How the FCC Inquiry Will Affect Mobile Marketing: Webinar

In August 2009, the Federal Communications Commission launched a sweeping inquiry into the mobile industry and its practices that could result in new regulations impacting the wireless marketplace. The FCC inquiries, which ask for public comment, are focused on three areas: research and development with regards to innovation, competition in the wireless industry and consumer protection with an emphasis on truth-in-billing. Andrew Lustigman participated in Mobile Marketer's September 2009 webinar which addressed how the FCC three-prong inquiry may impact mobile marketing. Please click here to access the archived Webinar.

Perhaps most important to marketers is the truth in billing inquiry. The FCC could potentially be looking at how and when people enroll in mobile services, what types of disclosures consumers are getting, what they are buying and how much they are being charged. Indeed, the FCC is potentially looking at charges by third parties, marketers allowing unauthorized charges to be billed to wireless accounts, that is, cramming allegations. Here, the FCC has expressly invited inquiries and comments from the FTC and from the states, in particular Florida, with respect to their efforts in dealing with cramming.

The FCC inquiry also includes an examination of segments including third-party products and services such as mobile applications and how they are distributed to consumers. This includes exclusivity agreements and applications stores. The FCC's wants to examine what they call downstream application services, what most people know as mobile apps, especially whether or not the carriers are restricting access to certain types of apps.

Marketers' response
Businesses that have concerns about innovation and competition should submit comments by September 30, and replies by October 15, 2009. Businesses that have concerns about truth-in-billing should submit comments by October 15, 2009 and replies October 30, 2009.

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