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T-Mobile claims that AT&T's network in South Dakota is worse than roaming in South Africa

T-Mobile's current data roaming rate with AT&T is 150 percent higher than the average domestic roaming rate.
October 21, 2014

T-Mobile has made it clear that they enjoy taking shots (most of which are true) at their main two rivals, AT&T and Verizon. They are continuing that trend with a rather funny claim that Wireless Week found in an FCC filing.

According to T-Mobile, AT&T customers in South Dakota can have a better roaming experience in South Africa than they do on AT&T’s network in their state. T-Mobile points out that AT&T customers in South Africa get speeds that are twice as fast as those in South Dakota. T-Mobile attributes this to AT&T’s “artificially high roaming rates.”

It should be noted that T-Mobile is currently asking the FCC to issue new guidance and enforcement criteria on data roaming agreements. Currently, the FCC follows their self-issued 2011 Data Roaming Order, which requires mobile broadband providers to provide data roaming on “commercially reasonable” terms and conditions.


As Fierce Wireless notes, T-Mobile is specifically asking the FCC to issue “benchmarks” on the cost of roaming rates and to clarify that current roaming rates aren’t necessarily indicative of “commercially reasonable” roaming rates. For example, T-Mobile’s current data roaming rate with AT&T is 150 percent higher than the average domestic roaming rate T-Mobile currently pays.

According to AT&T Vice President of Regulatory Joan Marsh, T-Mobile’s request would “push the Commission’s regime over the line into impermissible common carrier regulation.”

It does seem a little rich that AT&T would want to delve into an “over the line” argument as they have pretty much made a living off of pushing over the so-called line.

  • AT&T is the company who just paid over $100 million in fines for illegal cramming activities.
  • AT&T is the company who begged for (and received) immunity after it was found out that they had given the NSA voice and data information wholesale with no court order.
  • AT&T is the company who had to have the Department of Justice push them to stop illegally allowing charges stemming from the Telecommunications Relay Service (which AT&T made millions off of)
  • AT&T is the company who at one time wanted to punish those downloading pirated material by taking away their Facebook and YouTube access.
  • How much did AT&T pay in Federal Taxes in 2011? That’s right, nothing.