T-Mobile has agreed to a $48 million settlement after a federal investigation into whether the cell phone carrier sufficiently disclosed speed and data restrictions for its “unlimited” plans.
T-Mobile settlement: What it means for customers
According to the Federal Communications Commission, the company’s policy allows it to reduce data speeds when T-Mobile or MetroPCS customers exceed a monthly data threshold. But some heavy data users complained that they were misled after their so-called “unlimited” data plans were slowed down during months of high usage.
“Consumers should not have to guess whether so-called ‘unlimited’ data plans contain key restrictions, like speed constraints, data caps, and other material limitations,” said FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “When broadband providers are accurate, honest and upfront in their ads and disclosures, consumers aren’t surprised and they get what they’ve paid for.”
The $48 million settlement includes $35.5 million in consumer benefits to T-Mobile and MetroPCS customers with “unlimited” plans. The wireless provider is also being hit with a $7.5 million fine and must provide $5 million in services and equipment to low-income schools.
Under the settlement, T-Mobile will have to update and improve its disclosures regarding ‘unlimited” data plans so that customers aren’t surprised by any possible data speed reductions.
In addition, eligible T-Mobile and MetroPCS “unlimited’ mobile data customers will be offered the following:
- Discounts of 20 percent off (up to $20) of the regular price for any in-stock accessory.
- 4 GB of additional data if they have a mobile Internet data line – specifically T-Mobile’s “Simple Choice MINT” plan – or a tablet plan under the MetroPCS brand.