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AT&T and T-Mobile Object to FCC’s Proposal to Require Test Drives

AT&T and T-Mobile Claim FCC Test Drive Plan is Too Costly

Credit: MediaPost

Telecoms AT&T and T-Mobile have both told the Federal Communications Commission that its test drive plans are simply too expensive to run…

Two major telecoms have come out against a Federal Communications Commission plan that would require carriers to conduct test drives in order to verify their coverage claims. The companies objected because they state such tests would be too costly to perform, and thus, over-burdensome monetarily. Both AT&T and T-Mobile explained their positions, by filing comments about the proposed FCC plan.

AT&T and T-Mobile Claim FCC Test Drive Plan is Too Costly

AT&T claims test driving just 25 percent of its LTE coverage would amount to $45 million per year. Even an attempt to verify only 10 percent would result in a cost of $18 million annually. This is expensive on its own. But, particularly more so at a time when AT&T and other carriers are in the process of building out their 5G networks.

T-Mobile had a similar explanation, citing the enormous expense with such a requirement. “Drive tests and similar procedures are extremely expensive and burdensome to conduct, especially at the scale needed for a statistically significant sample of a nationwide network.”

The FCC’s plan comes as a result of its financial responsibilities. The federal agency provides billions of dollars of subsidies to telecoms for them to build out their infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. And, telecoms have been credibly accused of exaggerating their networks’ rural coverage before. Plus, Congress passed the Broadband DAT Act earlier this year, which requires the FCC to collect more granular data from telecom companies.

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