T-Mobile has filed with the FCC asking that it clarify what "commercially reasonable" means in regards to roaming agreements between carriers, and that the FCC then force AT&T and Verizon to fairly negotiate new more "reasonable" lower rates with the smaller carriers who are dependent on roaming.
T-Mobiles objects to the big carriers charging wholesale bulk roaming rates orders of magnitude higher than the retail prices they charge their own direct customers and wholesale MVNO's.
In the filing, T-Mobile revealed the average price per GB it has had to pay for roaming data - primarily presumably to AT&T. The numbers paint an absolutely fascinating picture.
We ran an informal poll with our Mobile Internet Aficionados to see how much they thought T-Mobile pays per GB for roaming to the carriers.. and the most popular guess was 52-cents/GB.
In 2008 - T-Mobile paid $3,060 per GB. In 2012 it had fallen to $859/GB, in 2013 $300/GB, and the forecasted average for 2014 is $181/GB.
The downward trend in data pricing is encouraging, but based on what T-Mobile is paying wholesale... It sure makes the Millenicom 20GB plan seem like an even more incredible bargain!
These prices are why T-Mobile and Sprint plans offer such incredibly limited roaming usage caps - and why even with those caps in place T-Mobile admits that they actually lose money on some customers who spend a lot of time in roaming areas.
It is tough to be the small guy standing up to the giants.
For some more fascinating details: