The Rural Wireless Association said in reply comments posted today that it opposes Verizon Communications, Inc.’s request for a declaratory ruling or, in the alternative, a partial waiver to allow it to combat identity theft and handset fraud by temporarily locking handsets that use upper 700 megahertz band C-block spectrum (TR Daily, Feb. 25).
RWA said in its filing in WT docket 06-150 that it “supports those comments filed by Double Perfect, Pine Belt Cellular, Inc. (‘Pine Belt’), and T-Mobile USA, Inc. (‘T-Mobile’), opposing Verizon’s request for a declaratory ruling and a partial waiver of the handset locking rule due to the negative effects such an outcome would have on rural carriers and rural consumers [TR Daily, April 5]. Moreover, RWA joins Double Perfect and Pine Belt in opposing device locking in general, and encourages the Commission to prohibit the locking of any user equipment, irrespective of manufacturer or application, that relies on licensed spectrum for its upstream network connectivity.”
“Verizon’s arguments in support of a declaratory ruling are wrong and contravene the letter and spirit of the Commission’s 700 MHz Block C Band open access rules, including the handset locking rule, and its 60-day handset locking proposal would have numerous negative effects on rural consumers and rural carriers alike,” RWA argued.
“Verizon claims that there is controversy and uncertainty with respect to the Commission’s handset locking rule because the meaning of the terms ‘customer’ and ‘configure’ as used therein are ambiguous; however, this is definitively not the case, as section 27.16(e) is clear in its intent, meaning, and interpretation as applied to Verizon and every other C Block licensee,” RWA said. “Moreover, as numerous commenters have established, resolving the alleged ‘ambiguities’ in accordance with Verizon’s line of thinking and issuing Verizon’s declaratory ruling would actually confuse, rather than clarify, the rules that have been established.”
In its reply comments, Verizon said, “The record supports that the requested relief would be good for consumers and benefit the public interest.” It cited the support of Public Knowledge and Appalachian Wireless.
“Although two other wireless carriers oppose Verizon’s waiver request, neither disputes the problems of fraud and identity theft that Verizon has described,” Verizon added. “These commenters instead argue that granting Verizon relief will undermine the objectives of the C Block rules as a whole, which include promoting innovation and competition. But not a single commenter provides any evidence or data to support the claim that the anti-theft approach described in our petition would somehow undermine these objectives. To the contrary, we demonstrated – and Public Knowledge and Appalachian Wireless agree – that the requested relief would enhance, not retard, wireless innovation and competition.”- Paul Kirby, [email protected]
MainStory: FCC FederalNews
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