What the other posters are saying is that while the government can tell Verizon that they have to allow roaming by their competitors, they should not be able to dictate to Verizon how much they can charge for that roaming.
A prime example is here, as you say, where Pioneer is the ONLY CDMA provider to have ever built a system here. First on their own, and then in partnership with Sprint, where they shared tower cost and Pioneer used Sprint's construction unit to actually build the new towers and sites. In return, Sprint got a roaming agreement which allowed them to advertise and show on their coverage maps that a good bit of their coverage was native and not roaming (false advertising in my opinion, roaming is roaming, and should be displayed as such). Now Pioneer got in bed with Verizon in their LTE in Rural America program and dumped the roaming agreement with Sprint, which covers HALF the state of Oklahoma. So now our choices of carrier on the CDMA side are either Pioneer or Verizon, who now has the roaming agreement. Sprint customers are just out of luck since Sprint has strict limits on how much roaming you can do.
Things are better on the GSM side, since both AT&T and T-Mobile have built pretty good systems, and the one GSM regional carrier, CellularOne, has called it quits and sold itself to Pioneer.
It's a ridiculous situation, and one that occurs all across this country. The people living in the big cities have NO idea what a process it is to find a carrier that suits your needs and has coverage where you want and need to go, if you live in a rural area. You can live in one county and your situation might totally change, phone won't work, etc, right in the next county.
Admittedly, the tower would have been advantageous for Verizon and T-Mobile, since AT&T could theoretically just whip out a DAS to cover a mile or three of road here or there if they want to, since they are the incumbent carrier (Sprint doesn't seem to build tower sites anymore, their coverage sucks), but it was sited for a totally inappropriate location, and they wanted to go to the 150' level, instead of using a couple of smaller, less intrusive sites.
Also, the CT State Citing Council is a benefit in general to the state because they are basically mandating near 100% land area coverage over the whole state, whereas if every local town had control over tower sitings, it would cement AT&T and Verizon's already massive lead in the state, and many towns would be dead spots, leading to a swiss cheese map. However, there are downsides, like a few idiotic tower sitings, like a pair of towers near each other in Old Saybrook that haven't been forced to co-locate, and in Storrs, where there is an 80' tower, a 250' tower, and the ugliest of them all, a 327' guyed wire tower all sitting next to each other, when a forced co-location of the 6 carriers, radio station, and various communications radio systems on a single 250' freestanding tower would accomplish the same thing as all three towers do now. In general, however, they are much better than other states with forcing co-locations or other existing structures to be used before a company is allowed to erect another structure.
The one big issue I have is that there are some areas that only have GSM coverage, or only have CDMA, and right now, there is no way to cross-roam. It's getting even worse with 15 different LTE bands. I wish one carrier, whether it be AT&T (when hell freezes over), or Verizon would step up and overbuild every last square mile of the other system's coverage.
Back to data roaming, I don't feel bad for Sprint or T-Mo customers, as they picked a carrier with crappy coverage.
I usually support government regulation, but It is unfortunate that the government over-regulated and killed the AT&T/ T-Mobile Merger
The best explanation of the pricing nutiness in the industry.
Why Sprint and T-Mo will always suck.
The only way to end the pricing insanity is to eliminate contracts and subsidies.
I want Wifi calling on AT&T.
If you text while driving, you're an idiot. End of story.
Ultimately you'll have an oligopoly, a regulated marketplace like other "utilities", or a market where smaller companies can still compete offering choice and keeping downward pressure on prices. I'm not in favor of the first two, so either limit the amount of bandwidth the companies can own (similar to how mass media is regulated) or let them continue to buy spectrum but force them to wholesale a portion of it.
This is done all the time where companies aren't allowed to gain a monopoly in a market, wireless should be no different. Google is continually being looked at and the internet is about as open as a marketplace can get. Otherwise, you'd still be getting your phone service from the old AT&T and just buying gas from Exxon. What Verizon is trying to pull off with the cable companies is nothing short of a cartel.
You are exactly right! And anyone who favors eliminating government regulation of this area (or worse, consolidation of the existing carriers) is favoring moving us back to the days when one source controlled everything, and only business users could afford a mobile phone and long distance calling.
Funny I was just researching this. My fiancé has zero to one bar of reception while inside her work building but fine outside. Data is nonexistent. Sprint is running full bars there. We went to Verizon to get reliable service and it's frustrating when you can barely use your phone half the day. I was searching for a roam only hack to Sprint for this purpose. Don't think it exists?