T-Mobile US Wants Lower Mobile Data Roaming Costs

In Europe, mobile wholesale voice and data roaming rates have been lowered by action of the European Commission. In the United States, at least according to T-Mobile US, mobile data roaming rates likewise are dropping.

And T-Mobile US wants the Federal Communications Commission to take action to drop mobile data roaming rates T-Mobile US pays to AT&T or other service providers able to support GSM roaming.

To be sure, data roaming represents only about 0.16 percent of T-Mobile US customer data usage.

But smaller service providers typically argue they pay roaming rates that are too high, in large part because smaller networks nearly always pay more in roaming fees than larger networks pay to smaller networks.

Scale is the reason: most calls or instances of roaming will occur when smaller network customers roam onto larger networks, simply because the larger networks represent most of the customers who communicate.

Larger numbers of customers also mean lower likelihood a big network’s customers will need to access a roaming network, simply because there is a greater likelihood a called or connected party is “on network.”

AT&T has a bigger deployed network than T-Mobile US. So AT&T customers arguably will need to roam less frequently off the core AT&T network when traveling.

With a smaller network, T-Mobile US customers are more likely to need to roam onto AT&T’s networks when traveling.




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