Responding to an FCC inquiry, Verizon Wireless told the agency that its recent decision to double early termination fees (ETFs) for advanced wireless device contracts from $175 to $350 is based on “the higher costs associated with offering [advanced] devices to customers at attractive prices, the costs and risks of investing in the broadband network to support these devices, and other costs and risks.” Verizon’s controversial decision last month to hike ETFs for “smart phones” that include the Android phone and the Blackberry Storm prompted the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications and Consumer and Governmental Affairs bureaus on December 4 to request details on the fee increase. (The FCC also asked Verizon to respond to accusations that the carrier imposes usage fees on customers who inadvertently connect to the Internet via their mobile handsets.) The fee hike also induced Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to introduce legislation that would limit the imposition of wireless ETFs. Defending its decision, Verizon told the FCC that a higher ETF for advanced devices is justified as the carrier pays manufacturers twice as much for smart phones as it does for other handsets. For customers who retain Verizon’s services during the full contract term, the company maintained that “this pricing structure enables Verizon Wireless to offer wireless devices as a substantial discount from their full retail price.” As such, Verizon argued that its pricing policy “lowers the barriers to consumers to obtaining mobile broadband,” thereby promoting “consumer choice and broadband deployment.” Explaining its policy of pro-rating advanced wireless ETFs by only $10 per month, Verizon noted that most subscribers who switch to other carriers do so after the first year, at which point the company’s “typical loss from the early termination is more than double the applicable remaining ETF for an advanced device ($230).” Verizon added that if it were “to prorate the ETF in a manner that would reduce its amount to zero in the last month of the contract, the net losses to the company would even be greater.” With respect to mobile Internet usage fees, Verizon stressed that subscribers “only pay when they connect to the Internet and navigate away from the default home page” and that any subscriber who claims to have been charged for inadvertent usage “should call customer care, explain the circumstances, and request a credit.”