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Sprint Sues AT&T, Verizon Over Local Access Fees
Last week, Sprint sued AT&T, Verizon and other carriers in California federal court. Sprint accuses the carriers of improperly billing Sprint for millions of dollars in switched-access charges on local wireless calls. Several weeks ago, Sprint sued Verizon and other carriers with a similar complaint over local access call charges.
Sprint argues that since the 1990s, the Federal Communications Commission has asserted that certain wireless calls made and received in the same area aren’t subject to switched-access charges. Sprint therefore wants to be refunded for what they deem to be improper charges and wants a declaration that the carriers cease and desist the practice of assessing charges on wireless, otherwise known as commercial mobile radio service (CMRS), calls that begin and end in the same “Major Trading Area.”
Sprint says that when wireless service entered the commercial market, the FCC defined different boundaries to determine when such a call is considered a “local” call. Sprint further noted in the complaint that the FCC has held since 1996 that calls made and received in the same state or different states are not subject to these access fees.
According to a 2011 FCC order that Sprint referenced, such local “intraMTA” calls are subject to reciprocal compensation rather than switched-access charges.