Home · Networking · AT&T, Verizon Forced to Let Rivals Use Networks for Data

AT&T, Verizon Forced to Let Rivals Use Networks for Data

AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Wireless must let smaller competitors use their networks for mobile Internet service under rules approved today by a divided Federal Communications Commission.

The agency voted 3-2 with Democrats approving and Republicans dissenting to require large wireless carriers to strike commercial agreements with smaller carriers. Such agreements are voluntary now.

The rule extends to data traffic the network-sharing arrangements that already are mandatory for voice calls. The measure was opposed by Verizon, the largest U.S. wireless provider, and Dallas-based AT&T, which would vault to No. 1 if it completes its proposed $39 billion purchase of Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE)’s T-Mobile USA Inc.

“Roaming deals are simply not being widely offered” and the requirement will spur investment and promote competition, said Julius Genachowski, the agency’s chairman.

“The commission simply does not have the legal authority” to adopt today’s rules, said Robert McDowell, a Republican commissioner who voted against the measure. More...

04-07-2011 21:04