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January 4, 2011
12:53 PM

CONTACT: Free Press

Josh Stearns, 413-585-1533 x204

Free Press Urges FCC to Investigate MetroPCS 4G Service Plans

Mobile Provider Builds Walled Garden for Mobile Web

WASHINGTON - January 4 - MetroPCS has announced changes to its 4G service plans that offer a glimpse of the future of the mobile Internet, as blessed by the Federal Communications Commission, where carriers, not users, decide what content is important.

In its new scheme, MetroPCS is advertising unlimited talk, text, “Web browsing” and YouTube at a base price of $40 per month -- with additional features like mobile instant messaging or access to audio downloads available on higher tiers for another $10 or $20 per month. But the new MetroPCS plans exist inside a “walled garden” that appears to exclude Skype, Netflix and other popular consumer Internet services.

Free Press Policy Counsel M. Chris Riley made the following statement:

“In December, the FCC chose to disregard wireless protections in its Net Neutrality order, and MetroPCS’s new scheme is a preview of the wireless future in a world without protections on the mobile Web. Such blocking of websites, services or applications would clearly be prohibited and deemed unreasonable on a cable or DSL network. Are these the kinds of restrictions the FCC really wants to promote on wireless networks?

“The open Internet order approved in December stated that the FCC was not implicitly approving practices on the mobile Web that violate its rule against unreasonable discrimination – and now we’ll see whether the agency is willing to do anything about such practices. Silence in the face of ongoing violations is no different from outright approval. If MetroPCS is allowed to engage in rampant discrimination and blocking of Internet applications and services, will Verizon be next? Will AT&T extend its history of blocking services like VoIP and Sling on its LTE network in the future?

“MetroPCS’s plan will restrict consumer choice and innovation in a developing mobile market, all for the sake of further padding its bottom line. The FCC must not stand idly by while carriers are engaging in anti-consumer and anti-competitive behavior, and we urge the agency to investigate.”


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