Complete Data Roaming Proceeding


Report & Order: 

On April 21, 2010, the Federal Communications Commission took an important step toward promoting nationwide mobile connectivity for consumers and encouraging continued mobile innovation, investment, and deployment. The Commission’s Order on Reconsideration enhances mobile voice service through roaming agreements that provide consumers with access to other carriers’ networks. In a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission seeks input on whether to extend roaming obligations to data services, such as mobile broadband and Internet access services.

The Order on Reconsideration expands the availability of mobile voice services by eliminating a home roaming exclusion that the Commission found in many circumstances discouraged, rather than encouraged, facilities-based competition. By eliminating the exclusion, the Order encourages carriers of all sizes to reach commercially reasonable voice roaming agreements, and promotes competition, fosters innovation and empowers consumers, while creating a fair process for the Commission to handle disputes that may arise in an expedited and equitable manner. The Order on Reconsideration also affirms that carriers must provide push-to-talk roaming upon reasonable request. The Commission will address any disputes on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the totality of the circumstances presented to determine whether requiring a roaming agreement would best further the public interest goals.

In the Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission opens a new phase in its examination of data roaming, seeking comment on whether to extend roaming obligations to data services such as mobile broadband and Internet access services. A more detailed and updated record will assist the Commission in developing policies for broadband data roaming that can encourage carriers to build out new networks and better ensure that consumers have access to mobile data networks anywhere in the United States.

On April 7, 2011, the FCC adopted an Order that requires facilities-based providers of commercial mobile data services to offer data roaming arrangements to other such providers on commercially reasonable terms and conditions, subject to certain limitations. The move is expected to promote increased consumer access to nationwide mobile broadband service. For more see



Recommendation #11

FCC Chapter: 4.11

Status: Completed

The Federal Communications Commission should move forward promptly in the open proceeding on data roaming.

To achieve wide, seamless and competitive coverage, the FCC should encourage mobile broadband providers to construct
and build networks.

The industry should adopt voluntary data-roaming arrangements.

The FCC should move forward promptly in its open proceeding on roaming obligations for data services provided without interconnection with the public-switched network.