Senators Intro App Bill, Groups Drop TracFone Buy Complaint, States Want Shorter Robocall Deadline

Senators don’t want apps beholden to Google and Apple, Verizon commits to interest group wants, states want robocall deadline sooner.

Senators Intro App Bill, Groups Drop TracFone Buy Complaint, States Want Shorter Robocall Deadline
Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut

August 12, 2021 – Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, introduced the Open App Markets Act to ban app store operators from requiring app providers to use their in-app payment systems.

The bill prohibits app store owners such as Apple and Google from banning consumers obtaining apps outside of the phone’s official app store.

It comes as Epic Games, the maker of popular video game Fornite, is in court after it bypassed Apple’s store – and its fees – to allow players to make game purchases. Apple’s 30 percent charge on digital app sales has come under scrutiny, as has Google for reporting its own enforcement on taking commission fees.

In an interview on Wednesday, Blumenthal said, “I found this predatory abuse of Apple and Google so deeply offensive on so many levels. Their power has reached a point where they are impacting the whole economy in stifling and strangling innovation.”

Public interest groups get commitment from Verizon in TracFone deal

On Wednesday, public interest groups submitted a letter withdrawing federal objections to Verizon’s purchase of mobile phone provider TracFone.

This comes in response to Verizon’s announced commitments to ensure its acquisition of TracFone does not negatively impact low-income subscribers.

Verizon committed to provide service with no additional co-pays to TracFone’s Lifeline subscribers for a minimum of three years after the merger, continue marketing Lifeline options throughout the TracFone service area, and provide a 5G service within six months after the merger closes.

Kathleen Burke of advocacy group Public Knowledge stated, “We applaud the FCC for its efforts to ensure that this merger meets the necessary public interest standard. These commitments represent the federal floor of what we believe is necessary to ensure that TracFone’s Lifeline subscribers do not get left behind.”

State attorneys general ask FCC to move robocall deadlines up

A coalition of state attorneys general have asked the Federal Communications Commission to move up the deadline for small telephone companies to implement an anti-robocall regime by June 30, 2022, instead of June 2023.

Telephone companies are required to utilize anti-spoofing and robocall technology known as STIR/SHAKEN to prevent such calls from getting through. Larger phone companies were required to implement the measures by June 30 this year.

On Monday, a number of organizations representing smaller telecoms said the FCC should be specifically exempt smaller facilities-based telephone companies from the accelerated deadline of 2022 because allegedly the vast majority of illegal robocalls come from those without networks, which should be subject to the shortened timeline, they said.

Popular Tags