Local Phone Companies Want To Block In-Coming Mobile Calls

from the they-want-more-cash... dept

The telephone system works because the owners of various networks agree to accept calls from other networks. What would happen if one network decided not to accept calls from certain other networks? It looks like folks in (or calling into) Iowa may find out at some point. The East Buchanan Telephone Co-op announced plans to block all calls from mobile phones to its customers, but the Iowa Utilities Board issued a two-week injunction to stop them from actually going through with it. Unfortunately, the AP article on the topic is a little short on details, but some good ones are provided over on the Interesting People list which gives some background on interconnect fees. Basically, what appears to be happening here (which is not at all clear from the AP article) is that the Co-Op in question is not satisfied with the interconnect rates they're receiving, and this is more or less a way for them to go on "strike" until the mobile carriers agree to pay up. Of course, you'd have to believe that the mobile carriers are in a much stronger position, having a lot more cash, and (in general) being somewhat less concerned if calls are getting through to certain landlines in Iowa. Meanwhile, the customers of the phone companies in the co-op would immediately blame their own phone company for blocking perfectly reasonable calls, and may even push them towards competing phone companies. It is a way for the Co-Op to make some noise to try to get the much bigger carriers to settle this business dispute, but they're clearly coming from a much weaker position. Of course, it also seems highly unlikely that regulators would actually let these phone companies block calls for very long, as the last thing they want to do is give other small telcos any ideas that might put up all sorts of walled gardens in the phone system. Of course, this wouldn't really be all that different from the VoIP world, where Adelphia and Frontier were recently (purposely or not) blocking VoIP calls from AT&T.
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  • identicon
    Rob Henderson, 16 Aug 2004 @ 5:38am

    A few points...

    The article I read says that the wireless calls are mingled with the long distance calls coming into the local carrier from the outside companies. Is it possible that this block of calls do not pay specific termination fees, the LD calls include the termination charge in the LD charge, and thus the wireless calls are unpaid?
    The interesting twist here is that the local carrier is a co-op, meaning that they make no profits and the costs are shared amongst the members, the local telephone customers. If they claim that they receive no revenue from the incoming wireless calls, I would tend to believe them. I would raise more questions about their choice to opt out of a statewide agreement covering this issue because they thought the price was too low.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    kael, 16 Aug 2004 @ 11:49am

    No Subject Given

    Sounds like Qwest wants to have their cake and eat it too. Knowing Qwest in this area (yeah, I'm in the land of corn), this fails to surprise me one iota.
    If they don't want to be forced to pay for the incoming wireless calls (which they ARE forced to pay for traditional incoming long distance), I don't see how they can call for the Co-op to be forced to accept Qwest's calls.
    Doesn't matter, the small Co-ops will all soon be owned by Iowa Telecomm anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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