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Shame Shame T-Mobile

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knerkin2
Freshman

Shame Shame T-Mobile

NEW YORK (AP) — T-Mobile, the country’s No. 3 wireless carrier, will pay $48 million for not clearly telling customers how “unlimited” data plans weren’t really, well, unlimited.

The Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday that T-Mobile had a policy to slow down the speeds of customers who were the heaviest data users. But the agency said the company didn’t let customers know how much data used would trigger the lower speed.

The FCC says T-Mobile started doing a better job with disclosures in June 2015.

The carrier now says in small print on its website that slower speeds may result for customers using more than 26 gigabytes a month if the network is congested.

Asked about changes to company policy, T-Mobile spokesman Clint Patterson referred to CEO John Legere’s tweet that it was a “good settlement with the FCC” and that the company “believes more info is best for customers.” Patterson did not answer if T-Mobile was making any further changes in its ads or policies.

This isn’t the first time the agency has gone after the limits of unlimited plans. It fined AT& T $100 million last year for misleading customers on the mechanics of its unlimited plans — the carrier had been slowing speeds significantly after users hit a certain data threshold, even if there was no bottleneck. AT& T has contested the fine.

Today, AT& T says on its website (also in small print) that it slows down heavy users’ data speeds after 22 GB are used in a month if there is network congestion.

In its settlement with the FCC, T-Mobile will pay a $7.5 million penalty while $35.5 million will go to customers in the form of discounts or data upgrades. And $5 million will go toward expanding access to the internet for poorer children. T-Mobile will provide free internet service on devices for children in low-income school districts. The children can take the devices home to help them do their homework.

6 REPLIES 6
debbie.jean.bro
Advanced Tutor

Wow! 22GB per month isn't even close to "unlimited"! I've been hearing the adverts on the radio and wondering how they can possibly offer unlimited data when Verizon charges outrageous prices if one exceeds their data plan limit and wants to buy more gigs. (Hahaha, I almost wrote "buy more tokens"!)

Thanks for sharing, knerkin2! And thanks, Hughesnet, for being honest and disclosing in my initial sales call that I would be slowed down if I exceeded my data allowance! At least some good comes out of it: some low income kids will get free tablets and internet service.
🙂
GabeU
Distinguished Professor IV

It's really not all that different from most wireless "unlimited" plans.  They just got nailed because they didn't disclose the slowdowns like the others do, though the others still do it in ridiculously "small writing." 

It's nice to see that they got hit, though. 


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Amanda
Moderator

I saw this last night! I agree with Gabe.. The service is technically unlimited "access" but not unlimited "full speed access". 

They currently have a commercial on the radio right now that is very misleading until you hear the chipmunk sped up fine print reading at the end. I shook my head when I heard it!
GabeU
Distinguished Professor IV

What I find ridiculous is not only the chipmunk audio disclaimers,  but the incredibly small writing on the bottom of the TV screen that,  unless you have a DVR and Hi-def service, you will never be able to read.  To be honest, I'm very surprised that it's still legal for companies to use this disclaimer method.  Of course, lobbying buys an industry the right to do just about anything, no matter how underhanded it is. 

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maratsade
Distinguished Professor IV

Hopefully more will get caught!
maratsade
Distinguished Professor IV

I guess no one has sued these companies for it or has won a lawsuit about this.  The micro-writing is preposterous.