AT&T wrote a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) claiming that T-Mobile and Sprint have added disability regulations without having permission from the commission to do so, while for AT&T it has been slow to approve a waiver for Wi-Fi calling.
Wi-Fi calling allows people to use a Wi-Fi network to make and receive phone calls, even send and receive text messages, rather than using the traditional mobile network. It mainly benefits those in poor signal areas or budget-conscious users, since it essentially allows them to make calls for free.
On the other side, the FCC has a rule that states that services should have a teletypewriter or TTY that lets speech and hearing impaired people communicate over phones, which is something yet not possible with Wi-Fi calling.
AT&T applied for this waiver in the month of July, in order to have its permission ready to offer the service by September. The company was, in fact, going to be the first one to introduce the system on the iOS 9. However, the applications are still getting processed and the cellular company has not been able to offer the Wi-Fi calling for its customers in the US, while its competitors have.
“We are not in a position to provide Wi-Fi calling services to our customers even while our competitors provide those services in defiance of the commission’s rules,” Jim Cicconi, head of legislative affairs for AT&T, wrote in the letter.
FCC accused of being biased
AT&T says that Sprint and T-Mobile are already providing this service, letting their users to switch to the Wi-Fi network whenever a weak cellular network is encountered by the smartphone.
According to the letter AT&T sent to the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, these companies are violating the law, since they have not sought for permissions and apparently the do not plan to do so. The commission is accused of being biased for not taking actions against Sprint and T-Mobile.
“There is growing concern at AT&T that there is an asymmetry in the application of federal regulations to AT&T on the one hand and its marketplace competitors on the other hand […] This situation simply adds fuel to the fire.” Cicconi added.
Nonetheless, the cellular giant does not want to stop its competitors from offering Wi-Fi calls, instead they just want to be able to provide the same service.
AT&T is not in very good terms
Earlier this year, the FCC announced it would seek a $100 million fine against AT&T for deceiving customers who signed up for its unlimited-data plan. According to the commission, the company slows down the service after users cross the fair usage of 7GB, without previously notifying them.