DC Circuit Rejects Flat Wireless Roaming Rates Petition

On Tuesday, December 10, 2019, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit rejected the Petition for Review (“Petition”) of Flat Wireless, LLC (“Flat”) challenging a Commission Order approving rates that Verizon offered to Flat for both voice and data roaming under the Commission’s Voice and Data Roaming Rules.

Flat filed a complaint against Verizon with the Commission in 2015 alleging that Verizon’s offered roaming rates, for both voice and data, violated the Commission’s rules, arguing that the rates were unreasonable because Verizon’s costs of providing roaming were much lower than its charged rates. The Commission denied the Petition, and the court sides with the Commission in declining to reconsider the rules and its conclusions on the merits. The court agreed that Verizon’s rates fell within the range of rates it has negotiated with other providers and were neither discriminatory nor unreasonable. Further, the court finds that the Commission both reasonably relied on and applied the Voice Roaming Rules in reaching this conclusion, agreeing that that Flat’s argument failed to show that Verizon’s rates should be reviewed differently based on market power arguments. Lastly, the court declines to consider Flat’s argument to reconsider the “commercially reasonable” standard for data roaming rates in the 2015 Open Internet Rule, stating that it lacks jurisdiction to do so based on procedural defects.

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