Record. Mr. Jones asks that AT&T be required to replace customer devices at its expense, including devices that are only used on occasion, for as long as the device is functioning.27
AT&T has committed to implement a trade-in program that allows eligible customers to trade in their Leap prepaid feature phone for a Cricket prepaid feature phone without charge, subject to certain conditions. AT&T will advise Leap CDMA customers of this trade-in program and its terms when it becomes available.28
AT&T also has made the following commitment regarding Leap customers who own iPhone models 4s, 5, 5c, and 5s. Specifically, AT&T will establish a process by which Leap customers with legacy Leap iPhone models 4s, 5, 5c, and 5s can visit a New Cricket store and receive a replacement SIM card that will allow the customer to migrate to AT&T’s network without having to replace his or her device.29
AT&T also has committed to provide customers with Leap smartphones that are not compatible with the AT&T network significant credits to be used for the purchase of a new Cricket smartphone, subject to certain conditions. AT&T will advise Leap CDMA customers of this trade-in credit program and its terms when it becomes available.30
AT&T has clarified its device trade-in credit program commitment by stating that any customer who receives a device trade-in credit pursuant to that program will be able to acquire a low-cost smartphone with that credit at no or minimal additional cost to the customer.31 For example, AT&T represents that its Aio Wireless subsidiary currently offers smartphones at price levels less than $50 and additional smartphones at price levels less than $100.32 Consequently, AT&T anticipates that the device credits to which AT&T has committed to provide to qualifying Leap smartphone customers will permit those customers to acquire a New Cricket smartphone with no or minimal out-of-pocket expense.33
Discussion. We find that these commitments will ensure that Leap customers have future access to wireless service and will facilitate the migration of Leap’s customers to the AT&T network. Those public interest benefits are responsive to our concerns regarding the competitive impact of the transaction on consumers and AT&T’s efforts to migrate Leap’s customers to the AT&T network. In particular, we believe the feature phone trade-in program, IPhone SIM card replacement program, and device credits will help ensure that Leap customers, including Lifeline customers who purchased phones, will have competitive wireless service options available once AT&T discontinues Leap’s CDMA service.
Record. We have concluded that questions remain whether AT&T will continue to honor roaming agreements of providers with Leap during its network transition while providers are making alternative roaming arrangements.34 Commenters request certain conditions relating to roaming during the transition. NTCH requests that AT&T maintain Leap’s CDMA network for a reasonable period of time, and honor all existing roaming contracts on that network.35 CCA requests that the Commission require AT&T to “honor existing Leap roaming agreements for the full term of the agreement or four years from the date of this Transaction’s closing (whichever is longer) . . .”36 CCA also maintains that AT&T should be restricted from cancelling any roaming contracts.37 Flat Wireless requests unspecified protections for Leap’s current roaming partners, to reduce the impact of this transaction on competition in the nationwide CDMA roaming market.38
AT&T has committed to honor the rates, terms and conditions of the CDMA roaming agreements that AT&T is assuming from Leap, and to offer CDMA voice and data roaming consistent with applicable Commission roaming rules for so long as AT&T operates Leap’s CDMA network.39 Nothing in this commitment will require AT&T to modify the rates, terms and conditions of any CDMA roaming agreement it assumes from Leap.40
Discussion. We impose the commitment made by AT&T to honor existing CDMA voice and data roaming services over Leap’s network, so long as that network continues to operate. The Commission has recognized that the continued ability of wireless customers to roam is an important concern when wireless service providers intend to transition network technology as a result of a proposed transaction.41 AT&T’s commitment is responsive to our concern about the ability of wireless providers to roam on Leap’s CDMA network while that network continues to operate. As a result of this commitment, wireless service providers will retain the ability for their customers to roam pursuant to the Commission’s roaming rules on the existing Leap CDMA network. These same providers will have additional time subsequent to the closing of the proposed transaction to take the necessary steps to obtain alternative CDMA roaming arrangements in the current Leap service areas, if that is what they choose to do. We find that AT&T’s voluntary commitment to honor existing roaming agreements is in the public interest.
Nothing in this commitment will be construed as limiting the rights of any carrier to pursue roaming arrangements pursuant to Commission rules and the remedies they afford. We find that this commitment is sufficient to provide continuity of CDMA roaming services in the markets subject to this transaction. We do not find the specific facts of the situation warrant a condition imposing an obligation on AT&T to enter into a roaming agreement with other carriers that replicates the same rates, terms, and conditions as in the AT&T/Leap breakup roaming agreement, or any existing Leap roaming agreement.
Further, we decline to adopt the roaming condition that AT&T be required to maintain the CDMA network for a certain number of years post-transaction in order to support new roaming contracts. It has not been shown why the duty of carriers to provide automatic roaming would not be adequately addressed by the data roaming rule adopted by the Commission in 2011. In addition, there are other CDMA roaming partners throughout Leap’s footprint.