The FCC could slap AT&T with a $100 million fine for throttling unlimited mobile data plans

The FCC could slap AT&T with a $100 million fine for throttling unlimited mobile data plans
The Federal Communications Commission announced today that AT&T is facing a $100 million fine for deceiving its customers in regard to its supposedly unlimited mobile data plans. 

The FCC claims that AT&T marketed and sold unlimited mobile data plans, only to throttle speeds when customers used up a certain amount of data during a month.

The proposed fine is also based on claims that AT&T misled subscribers through marketing campaigns that promote 'unlimited' data plans, ones that failed to properly notify customers of the fact that their data transfer speed will be capped once a certain data threshold is passed. AT&T started capping data transfer speeds back in 2011, when the carrier instated its “Maximum Bit Rate” policy.

According to the commission, thousands of AT&T customers complained to the FCC that the carrier has mislead them into thinking that these are truly unlimited plans. 

In its defence, AT&T claims that it will challenge today's decision from the FCC, and that the commission has previously identified the practice of throttling as a legitimate, reasonable measure of managing network congestion. Furthermore, the carrier also argues that it has issued multiple notifications to its customers informing them of the data-throttling practice.

According to the FCC, although this is the biggest fine that the commission has ever proposed, its size is perfectly justified by the fact that the practice made AT&T billions of dollars in revenue.

The decision is not final. AT&T will have the chance to respond to the accusations in 30 days. If the FCC will not be satisfied with the carrier's response, then AT&T will be forced to pay the $100 million fine.

In closing, we leave you with this statement issued by Tom Wheeler, one of the five FCC Commissioners:


source: FCC via WSJ

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17 Comments

1. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Maybe they should go after Sprint next.

12. waddup121 unregistered

oooh sh*t!

2. bucky

Posts: 3785; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

AT&T probably made that in a month.

3. choctawfootball

Posts: 26; Member since: May 04, 2015

And att still warns me that they would throttle my data 2 days ago. ""ATT Free Msg: Your data has reached 75% of the 5GB network management threshold. If you exceed 5GB this month, you may experience reduced data speeds at times and in areas that are experiencing network congestion. Wi-Fi helps you avoid reduced speeds. For more info visit att.com/datainfo or att.com/broadbandinfo""

4. natypes

Posts: 1110; Member since: Feb 02, 2015

But you're not unlimited. I guess technically they could shut you completely off after you've used what you bought. Way to go FCC. Hope Verizon makes note of this even thought they supposedly don't throttle right now.

5. choctawfootball

Posts: 26; Member since: May 04, 2015

I am unlimited. I have been unlimited since when they first started offering it.

7. applesdg

Posts: 2; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

Yes, you might have unlimited data, but you aren't unlimited high speed data.

6. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Never been throttled.

14. downbeat4

Posts: 94; Member since: Dec 03, 2010

My data is NEVER throttled with Verizon. My Unlimited Plan is fully Unlimited. 20-80Mbps all month.

8. medicci37

Posts: 1361; Member since: Nov 19, 2011

Why did it take the fcc so long to realize AT&T was breaking the law?

9. harvardale

Posts: 51; Member since: Jul 22, 2011

You're about 5 years too late, FCC. Come up with a better penalty, AT&T will just pass the fine along to their customers.

13. Canaan

Posts: 351; Member since: May 25, 2014

Then leave, AT&T probably won't do anything until they start losing customers.

10. toyboyz

Posts: 235; Member since: Jan 22, 2010

What a joke! Need to try for billions next time. :/

11. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

I have True unlimited data on Tmo and Verizon, they never pulled anything like this.

15. Antimio

Posts: 313; Member since: Nov 11, 2013

They should be charged way more than that. Greedy fat.

16. LuckySwitz

Posts: 26; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

T-mobile all the way!!

17. Blazers

Posts: 742; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Better to penalize them in the upcoming spectrum auction then a fine which they can put off paying for years.

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