• On May 17, 2011, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the FCC’s order staying the petition of North County Communications for payment of traffic termination charges while North County petitioned the California PUC to set a rate. FCC Rule 20.11(b) requires wireless carriers like MetroPCS to pay local exchange carriers “reasonable compensation" for the termination of wireless traffic. All of North County’s traffic from MetroPCS was intrastate traffic, and the FCC concluded that the California PUC therefore should set the rate. The D.C. Circuit sided with the FCC, finding nothing in the Communications Act or Rule 20.11(b) requiring the FCC to set the rate: "we have little trouble concluding under Chevron step two that the FCC reasonably determined that the FCC had no duty to set the rates for the wholly intrastate traffic at issue here." MetroPCS California, LLC v. FCC, No. 10-1003.
  • On May 13, 2011, Verizon appealed the FCC’s April 7, 2011 Data Roaming Order to the D.C. Circuit (view our summary of the order here). In that order, the FCC finds that wireless operators must offer data roaming on their networks to other wireless carriers under "commercially reasonable terms and conditions." Verizon and AT&T vigorously opposed the rules, which passed by a 3-2 vote (Commissioner Baker being one of the two dissenters). In response to the order, Sprint noted that AT&T’s proposed acquisition of T-Mobile made these rules particularly important for ensuring some measure of competition in the wireless market. The Rural Cellular Association likewise applauded the order. Verizon will argue in its appeal that the rules are unnecessary, because it already has some data roaming agreements, and improper, because the FCC has no authority to regulate roaming arrangements.