Verizon hasn't been fond of the FCC requiring data roaming agreements; it sued the agency last May on claims that the requirement overstepped the FCC's legal bounds. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals isn't quite so worried, as three judges at the court have unanimously ruled that the FCC was within the authority of the Communication Act to make data roaming deals mandatory. Regulators have been measured in developing the rule and aren't treating cellular networks like Verizon's as common carriers, the court says. Verizon hasn't yet commented on the court loss, although FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is more than pleased -- he sees the roaming rule encouraging competition and keeping more of our mobile gear online. We're sure smaller carriers would tend to agree now that they won't always have to build out wide-reaching (and expensive) cellular coverage of their own just to offer more than voice and texting for travelers.
*Verizon has acquired AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.