A lot of brands know that wordings of your promos and features need to be carefully worded in a way that it will not bite you in the behind someday. T-Mobile probably wishes that they could now turn back time as the FCC has issued a $48 million fine against them for the wording of the restriction disclosures in their unlimited data feature. Several subscribers complained about their carrier’s (and MetroPCS subscribers too) about the “misleading information” they were getting, prompting the investigation from the FCC.
The findings of the investigation concluded that the customers expected more than the high-speed data that they actually received because T-Mobile did not disclose appropriately some caveats and restrictions about the unlimited data feature that subscribers availed of. When users thought they were receiving unlimited high-speed data, in reality the carrier was actually throttling them to lower speeds when the congestion on their network becomes high. However, they did not properly inform the users of this, except when complaints started rolling in.
The $48 million fine is a “financial commitment” that will be broken down into the $7.5M as the actual fine. The $35.5 million will go to consumer benefits offered to subscribers, either as 4GB of free, extra mobile data or a discount of up to $20 of any of the accessories they offer at their online store. The remaining $5M will go to providing free devices to schools in regions with low-income to help students do their homework. Also part of this would be to provide reduced cost and low cost broadband to schools and families.
There is no news yet whether T-Mobile will appeal this fine and defend their “Top 3 Percent Policy” which basically refers to throttling extremely heavy data users. This case is one of the reasons why carriers now have opted not to offer “unlimited data” to their subscribers.