Wireless Carriers & Resellers (MVNOs)
"MVNOs often increase the range of services offered by the host facilities-based provider by targeting certain market segments, including segments previously not served by the hosting facilities-based provider. Hence, the relationship between an MVNO and its hosting facilities-based provider is a mutually beneficial strategic partnership."
--FCC Statement, 2013
MVNOs are regulated at the federal and state level substantially like providers of Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS). FCC requirements include the following:
- Comply with FCC licensing requirements; obtain 499 filer ID and section 214 license
- Offer 911 emergency calling services
- Comply with the FCC’s disability access requirements ("TRS")
- Contribute to federal universal support mechanisms (USF, TRS, LNP, FCC regulatory fees
- Comply with the FCC’s customer proprietary network information (“CPNI”) rules
- Comply with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act
- Implement a procedure to allow customers to switch from one wireless carrier to another (local number portability)
Currently, state utility commissions are prohibited from regulating the rates and entry requirements associated with wireless services. For example, state PUCs may not require wireless providers to seek authorization prior to offering services. However, for the purpose of ensuring compliance with certain rules designed to protect consumers, several states have adopted rules which require providers of wireless carriers to register in their state.
In addition, several state and local taxes apply to wireless carriers. Specifically, in addition to long-standing state taxes, such as sales and use tax and gross receipts tax, several taxes applicable only to telecommunications and communications services apply to wireless services. Examples of such taxes include E911/911, state TRS, state USF, utility uses tax (UUT), communications services taxes, and telecommunications sales tax.
Links & Resources
The FCC offers a number of guides and resources to help carriers and consumers gain a better understanding of the regulatory requirements applicable to wireless carriers. Select the links below for a more detailed summary of the following issues and requirements: