T-Mobile to pay $40 million as part of FCC settlement over failed rural calls


T-Mobile has reached a settlement with the Federal Communications Commission for violating the Communications Act of 1934.

T-Mobile failed to correct issues with calls being delivered to rural customers, says the FCC. The agency began investigating complaints that T-Mo customers were unable to reach consumers using three rural Wisconsin carriers, and while T-Mobile told the FCC that the issue had been resolved, the FCC continued to get complaints. Complaints filed directly with T-Mobile showed patterns of call delivery issues in at least seven other rural areas.

Here’s FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s statement on this settlement:

“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.”

Additionally, T-Mobile violated an FCC rule that’s meant to prevent operators from inserting false ring tones into calls. T-Mo admitted that it had injected fake ring tones into hundreds of millions of calls.

T-Mobile will pay $40 million to the U.S. Treasury as part of the settlement. T-Mo will also enter into a compliance plan to avoid this violation in the future.

T-Mobile issued the following statement to me in response to today’s news:

“T-Mobile is committed to all of our customers across the country. Our actions have always been focused on better serving our customers and the ringtone oversight, which was corrected in January 2017, was unintentional. We have settled this matter — and will continue to focus on our mission to change for wireless for good for consumers everywhere.”

Sources: FCC (1), (2)

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