Federal Communications Commission
4. In the Report and Order adopted by the Commission in 2007, the Commission clarified
that "automatic" roaming is a common carrier obligation for CMRS carriers generally, requiring them to
provide automatic roaming services to other carriers upon reasonable request on a just, reasonable, and
non-discriminatory basis pursuant to Sections 201 and 202 of the Communications Act.4 The
Commission found that the services covered by the automatic roaming obligation include the same
services subject to manual roaming and other regulatory obligations - real-time, two-way switched voice
or data services, provided by CMRS carriers, that are interconnected with the public switched network
and utilize an in-network switching facility that enables the provider to reuse frequencies and accomplish
seamless hand-offs of subscriber calls.3 The Commission established the presumption that a request for
automatic roaming is reasonable under Sections 201 and 202 if the requesting carrier's network is
technologically compatible with the host carrier's network.6 The Commission also extended the scope of
the automatic roaming obligation beyond interconnected voice service to include both push-to-talk and
text-messaging provided that certain conditions are met.7
5. In our 2010 Order on Reconsideration, we took further action to increase consumers'
access to roaming services by eliminating the "home roaming exclusion" that had been adopted in the
Report and Order. In particular, we found that the exclusion in many circumstances had discouraged
facilities-based competition.' The revised rule that we adopted provides that uponpn a reasonable
request, it shall be the duty of each host carrier subject to ... [Section 20.12(a)(2) of our rules] . . to
provide automatic roaming to any technologically compatible, facilities-based CMRS carrier on
reasonable and not unreasonably discriminatory terms and conditions, pursuant to Sections 201 and 202
of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. Sections 201 and 202."9 We affirmed that carriers must provide
push-to-talk roaming upon reasonable request.'0 We also provided additional guidance on various factors
that the Commission could consider when evaluating any roaming disputes that were brought before the
6. Data Roaming. In the Further Notice issued in 2007, the Commission sought comment
on whether it should extend the automatic roaming obligation generally to non-interconnected data
4 Reexamination of Roaming Obligations of Commercial Mobile Radio Service Providers, WT Docket No. 05-265,
Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 22 FCC Rcd 15817, 158 18 1 (2007) (Report and
Order and Further Notice, respectively).
5Id at 15837 54.
6 d. at 15831 33. The Commission also codified this automatic roaming obligation in section 20.12(d) of its rules.
Id. at 15840 63; 47 C.F.R. 20.3, 20.12(d).
7 Report and Order, 22 FCC Rcd at 15837 54-55.
8 Reexamination of Roaming Obligations of Commercial Mobile Radio Service Providers and Other Providers of
Mobile Data Services, WT Docket No. 05-265, Order on Reconsideration and Second Further Notice of Proposed
Rulemaking, 25 FCC Rcd 4181, 4190 f 18 (2010) (Order on Reconsideration and Second Further Notice,
9 47 C.F.R. 20.12(d). That rule also provides that the Commission "shall presume that a request by a
technologically compatible CMRS carrier for automatic roaming is reasonable pursuant to Sections 201 and 202 of
the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. Sections 201 and 202." Id. The rule states that this "presumption may be
rebutted on a case-by-case basis. The Commission will resolve automatic roaming disputes on a case-by-case basis,
taking into consideration the totality of the circumstances presented in each case." Id.
io Order on Reconsideration, 25 FCC Rcd at 4204 45.
United States. Federal Communications Commission. FCC Record, Volume 26, No. 7, Pages 4843 to 5761, March 28 - April 08, 2011. Washington D.C.. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc52169/. Accessed February 12, 2016.