NEW YORK Dec 9 The U.S. Federal Communications
Commission on Monday said it was suspending a plan by AT&T Inc
to end certain discounts for so called special-access
services for wholesale clients after some of its customers
The decision came a day before AT&T, the country's biggest
telecommunications service provider, had planned to eliminate
certain long-term contracts for high-speed network connections
based on older technologies. The plan was part of its effort to
upgrade its network to Internet Protocol technology.
But some customers had objected as they would no longer be
able to avail themselves of the discounts that came with
As a result of the FCC, the U.S. telecommunications
regulator, said it was suspending AT&T's plan for five months
and opening an investigation due to "substantial questions
regarding the lawfulness of AT&T's tariff revisions that require
In an order published on its website the FCC cited petitions
from companies including Sprint Corp, Level 3
Communications Inc and Windstream Holdings Inc.
These companies had asked the FCC to reject or suspend
AT&T's proposed revisions as they argued that it would
effectively result in substantial price increases because a lack
of competition in this area would give them no other choice.
Sprint, the No.3 U.S. mobile service provider, welcomed the
FCC decision. It said AT&T had sought to raise its prices by as
much as 24 percent and noted that the disputed services are
essential to financial services, retailers, manufacturers and
educational institutions as well as wireless service providers.
After the FCC filing AT&T said on Monday that it would
continue to meet its customers and "remain flexible in
attempting to meet their needs" as it upgrades its network.
Stifel Nicolaus analyst David Kaut said in a research note
that he doubted the FCC would ultimately block AT&T's move to
But he said that AT&T would likely end up having to
negotiate with its customers over what they consider a
reasonable transition period from the older technologies.