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Federal Communications Commission
1919 - M Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554
News media information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).




The FCC has issued a Notice of Inquiry regarding Calling Party Pays (CPP), a service option provided by selected Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) carriers to their customers, but not widely available in the United States.

The FCC said the purpose of this inquiry is to explore whether Calling Party Pays could serve as one means of promoting and expanding competition in the local exchange telephone market. The Commission is committed to taking the necessary actions to increase consumer options for local telephone service.

CPP is a service billing option, currently provided by some cellular, paging, and Personal Communications Service (PCS) carriers, in which the party placing the call or page pays the airtime charge and any other applicable charges. In order for a CMRS provider to offer CPP to its customers, the local exchange carrier (LEC) on whose facilities the call generally originates must agree to bill the calling party on behalf of the CMRS carrier or must furnish the CMRS carrier with sufficient billing information to enable the CMRS carrier to bill the calling party directly.

CMRS telephone consumers throughout the Nation typically pay on a per minute basis for all calls they initiate or receive. The main billing difference between wireline and wireless telephone service is that a wireline telephone subscriber typically does not pay any additional charges to receive telephone calls, whereas most CMRS telephone subscribers pay a per minute charge to receive calls.

The FCC is interested in determining if this difference in billing practices between wireline and wireless telephone service could stifle the ability of wireless carriers to compete with wireline carriers in the local exchange marketplace.

Therefore, the FCC is exploring the subject of CPP in order to develop a record to determine whether the wider availability of CPP would enable CMRS providers to more readily compete with wireline services provided by LECs, and to determine whether there are actions that the Commission could take to promote CPP for CMRS providers. The Commission will examine whether the fact that CMRS subscribers currently must pay for incoming calls is or could have the effect of slowing the rate at which CMRS services are accepted by consumers as a close substitute for wireline telephone service.

Specifically, the FCC is seeking information regarding, among other issues:

The current availability of the CPP service option.

The impact CPP has had in stimulating demand for wireless services.

Consumer protection issues, such as how the calling party is informed of charges and the magnitude of these charges.

What technical and contractual requirements are needed to implement this service option.

Whether there are technical, regulatory, or other barriers hampering the availability of this service option.

Whether the CMRS industry and the public believe it is in the public interest for the Commission to initiate actions to increase the availability of this service option.

Action by the Commission September 25, 1997, by Notice of Inquiry (FCC 97-xxx). Chairman Hundt, Commissioners...


News Media contact: Audrey Spivack at (202) 418-0654 Wireless Telecommunications Bureau contacts: Joe Levin or Pam Megna at (202) 418-1310