Consumers petition FCC on mobile

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Eight consumer and public-interest groups have filed a complaint with the FCC, claiming that cell phone providers should not be able to block text messages from political groups and advertisers.

The petition comes after Verizon Wireless blocked text messages on its network sent by abortion rights group Naral Pro-Choice America.

“Mobile carriers currently can and do arbitrarily decide what customers to serve and which speech to allow on text messages, refusing to serve those that they find controversial or that compete with the mobile carriers' services,” the petition said. “This type of discrimination would be unthinkable and illegal in the world of voice communications, and it should be so in the world of text messaging as well.”

According to the petition, Verizon Wireless and other carriers have also blocked VoIP provider Rebtel, which offers low-cost calling plans, from advertising on their networks.

If the FCC grants the petition, mobile phone networks would be opened to large quantities of mobile spam messages. Verizon blocks between 100 million and 200 million mobile spam messages per month.

Neither representatives from Verizon nor the consumer groups could not be reached by press time for comment.

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