AT&T complains that Sprint stopped servicing some areas to piggyback on roaming agreements

AT&T complains that Sprint stopped servicing some areas to piggyback on roaming agreements
The FCC recently abolished its so-called Home Market Rule, which prevented carriers from establishing roaming agreements in markets where they own spectrum, as well as the requirement for carriers to offer data roaming in addition to voice.

The troubled Sprint immediately took advantage of those changes and effectively unwound coverage in Oklahoma and Kansas, leaving the areas serviced by its roaming agreements with competing carriers like AT&T.

Although the rules were meant for facilitating access of rural carriers to coverage, and not large ones with their own spectrum in the area, Sprint still went ahead with what AT&T calls "massive disinvestment" plans, which will undoubtedly allow it to save a few dollars.

AT&T's Bob Quinn commented "Sprint can now use other folks' networks rather than pony up its own investment dollars. Nice work if you can get it", to which Sprint had a wordy reply:

The "disappointing, but not surprising" jab is precious, but AT&T hopes to get the new FCC rulebook overturned later this year by the Washington DC Circuit Court of Appeals.

source: AT&T via TheVerge & KansasCityBusinessJournal



1. Birds

Posts: 1172; Member since: Nov 21, 2011

I kinda agree with Sprint on this one. Sorry...

2. nb2six

Posts: 298; Member since: Apr 27, 2011

I can't agree with this one because if you have AT&T or VZW, you pay a premium for your service. With that premium price you are expecting to get not only the premium coverage you deserve but reliable data speeds as well. What the fcc has now allowed is those two areas to be put in jeopardy in areas where roaming use by multiple carriers other than the primary provider will put uneeded strain on the towers. Its just another acknowledgement we have to make in today's America because even though you worked hard to get where you are now, if someone whines enough, the government will give them a hand out to let them take the easy street to a position right beside you.

3. DontHateOnS60

Posts: 872; Member since: Apr 20, 2009

They need to word this bill properly to prevent Sprint from doing that. Clearly the purpose was to help out regional carriers, not nationwide ones who have the money to invest there.

7. EvoHero

Posts: 38; Member since: May 15, 2011

Sprint has money now? When did this happen?

4. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

Considering that AT&T and Sprint use DIFFERENT TECHNOLOGY, a sprint phone cant roam on an AT&T tower and vice versa. And Verizon has been doing this to Sprint for a long time, despite the same tech, etc. Verizon regularly denies roaming in critical areas, screwing over customers of Sprint and other CDMA carriers, despite FCC mandated legislation that requires them to allow roaming. I think the FCC should look into these unjust practices which create an unfair marketplace due to Verizon's selective roaming agreements that are designed only to benefit themselves.

5. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

So you're saying that Verizon screwing over Sprint customers is wrong? lmao. Whats wrong with that picture? Obviously Verizon is trying to show Sprint users what crappy coverage Sprint has and if you want to have Verizon-like coverage, you need to pay for Verizon and not Sprint. That being said... I don't think roaming is as popular as they make it out to be because roaming, especially data, is very expensive.

6. Forsaken77

Posts: 553; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

The FCC will change that rule. Nowadays, you must be very specific in writing legislation because there's always somebody that will try to exploit a loop hole. In this case it's Sprint. If a NATIONAL carrier has spectrum to use in an area, they should be forced to use it instead of mooching off someone elses' network, in effect making the other network slower.

8. IcanBEATali

Posts: 29; Member since: Sep 24, 2009

I've been reading this site for a long time and I have never joined in on the tons of flaming by posters about certain articles that showed bias or incorrect information. THIS though... is something entirely different. Sprint doesnt roam off ATT... it cant. Nor did ATT imply that in any quote used in the article. This website is called PhoneArena... and any writer on THIS site should know better than that. ATT is just mad because Sprint spearheaded the effort to burn the TMobile merger, Verizon should be the one to complain if ANYONE is going to complain. It would be their network that is used by Sprint customers. You also have to not be so short sighted to think that Sprint just shut off massive chunks of networks in cities where they have any large amount of customers. More likely, is that there are some rural areas of those states that Sprint was spending more money maintaining network abilities than they could possibly make back with the handful of consumers using those towers. Sprint only allows their users a limited amount of roaming minutes and data... if they just shut off an entire network as is implied here... they would in turn have to allow all impacted customers out of their agreements based on Sprint's own policies and practices.

9. 9MNLM

Posts: 11; Member since: Jan 02, 2012

Verizon isn't being taken advantage of -- it charges premium roaming rates to other carriers and MVNOs. My contact at a regional MVNO tells me they pay significantly higher wholesale roaming higher rates to Verizon than they do to Sprint, and that unlike Sprint, Verizon excludes data roaming.

10. ngo2dd

Posts: 896; Member since: Jul 08, 2011

Wow this article is full of wrong. Sprint is CDMA and ATT is GSM. They can't roam off each other. Sprint also paid Verizon to roam off their network.

11. belovedson

Posts: 1061; Member since: Nov 30, 2010

att is good at one thing constant lieing and complaining. the nerve to think they can simply lie to the consumer and still get away with it.

12. hornetmx

Posts: 71; Member since: Mar 12, 2010

I love it how people like to post stuff without even thinking a little. Sprint also includes Nextel, which just happens to be wait-for-it......GSM!

13. IcanBEATali

Posts: 29; Member since: Sep 24, 2009

Or maybe you aren't as smart as you think. Nextel is iDen, not GSM, and no, they aren't compatible.

14. hornetmx

Posts: 71; Member since: Mar 12, 2010

Great point. i stand corrected. However my point was geared towards the previous remaks about sprint being CDMA only. Also sprint does carry dual band phones which in theory could roam off att, so your original point also could be considered innacurate. You failed to point that out.

15. IcanBEATali

Posts: 29; Member since: Sep 24, 2009

Almost all Sprint phones are at least dual band, the international phones are GSM as well, but global GSM frequencies are different than those used by att stateside. No Sprint phone roams off of att. Period. They share no roaming agreement, because there is no point considering the completely incompatible networks. Dual band refers to the two frequencies that most sprint phones can use on the cdma standard. They will be quad band when Sprint finishes the planned network changes... but still only cdma.

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