Good afternoon from Washington, DC! The TLP Team is wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a happy, healthy, and peaceful start to the holiday season. Below you will find this week’s Weekly Wireless Wrap-Up, your update on the wireless telecommunications regulatory landscape, important wireless decisions, and more! It’s been a busy week at the FCC, of note, the FCC held its November Open Meeting, released an Order granting the Verizon/TracFone deal, and released the Tentative Agenda for the December Open Meeting. In addition, Congress scheduled the nominations hearings for Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel and Gigi Sohn. Here’s your wrap-up:
- Last Thursday, November 18, 2021, the FCC held its November Open Meeting. The Commission considered and adopted three items. A fourth item was originally listed on the agenda regarding FM Radio Directional Antenna Verification, but was deleted from the Agenda prior to the meeting in this notice. For more information and to view a copy of the Agenda, see our post here.
- At the November Open Meeting, the FCC adopted two items of particular importance to wireless providers:
- A Second Report and Order requiring covered text providers to support SMS text messaging to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by routing covered text messages sent to 988 to the Lifeline’s 10-digit central phone number by July 16, 2022. This is the same date that providers are required to fully transition to directing calls to 988 to the Lifeline. For more information and to view a copy of the Order, see our post here.
- A Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on an Enhanced Competition Incentive Program to encourage wireless licensees to partition, disaggregate, or lease spectrum to small carriers, Tribal Nations, and entities in rural area. For more information and to view a copy of the FNPRM, see our post here.
- On November 19, 2021, the Wireline Competition Bureau released an Order granting Missouri Network Alliance, LLC d/b/a Bluebird’s (“Bluebird”) Motion to Withdraw its Section 253 Petition. Bluebird had filed the Petition seeking to overturn a city’s Right-of Way fees. Subsequent to the filing of the Petition, Missouri introduced a law prohibiting such fees, which Bluebird argued mooted its Petition thereby prompting its withdrawal. The WCB agreed and dismissed the Petition without prejudice in its recent Order. For more information on the original petition, see our post here. For more information on the Order dismissing the petition, see our post here.
- On Monday, November 22, 2021, the FCC released an Order granting Verizon Communications Inc. (“Verizon”), América Móvil S.A.B. de C.V. (“América Móvil”), and TracFone Wireless, Inc.’s (“TracFone”) Application for Consent to Transfer of Control of TracFone’s international section 214 authorization from América Móvil to Verizon (“Application”). The Order imposes several conditions on Verizon to protect existing and new TracFone Lifeline customers and mobile virtual network operators for which Verizon is their wholesale provider. For more information and to view a copy of the Order, see our post here.
- Also on Monday, the Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice announcing the implementation of two new measures intended to strengthen the program integrity surrounding the enrollment of households in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. For more information and to view a copy of the Notice, see our post here.
- Yesterday, November 23, 2021, the FCC announced the close of bidding in the clock phase of the auction for new flexible-use licenses in the 3.45–3.55 GHz band (Auction 110). The assignment phase will begin Thursday, December 9, 2021. For more information and to view a copy of the Public Notice, see our post here.
- Also yesterday, the Enforcement Bureau released an Order resolving the FCC’s investigation into whether T-Mobile USA, Inc. (“T-Mobile”) failed to comply with the FCC’s 911 rules during its June 15, 2020 network outage. The Bureau and T-Mobile have entered into a Consent Decree, under which T-Mobile will pay a $19.5 million settlement and will implement a compliance plan. For more information and to view a copy of the Order and Consent Decree, see our post here.
- And finally, yesterday, the FCC released the Tentative Agenda for the December Open Commission Meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021 at 10:30 AM. The meeting will be held virtually at fcc.gov/live and on the Commission’s YouTube channel. The Commission is scheduled to consider three items. For more information and to view a copy of the Tentative Agenda, see our post here.
- The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has scheduled a nominations hearing for Acting Chairwoman Rosewnworcel and Gigi Sohn for next Wednesday, December 1, 2021. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:15 AM and can be viewed on the Committee’s website. For more information and to watch the hearing live on December 1, view the Committee’s website here.
For more information or assistance on telecommunications matters, please contact us.