FCC Reaches $40 Million Settlement with T-Mobile on Rural Calling

Updated: May 2, 2018

On April 16, 2018, the Commission released a statement that the Enforcement Bureau (“Bureau”) entered into a Consent Decree with T-Mobile, settling the investigation into whether T-Mobile violated the Commission’s rules when it failed to correct ongoing problems with delivery of calls to rural consumers and whether it conveyed false ring tones on its customers’ telephone calls.

This investigation stemmed from rural carrier and consumer complaints that T-Mobile callers were unable to reach consumers served by three rural carriers in Wisconsin, despite T-Mobile’s reports to the FCC that the problems had been resolved. Additionally, call completion complaints filed with T-Mobile showed patterns of delivery problems in at least seven other rural areas. The investigation also revealed T-Mobile’s practice of injecting false ring tones into millions of calls, which leads callers to believe that the phone is falsely ringing and that the service provider is not responsible if the call fails.

T-Mobile admits that it violated the Commission’s prohibition against inserting false ring tones and that it did not correct problems with delivery of calls to certain rural areas. Consequently, T-Mobile agrees to implement a compliance plan to prevent future violations and to pay a $40 million civil penalty.

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