The Rural Cellular Association met with FCC staff last Thursday to discuss what they term as the challenges that competitive carriers continue to face, including negotiating fair and reasonable data roaming agreements and a lack of access to mobile end-user devices. This lack of access, according to RCA, is a result of device exclusivity agreements and non-interoperable spectrum.
This ex parte meet and greet is part of a petition filed back in September 2009 in which four rural carriers; Cellular South, Cavalier, Continuum 700, and King Street Wireless, asked the FCC to require all mobile devices operating in the 700 Mhz band be capable of operating over all frequencies in the band. These carriers also asked the FCC to freeze the authorization of mobile equipment that is not capable of operating on all paired commercial 700 Mhz frequencies.
That these carriers had to meet ex parte with FCC staff over two years after the initial petition to reiterate the impact exclusivity agreements may be having on their ability to compete appears indicative of the carriers failure to persuade the FCC to move forward with a final order on the matter.