The FCC has announced it plans to fine AT&T $100 million for misleading customers about ‘unlimited’ data plans. AT&T was throttling customers data without disclosing its policy.
According to the FCC complaint, AT&T also “inhibited consumers’ ability to make informed choices about mobile broadband data services.”
AT&T’s policy (initiated in 2007) involves throttling customers once they reach 5GB of data use in a billing cycle. Though unlimited plans were not offered after 2010, existing customers were able to continue using it via a month-to-month renewal after AT&T stopped offering the plan.
In the process of customers going month-to-month, AT&T began throttling — it just never told customers about the policy.
In some cases, the FCC found customers were throttled down to 256 kbps. While the FCC concedes you could still send email at those speeds, it writes the throttling prevented data usage “in ways that most people today use smartphones.”
The $100 million fine was handed down due to the “seriousness” of AT&T’s violations.