News & Updates


NARUC Survey Highlights Areas of Wireless-Service Consumer Concerns

Contact: Rob Thormeyer, 202-898-9382,

WASHINGTON—As Congress mulls the need for wireless consumer rules, a broad survey of State officials, consumer groups, and other stakeholders tabbed Early Termination Fees (ETFs), Contract Terms and Conditions, and Quality of Service for possible inclusion in any national set of wireless standards.

The survey, developed by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners through its Ad Hoc Committee on National Wireless Consumer Protection Standards, also underscored the need for a cooperative approach between State and federal regulators in implementing any new standards.

NARUC initiated the survey after its Board of Directors in July 2008 passed a resolution calling for national wireless consumer protection standards that would be developed by a State-federal Task Force and enforced at both the State and federal level. NARUC’s Telecommunications Committee then created the Ad Hoc Committee, led by Commissioner John Burke of Vermont, to get a broad and comprehensive picture of wireless service issues State and federal policymakers are facing.

"As people become more and more dependent on their cellular phones, a national set of agreed-upon wireless consumer standards is necessary to ensure that all consumers are protected going forward," said NARUC President Frederick Butler of New Jersey and Ad Hoc Committee on National Wireless Consumer Protection Standards Chairman John Burke of Vermont. “This survey highlights a number of issues that could be considered as part of an initial set of standards, and demonstrates the need for a federal-State partnership to help consumers and continue improving wireless services. The NARUC resolution proposes a model for establishing and modifying national standards through a federal, State, and stakeholder ad hoc committee which can more quickly address consumer concerns. We would like to thank those who took the time to respond to this survey for their hard work and effort.”

The survey found that ETFs topped the list of State and consumer concerns, followed by Contract Terms and Conditions, Quality of Service, Advertising Disclosure, and Billing Practices. “Though some [wireless] providers have moved to prorate ETFs and offer customers a short trial period in which to cancel service without penalty, significant concern remains,” the survey found.

The list of respondents is included in the survey in Attachment C of the Appendix [ Appendices.pdf].


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NARUC is a non-profit organization founded in 1889 whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC’s member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities. NARUC represents the interests of State public utility commissions before the three branches of the Federal government.

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