T-Mobile to Pay $40 Million Fine for Faking Outgoing Calls to Rural Areas

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T-Mobile will pay $40 million to the U.S. Treasury for failing to correct ongoing issues with call delivery to rural areas and fooling customers with false ringtones, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced today.

The FCC decided that T-Mobile violated the Communications Act following an investigation launched after T-Mobile subscribers were unable to reach customers served by three rural carriers in Wisconsin. T-Mobile claimed it had fixed the issue, but the FCC continued to get numerous complaints from T-Mobile callers attempting to reach at least 10 rural areas. From FCC chairman Ajit Pai:

"It is a basic tenet of the nation's phone system that calls be completed to the called party, without a reduction in the call quality--even when the calls pass through intermediate providers. The FCC is committed to ensuring that phone calls to all Americans, including rural Americans, go through."

According to the FCC, T-Mobile injected false ringtones into "hundreds of millions of calls" to rural areas to trick T-Mobile callers into thinking the phone was ringing on the other end of the line when it was not. False ringtones can cause a caller to hang up thinking no one is available, and it can also "create a misleading impression" that a caller's service provider is not responsible for the failed call, says the FCC.

The FCC also said that rural call completion problems have "significant and immediate public interest ramifications," leading to lost revenue for rural businesses, impediments for medical professionals unable to reach patients in rural areas, families who can't reach relatives, and "dangerous delays" in public safety communications.

T-Mobile has admitted to violating the FCC's prohibition on inserting false ringtones and failing to correct problems affecting calls to select rural areas. In addition to the $40 million payment, T-Mobile has also agreed to implement a compliance plan to fix these issues.

Top Rated Comments

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33 months ago

Such a shady company.

All four major carriers are shady in one way or another.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago
I switched to another shady company, AT&T instead. But at least this one doesn’t drop calls, T-Mobile just sucked. All the ads and cool CEOs in the world can’t fix shoddy in building coverage.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago
Such a shady company.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago

Such a shady company.

Yes cuz the other 2 carriers are so ethical and upstanding to never do any wrong.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago

The CEO deal is all an act. 100%. He's done numerous interviews and talked about how he just acts like that because it sells people. The reality is he's a total suit. Once they hit the critical mass they're looking for, he plans to drop the act and go back to wearing a suit and acting like a standard CEO. It's pretty funny that so many have bought into it.

Call it funny or buying in, but when I switched to T-Mobile I started saving $60/month on my cell phone bill. Plus the savings with T-Mobile Tuesdays.. MLB Extra Innings for free the last 2 seasons is a pretty nice giveaway... Is the coverage as good as ATT? No. Is ATT worth $60/month more? Not even close. He can act however he wants and do whatever he wants as long as my bill remains low.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
33 months ago
Acting like there’s a signal and feigning a ringtone when there is none? Now THAT’S commitment to their ad campaign.

#LEGITuncarrier
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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