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

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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6 days ago at 12:50 pm

Such a shady company.

All four major carriers are shady in one way or another.
Rating: 15 Votes
6 days ago at 12:48 pm
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.
Rating: 9 Votes
6 days ago at 12:44 pm
Such a shady company.
Rating: 8 Votes
6 days ago at 12:58 pm

Such a shady company.

Yes cuz the other 2 carriers are so ethical and upstanding to never do any wrong.
Rating: 7 Votes
6 days ago at 01:08 pm

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.
Rating: 6 Votes
6 days ago at 01:18 pm
Acting like there’s a signal and feigning a ringtone when there is none? Now THAT’S commitment to their ad campaign.

Rating: 5 Votes
6 days ago at 02:01 pm
Wow, that's pretty bad. So many unethical companies these days. Unfortunately we don't have much of a choice as all of the telecom companies have done something awful at some point. I remember AT&T was profiting off of those "FACT" text message scams that would charge you $10/mo if you responded to the message in any way, and sometimes even if you didn't somehow. I remember getting a settlement check from AT&T that basically amounted to nothing. I also remember AT&T was shutting off service to customers who spoke badly about them online. And Verizon has always been super against net neutrality (as are most of them). At least on T-Mobile I get three smartphone lines and an iPad data line for $80/mo because I joined at a time where I figured out how to stack a bunch of discounts. And the service is a lot better now that my office is above ground. But I really wonder how John Legere will respond. Don't really see much on his Twitter except GIFs of him dancing around like an idiot.
Rating: 4 Votes
6 days ago at 02:35 pm
I don't get all the "T-Mobile is awful" posts. Yes, a few years back it truly was awful, but that's not necessarily the case anymore. Personally, I switched over to Verizon (from t-mobile) a few months back thinking service was going to be great and that I would never have any problems again - well, that was not the case. 4 months later I switched back because T-mobile actually had far better coverage. And not to mention it's also cheaper. My point is, don't knock it `till you've tried it.

That being said, this was a ****** move and they deserve this fine.
Rating: 2 Votes
6 days ago at 01:06 pm
I tried T-Mobile for an iPad data plan and it was the absolute worst customer service experience I've ever had. I am glad that they are "shaking up the industry" with their unique plans, prices, and services, but I wouldn't even begin to think about recommending them to anyone. Verizon and AT&T may be shady when it comes to pricing and fees, but I don't recall them ever pulling anything as egregious as faking service. Actually, the more I think about this, the more I think $40 million isn't near enough of a penalty.
Rating: 1 Votes
5 days ago at 09:34 am
T-Mobile has been great for me. Fast internet. I always have coverage. Free Netflix. I give zero ***** about this.
Rating: 1 Votes
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