AT&T Mobility LLC has been smacked with a one hundred million dollar fine by the Federal Communications Commission for throttling customers who subscribe to their unlimited data plans.
As an attempt to persuade customers to let go of the plans they were grandfathered into by making limited plans seem more desirable, they would slow them down after a specific amount of usage each month, claiming that it doesn’t happen on their limited plans. A sales strategy to make more while providing less. The trouble was that it doesn’t conform to the original agreement made between the customers and AT&T and doesn’t properly reflect “unlimited”. Instead, the strategy leads to a “Limited-Unlimited” plan, and now AT&T like other companies is having to pay for this.
We have shed light on this in the past when discussing TracFone, when they were hit with a $40 million penalty for doing the same.
The FCC are calling the business strategy misleading as it draws in customers who expect to see true unlimited access to data while using their devices. Not knowing that they were going to be penalized by using it “too much”. They said that consumers “deserve to get what they pay for” (Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman).
AT&T holds their argument that the practice is an efficient and legal way of managing it’s resources, and that they plan to dispute the FCC’s decision—shows you how much they value their customers vs gaining a little extra profit by cutting corners, right?
Now the other companies are beginning to deal with the same scrutiny or are scrambling to end their throttling programs before they get drawn into the mess as well. Sprint has officially announced that they will no longer be throttling it’s customers, regardless of the amount of data it uses. They do point out that their decision is influenced by the FCC’s recent decision and findings.
This brings us one step closer to getting back to true unlimited data and less shady activities being performed by service providers for the sole purpose of profits. Let’s go after the cable companies now (ie, Cox).