Fifth Circuit Denies Worldcall’s Petition for Review of FCC’s Order

In a decision filed October 24, 2018, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (the “Court”) denied Worldcall Interconnect, Inc.’s (“Worldcall”) Petition for Review of an Order of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) on roaming rules (No. 17-60736). After Worldcall and AT&T were unsuccessful in negotiating terms for a roaming agreement, Worldcall filed a complaint with the Commission alleging that AT&T proposed terms in violation of the FCC’s roaming rules and refused to accept terms in compliance with those rules. The Enforcement Bureau (the “Bureau”) found that AT&T’s proposed rates did not violate FCC rules, and Worldcall sought review of the Bureau’s Order, which the Commission denied. Worldcall then petitioned the Fifth Circuit for review, which the Court in this case denied.

The Court disagreed with Worldcall’s assertion that the proposed rates offered by AT&T were unreasonably discriminatory and the Automatic Roaming Rule should apply. Rather, the Court confirmed the FCC’s decision that this dispute involved non-interconnected data services and decision to apply the Data Roaming Rule. Under this rule, the Commission found that AT&T’s proposed rates were commercially reasonable. The FCC considered other rates that AT&T offered for data roaming agreements, finding that the rates proposed to Worldcall were comparable, and in some cases even lower, than other rates offered by AT&T. The Court found no error in the Commission’s decision, and denied Worldcall’s petition for review of the Commission’s Order.

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