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Sprint Communications drops concerns against Native American Telecom

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News Mitchell, 57301
The Daily Republic
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By Bob Mercer

Capitol Correspondent

PIERRE — At the companies’ joint request, state regulators dismissed the business-practices complaint by Sprint Communications against Native American Telecom on Tuesday.

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That leaves one issue for the state Public Utilities Commission to decide next month regarding Native American Telecom: whether the company, now known as Crow Creek Telecom, should receive a certificate of authority to conduct telecommunications business in South Dakota. The commission plans a hearing Dec. 11-12 on the matter, which has been at issue since October 2011.

Last month, the commission denied Crow Creek Telecom’s request for a temporary certificate of authority because state law doesn’t allow it.

Crow Creek Telecom, based at Fort Thompson, is providing some service on the Crow Creek Reservation without having a certificate from the commission.

The company’s ownership reportedly was transferred to the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe this fall. That move raises the question of whether the commission has jurisdiction over the company.

Native American Telecom began as an outgrowth of a California company that specialized in providing toll-free services and generated revenue by charging access fees to long-distance carriers, a method known as traffic pumping or access stimulation. That practice was the focus of Sprint’s complaint.

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