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   July 31, 2012  Neil Grace (202) 418-0506


         verizon wireless TO PAY $1.25 million TO SETTLE investigation

         INTO BLOCKING OF consumers' access to certain MOBILE BROADBAND

   Washington, D.C. - Today the FCC's Enforcement Bureau released a $1.25
   million consent decree with Verizon Wireless that resolves an
   investigation into whether the company had fully complied with the FCC's
   "C Block rules," requiring licensees of C Block spectrum to allow
   customers to freely use the devices and applications of their choosing.

   FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, "Today's action demonstrates that
   compliance with FCC obligations is not optional.  The open device and
   application obligations were core conditions when Verizon purchased the
   C-block spectrum. The massive innovation and investment fueled by the
   Internet have been driven by consumer choice in both devices and
   applications. The steps taken today will not only protect consumer choice,
   but defend certainty for innovators to continue to deliver new services
   and apps without fear of being blocked."

   Verizon Wireless offers customers its 4G LTE service on C Block spectrum.
   Verizon Wireless bid at auction to acquire that spectrum, understanding
   that it was accompanied by open device and application obligations.
   Specifically, licensees offering service on C Block spectrum "shall not
   deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices
   and applications of their choice on the licensee's C Block network,"
   subject to narrow exceptions. 

   P. Michele Ellison, Enforcement Bureau Chief, said, "This case was the
   first of its kind in enforcing the pro-consumer open access obligations of
   the C Block rules. It underscores the agency's commitment to guarantee
   consumers the benefits of an open wireless broadband platform by providing
   greater consumer choice and fostering innovation."

   The Bureau launched an investigation after reports suggested that Verizon
   Wireless had successfully requested that a major application store
   operator block Verizon's customers from accessing tethering applications
   from its online market. ("Tethering" is using a wireless phone as a modem
   to obtain Internet access for another device, such as a laptop computer or

   The Commission also received an informal complaint alleging that Verizon
   Wireless had violated the FCC's C Block rules by making such a request. At
   that time, Verizon Wireless's terms of service required all customers who
   wanted to use their phones for tethering to subscribe to the company's
   Mobile Broadband Connect service, at an additional charge. In response,
   Verizon Wireless stated that the additional fee reflected the fact that
   customers who tether laptops or other devices have the capability to use
   more data capacity than others. At the time of that response, however,
   Verizon Wireless required not only unlimited data plan customers, but also
   customers who paid for data on a usage basis, to pay the additional fee.
   Verizon Wireless asserted that third-party tethering applications could
   enable its customers to tether without paying an additional fee.

   Under the terms of today's settlement, Verizon Wireless will make a
   voluntary payment to the Treasury in the amount of $1.25 million, and has
   committed to notifying the application store operator that it no longer
   objects to the availability of the tethering applications to C-Block
   network customers in the operator's online market.  Verizon Wireless has
   also agreed to implement a compliance plan, requiring that:

     * employees will receive training on compliance with the C Block rules;

     * future communications with application store operators regarding the
       availability of applications to Verizon Wireless customers will be
       reviewed in advance by legal counsel; and

     * Verizon will report any instances of noncompliance with the rule at
       issue that might occur during the two-year term of the plan.

   In addition, the company recently revised its service offerings such that
   consumers on usage-based pricing plans may tether, using any application,
   without paying an additional fee.


       For news and information about the FCC, please visit:


   Federal Communications Commission

   445 12th Street, S.W.

   Washington, D. C. 20554

   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).

                                        News Media Information 202 / 418-0500


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