Smartphone users on AT&T were surprised by a text message last week notifying them that they will soon get a refund for mobile internet service taxes. AT&T has quietly settled a class action suit filed in response to violation of the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act, which prohibits from levying taxes on Internet access up to November 2014. However, AT&T, US's second largest mobile carrier, reportedly kept collecting and the question remains just how big is this. The service provider's last quarter revenues amounted to $4.8 billion from wireless data services only. Over the five-year span of the lawsuit this would multiply astronomically.
In the end, it all comes down to whether or not users get their own refund and according to the settlement website this should happen without them taking any action. All subscribers on Data Connect Plans, smartphone data plans such as those on the iPhone and the BlackBerry, or enterprise smartphone plans are among the potential beneficiaries.
It remains unclear if the settlement affects all of AT&T's data subscribers since the lawsuit had been filed in several states. Only then all of the cases were transferred to a US district court in Illinois. This raises concerns that other carriers might have taxed users also but that is still to be uncovered. Did you get AT&T's text message? Let us know.