AT&T seeks to dismiss FTC suit that would force it to stop throttling customers with unlimited data

AT&T seeks to dismiss FTC suit that would force it to stop throttling customers with unlimited data
AT&T has filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, seeking to dismiss an FTC lawsuit filed against the carrier. AT&T's claim is a simple matter of jurisdiction. AT&T says that the FTC cannot prevent the carrier from throttling the data speed of its unlimited data customers, because it is a common carrier. And common carriers are the responsibility of that other three lettered alphabet soup of a government agency, the FCC.

So far, you don't have to be a certified Mensa member to understand this. When the FTC filed against the carrier in October, it claimed that AT&T was using deceptive practices in an attempt to get grandfathered unlimited users to lose their unlimited service. The FTC says that unlimited is unlimited and that the throttling means that AT&T is changing the terms of its contracts after the fact. The FTC says that the suit was about mobile broadband, a subject matter that is not a common carrier subject which makes it within the FTC's jurisdiction.

Section 5 of the FTC Act says that common carriers are exempted from being lorded over by the FTC. AT&T says that for purposes of Section 5, it is a common carrier. Still, AT&T might have made a very big mistake. While arguing that it is not under the guidance of the FTC, the company settled a different law suit over cramming. In that case, AT&T agreed with the same FTC to repay the $105 million it collected from customers who were charged for premium text messages even though they did not authorize such messages.

So the question is, why does AT&T agree that the FTC is able to have jurisdiction over it in the cramming case, but not the throttling suit? It should be interesting to hear AT&T's reply. 

source: Scribd, ArsTechnica via BGR


Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless