TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Cellular Roaming Tariffs

Re: Cellular Roaming Tariffs

Michael D. Sullivan (userid@camsul.example.invalid)
Thu, 24 Aug 2006 03:43:58 GMT

On 8/22/2006 4:40 PM, wrote:

> wrote:

>> Can anyone direct me to a PUC tariff on inter-carrier cellular roaming
>> charges?

> Is there even such a thing as PUC "tariffs" anymore on wireless
> services? I thought they were completely deregulated and charges were
> based on your personal contract with the carrier.

> I know my own contract with my carrier (which is old) offers different
> roaming areas and charges than newer contracts do of the same carrier.
> The PUC has nothing to do with it.

That is correct. State PUCs are explicitly deprived of jurisdiction
to regulate cellular rates by Section 221(b)(3) of the Communications
Act, 47 USC 221(b)(3). This is true of both the carrier-consumer
rates, such as the ones governed by various contracts that may charge
different rates from contract to contract, and of the
carrier-to-carrier rates, which are governed by roaming agreements
between carriers.

> Also, I thought the concept of A/B switching on cell phones is
> obsolete. Do modern cell phones even have that capability? A/B dates
> back to the early days when there were only two carriers. There are
> many today.

While A/B switching is largely obsolete, due to the fact that carriers
use a wide variety of digital standards and specialized software in
the phone, the FCC still requires that analog cellular phones (only
850 MHz phones, not PCS, not iDEN) be manually switchable to the A or
B block by the customer. There has never been a similar requirement
for PCS band phones. The option to select serving system is typically
buried very deep in the menu system. Using it will probably result in
your being given greatly impaired service in many cases, as the phone
would not be able to be switched to the PCS band or the other 850 MHz
band automatically in accordance with the programmed list of host
systems (also known as the preferred roaming list).

Michael D. Sullivan
Bethesda, MD (USA)
(To reply, change example.invalid to com in the address.)

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