Federal and State Legal Requirements for CDR Retention

Greg Taylor Telecom Attorney

My LinkedIn connection, the Telecom Attorney Greg Taylor, has posted an interesting article about the Federal and State legal requirements related to the retention of Call Detail Records (CDRs).

CDRs are the records that originate from a telecom switch and contain all the details of a phone call between two parties.  They form the basis for all billing transactions between Carriers that terminate and originate calls to the PSTN, and Hosted PBX providers and Resellers.

Perhaps naively, I was not even aware that there were any legal requirements regarding the retention of CDRs.    Now I know better!

According to Greg, the Federal and State legal requirements for CDR retention are as follows:

[T]he FCC requires that carriers keep CDR for all toll calls for a period of 18 months (if you want to read the actual language, the cite is 47 C.F.R. §42.6). Some states have different retention periods that exceed the federal requirement. In addition, some states simply defer to the FCC’s then-applicable retention period while other states are silent on the matter altogether.

Accordingly, carriers need to retain CDR for a minimum of 18 months, and for a longer period of time if you do business in a state with retention requirements exceeding federal requirements. Below is a list of the applicable CDR retention periods by jurisdiction.

18 Months

New York, Ohio

2 Years

Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wyoming

3 Years

Florida, Missouri, Virginia

States Deferring to FCC

Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia

No State Law

Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin


New Jersey – wholesale CDR must be retained for 18 months and retail CDR and billing records must be retained for 6 years