AT&T and Sprint have had their fair share of battles lately, especially with Sprint's strong opposition to the now defunct proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. In the latest battle between the two wireless carriers, AT&T is attacking Sprint for divesting some of its infrastructure and relying on roaming agreements for voice and data service in Oklahoma and Kansas.
The FCC recently changed its policy and eliminated the Home Market Rule. When this rule was in effect, it prevented carriers from establishing roaming agreements in areas where they had their own spectrum. The original intent of the Home Market Rule was to help rural carriers compete on an even ground with the larger carriers. However, instead of exhausting its own spectrum, AT&T says the abolishment of this rule is letting Sprint off the hook for spending its own investment dollars. As AT&T senior VP Bob Quinn put it, "Sprint can now use other folks' networks rather than pony up its own investment dollars. Nice work if you can get it."
Sprint issued a reply to AT&T's comments, saying:
It's disappointing, but not surprising, that AT&T wants to challenge a consumer's right to access email, the Internet and other mobile broadband services wherever they may travel in the U.S. Along with Verizon Wireless, AT&T is the only other wireless carrier in America which opposes the FCC's pro-consumer data roaming decision from last year.
The facts are that Sprint, as part of its Network Vision program, doubled its 2011 capital investment over 2010 to make tens of thousands of capacity upgrades, resulting in a better wireless experience for its customers. With these network investments, Sprint continues to offer consumers a better value than AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.
The FCC's expanded roaming regulations are set to be debated in the Washington DC Circuit Court of Appeals later this year.