T-Mobile is being fined $819,000 by the FCC for "willfully and repeatedly
" violating FCC rules that require U.S. carriers to offer a certain number of hearing-aid compatible handsets
. The violations apparently took place in 2009 and 2010 and most likely the agency at first warned T-Mobile about its lack of HAC models in its line-up. The government's intention with this regulation is to allow those hard of hearing to enjoy the same feature rich handsets that the general public owns.
The current requirement for a Tier 1 carrier like T-Mobile is that 10 handsets, or 50% of devices offered by a mobile operator, should be equipped with an M3 acoustic coupling. 7 handsets, or at least 33 percent, need to offer a T3 inductive coupling. Before cutting a check to the Feds, T-Mobile will get the chance to ask for mercy from the FCC by producing evidence that would allow the carrier to refute the charges
Acoustic coupling turns both desired and undesired sounds into electrical signals, which are turned back into sound by the hearing-aid speaker. The inductive coupling (telecoil) turns sound into magnetic fields which are reproduced as sound by a hearing aid. Because the microphone is off for the latter process, there is no feedback which is normally heard when a hearing aid is pressed against a telephone earpiece. Background noise and over amplification
are also both eliminated.