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Sprint's move to roaming agreements sends AT&T to angry town

Zachary Lutz
01.24.12
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Despite all Sprint's efforts to promote its Network Vision plans, the carrier has been much more coy about its intentions for subscribers in the rural midwest. It was recently revealed that the company plans to divest some of its infrastructure in Oklahoma and Kansas, where the carrier will instead rely on roaming agreements for voice and data. The move is primarily a cost-cutting measure, but one network -- AT&T -- is none too happy about the revelation. Ma Bell argues that Sprint is being too opportunistic following the FCC's shuttering of the Home Market Rule, which (once upon a time) required carriers to build up infrastructure rather than rely on roaming agreements in areas where they held spectrum licenses.

With the Home Market Rule a thing of the past, AT&T suggests this move will merely be the tip of the iceberg for Sprint, as the carrier may now essentially piggyback on the investments of other providers. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is currently set to hear arguments on the matter this spring, and AT&T hopes the Court will "reject the FCC's market intervention." In the meantime, according to Ma Bell, Sprint's actions are, "Nice work, if you can get it." These are fighting words, indeed.

Naturally, Sprint isn't taking these accusations lying down. In response, it states, "It's disappointing, but not surprising, that AT&T wants to challenge a consumer's right to access email, the Internet and other mobile broadband services wherever they may travel in the U.S." Those interested can read the text in its entirety after the break.



Sprint's response to AT&T's statement:

"It's disappointing, but not surprising, that AT&T wants to challenge a consumer's right to access email, the Internet and other mobile broadband services wherever they may travel in the U.S. Along with Verizon Wireless, AT&T is the only other wireless carrier in America which opposes the FCC's pro-consumer data roaming decision from last year.


The facts are that Sprint, as part of its Network Vision program, doubled its 2011 capital investment over 2010 to make tens of thousands of capacity upgrades, resulting in a better wireless experience for its customers. With these network investments, Sprint continues to offer consumers a better value than AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile."

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