications, also known as TTY - which are typically required for providing accessibility services.
According to AT&T, there seems to be a double standard when it comes to enforcing agency rules.
"There is growing concern at AT&T that there is an asymmetry in the application of federal regulations to AT&T on the one hand and its marketplace competitors on the other hand," Jim Cicconi, head of legislative affairs for AT&T, wrote in a letter to Wheeler. "This situation simply adds fuel to the fire."
"T-Mobile and Sprint were already advertising and providing Wi-Fi calling services without having sought or obtained a waiver of the Commission's TTY rules," he added. "From a business perspective, therefore, we were faced with a Hobson's choice: enter the market without a waiver, as our competitors had done, or approach the Commission with a technology solution that would provide an alternative to TTY technology for IP-based Wi-Fi calls and request a temporary waiver of the Commission's TTY requirements until that technology could be implemented."
The FCC hasn't commented the issue yet.
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