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How AT&T, Verizon force smaller carriers to keep prices high

Bill Snyder | July 16, 2014
You may not be an AT&T or Verizon wireless customer, but part of your monthly cell phone bill likely winds up in their coffers. That's because the two mobile giants charge sky-high roaming rates when competitors' customers access the AT&T and Verizon networks as they travel out of range of their smaller networks.

"The average domestic wholesale data roaming rate that T-Mobile paid in 2013 is 3.6 times the maximum retail rate that Verizon charges a user of 1,700 MB per month, six times the rate AT&T charges, over seven times the rate that T-Mobile charges, and over 10 times Sprint's maximum rate," T-Mobile wrote in its filing.

"It seems reasonable to assume that requiring AT&T and Verizon to negotiate commercially reasonable data roaming agreements will result in T-Mobile offering lower prices and uncapped and unthrottled plans — forcing AT&T and Verizon to lower their own data rates," according to the advocacy groups.

It's also likely that other carriers would do the same. In other words, if the proposed changes are made, everybody wins except, of course, the price gougers.


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