Last week it was reported that AT&T had issued a letter to the FCC to both better explain its approach to getting in line with Wi-Fi calling regulations and air its grievances with T-Mobile and Sprint being able to launch its services without compliance. Now the FCC has given AT&T the green light on rolling out Wi-Fi calling to customers.
The sole reason that AT&T was sitting in the waiting room on this is that it uses real time text (RTT) instead of teletype services (TTY). FCC regulation requires that networks uses TTY for users who are hearing impaired. AT&T says that it didn’t use TTY because it was outdated and RTT was simply better in every way.
While the FCC could push the point that it’s not up to the wireless network to determine what is better to use in this case and that regulation is regulation, it has given AT&T a waiver anyway. This allows AT&T to present its service with RTT until 2017 at which time it should have TTY.
Although it has the go ahead from the FCC, AT&T hasn’t isn’t giving its competitors rest from simply going to the front of the line with their Wi-Fi calling services. “We’re grateful the FCC has granted AT&T’s waiver request so we can begin providing Wi-Fi calling,” said Senior VP of External and Legislative Affairs, Jim Cicconi said in a statement. “At the same time we are left scratching our heads as to why the FCC still seems intent on excusing the behavior of T-Mobile and Sprint, who have been offering these services without a waiver for quite some time.”
He went on to add “Instead of initiating enforcement action against them, or at least opening an investigation, the agency has effectively invited them to now apply for similar waivers and implied that their prior flaunting of FCC rules will be ignored. This is exactly what we meant when our letter spoke of concerns about asymmetric regulation.”