FCC chairman Julius Genachowski briefly mentioned data roaming at CTIA last week, but now he's telling Congress that action is inbound, to ensure rural carriers don't get left behind the rest of the cellular industry. You see, in 2007 the Commission mandated cheap roaming agreements for voice and messaging services to let regional carriers compete, but cellular data is what's important now and those existing agreements won't protect the Tiny Tims of telecom in a world of VoLTE anyhow. So, as he explains in a letter sent to members of the Senate and House, the chairman has come up with a set of rules, which will "incent potential roaming partners to come to the bargaining table to negotiate private commercial deals."
"The draft order under consideration eschews a common carriage approach and leaves mobile service providers free to negotiate and determine, on a customer-by-customer basis, the commercially reasonable terms of data roaming agreements," reads another letter. Needless to say, we're looking forward to hearing how the FCC will encourage competition while still letting the big boys negotiate from their multi-billion-dollar spectrum holding positions.