T-Mobile to pay whopping $48 million fine for throttling ‘unlimited data’ plans

“The FCC caught T-Mobile slowing down connections for heavy data customers — and now, it’s making the company pay for it,” Russell Brandom reports for The Verge. “In a settlement announced today, T-Mobile agreed to pay $48 million to resolve an investigation into the company’s unlimited data plan.”

“T-Mobile revealed in 2015 that it was slowing down data for customers in the top 3 percent of data usage, typically translating to 17GB of data per month,” Brandom reports. “The limitation was only revealed after numerous complaints, and came as a surprise to many users.”

“According to the FCC, the problem isn’t the throttling, but the way T-Mobile marketed the plan,” Brandom reports. “Marketing the system as an unlimited data plan was deceptive to customers, and a violation of the 2010 Open Internet transparency rules.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc is correct in saying that, “Consumers should not have to guess whether so-called ‘unlimited’ data plans contain key restrictions, like speed constraints, data caps, and other material limitations.”

Hopefully, T-Mobile has learned a valuable lesson about transparency in marketing.

AT&T increases data allowance to 22GB before throttling unlimited plan users – September 16, 2015
AT&T urges FCC to drop $100 million fine, claims ‘unlimited’ customers not materially affected by throttling – July 29, 2015
Verizon explains why it’s throttling its ‘unlimited’ data customers – July 31, 2014
AT&T customer wins $850 in iPhone ‘throttling’ case – February 24, 2012


  1. Fines need to be higher, much higher. The fines need to high enough to make businesses execute change months before fines are handed out. Yes, customers will pay the fine, but there is nothing new there. Customers pay for overpriced service, customers pay for do nothing boards of directors, customers pay for these crazy CEO salaries and bonuses, and customers pay for you’re fire non-sensical Golden – parachutes. Customers pay for everything. There has never been a time when the cost of anything does not go directly to the customers. High fines make the cost of the service go up; well, the service can only go so high, completion remember.

    So, yes, before the CEO will go, he or she, will fire thousands and blame the government. Of course they will lose customers, then finally, after a few quarters, the CEO will be terminated. It’s best to make the number so high, the fine, that the company understands those cheating, deceitful decisions are made at the top. The fastest way to return to profitably is to lose the high salaries first, and not pay any parachutes. After all, they ate that parachute by causing such a large fine and losing customers.

    CEO termination along with board of director terminations would go a long way to end deceitful practices. Bans from working in the industry for 10 years for CEOs and board members, would wake them up. But that’s not enough. All money paid to a CEO and to board members must be returned to the company’s bank accounts, covering the time of deceitful practices. Stock too.

    I bet my 80 percent plan sounds pretty good to those CEOs and board members now, cause that’s a dividend paid not a salary for work. The more shares they own the more money they make.

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