We have heard from several clients that their wireline residential customers are receiving notices from Sprint that it is terminating its long distance service in their regions and that they must switch to a new long distance carrier. Clients should be prepared to explain Sprint’s exit to customers, as well as how affected customers will be moved to the ILEC’s affiliate LD carrier. As customers disconnect from Sprint, ILECs are no longer required to offer other third-party LD options to customers.
Sprint indicated its plans to leave the residential long distance business back in 2015 when it filed a Section 214 discontinuance notice, which was approved by the FCC in 2016. The current Sprint tariff states, “Existing term plans may not be renewed or extended beyond June 2017.” This limit on term renewals may drive up the number of presubscribed interexchange carrier (PIC) change requests you see in the coming weeks.
This change does provide an opportunity for ILEC LD affiliates. The FCC’s 2015 Forbearance Order eliminated equal access and dialing parity requirements, so companies no longer are required to offer customers the ability to subscribe to third-party LD carriers like Sprint. This was found in footnote 170 of the Forbearance Order:
“We clarify that incumbent LECs need not maintain equal access and dialing parity protections for ‘grandfathered’ customers if those customers seek long u00addistance voice service from a third provider other than the provider from which they receive service on the date of this Order.”
Although ILECs were not permitted to move all customers that were presubscribed to third-party carriers to the ILEC’s LD service at that time, they are allowed to move customers when they disconnect from their current carrier. In addition, ILECs no longer are required to offer equal access to new customers.
Clients should have policies in place on how they treat customers who request a long distance PIC change. JSI can help you develop a policy or communications to use with your affected customers.
If you have any questions or if you are interested in assistance with communicating the changes to customers, please contact one of our experts by clicking the button below.