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Statements: Commissioner Ness

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Federal Communications Commission
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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).

JUNE 10, 1999

Meribeth McCarrick at (202) 418-0654


Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a Declaratory Ruling and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to help facilitate the offering of Calling Party Pays (CPP) as an optional wireless service to consumers in the United States. CPP has the potential to promote the development of local competition and to provide an important new alternative to consumers who have not previously used wireless extensively.

CPP is a service offering whereby the party placing the call to a wireless customer pays the wireless airtime charges. Most wireless subscribers in the U.S. now pay both to place calls and to receive them. CPP is a service offered widely abroad by wireless providers, and on a much more limited basis by some providers of cellular, paging and Personal Communications Service (PCS) in the United States.

In today's proceeding, the FCC is seeking to remove regulatory obstacles to the offering to consumers of Calling Party Pays (CPP) services by Commercial Mobile Radio Services (CMRS) providers. With today's action, the FCC hopes to help ensure that the success or failure of CPP offerings to reach its potential reflects the commercial judgments of service providers and the informed choices of consumers, both wireless and wireline, rather than unnecessary regulatory or legal obstacles and uncertainties.

In today's CPP Declaratory Ruling and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking the FCC took the following actions:

  • Clarified that CPP is a Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) offering. Therefore, CPP is subject to Section 332 of the Communications Act. Various critical issues regarding the implications of this regulatory classification, including the roles of the states and the FCC, are addressed in the NPRM section.

  • Proposed to develop, in cooperation with the States, a uniform notification requirement that protects consumers by providing them with sufficient information before completing a CPP call to a CMRS subscriber. The notification would include: (1) notice that the caller is making a call to a CPP subscriber, and that the caller will be responsible for payment of airtime charges; (2) the per minute rate and other rates that the caller will be charged by the CMRS provider; (3) identification of the CMRS provider; and (4) notice that the caller has the opportunity to terminate the call prior to incurring any charges.

  • States the Commission's belief that it has the authority to set a uniform notification requirement, and that the States, pursuant to Section 332, have authority to regulate "other terms and conditions" of CMRS, including issues of consumer protection.

  • Sought comment on whether the proposed notification is sufficient to create an "implied- in-fact" contract between the caller and the CMRS carrier.

  • Sought comment on whether market conditions are likely to exert competitive pressure on rates charged to calling parties on CPP calls.

  • Addressed proposals in the record on how to bill and collect from the calling party for CPP calls, including LEC billing and collection, and the jurisdictional bases for Commission action.
Action by the Commission, June 10, 1999, by Declaratory Ruling and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 99-137). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Powell and Tristani with Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth approving in part, concurring in part, dissenting in part, and issuing a statement and Commissioner Ness issuing a separate statement.

News Media contact: Meribeth McCarrick at 202-418-0654, TTY at (202) 418-7233, or e-mail at

Wireless Telecommunications Bureau contacts: Joseph Levin or David Siehl (Policy Division) at 202.418.1310, via e-mail at or, or TTY at 202.418.7233.

WT Report No. 99-14
Docket No. 99-207