FTC sues AT&T over unlimited data throttling2014-10-30 09:28 by Daniela
Tags: FTC, AT&T, throttling
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) intends to sue AT&T Mobility. The Commission accuses the carrier of misleading practices for charging millions of its smartphone customers for "unlimited" data plans while reducing their data speeds, sometimes by nearly 90 percent.
Allegedly, AT&T hasn't clearly informed its unlimited data plan customers that speeds would be throttled, or slowed, if they hit a certain level of data use in a billing cycle. Once the connection is throttled, activities such as browsing, GPS navigation and watching streaming video become difficult or nearly impossible, the FTC said.
"AT&T promised its customers 'unlimited' data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement. "The issue here is simple: 'unlimited' means unlimited."
AT&T finds the allegations "baseless". It claims that the company adequately notified unlimited-plan users about actions it planned to take to maintain network availability for its entire user base.
"We informed all unlimited data-plan customers via bill notices and a national press release that resulted in nearly 2,000 news stories, well before the program was implemented. In addition, this program has affected only about 3 percent of our customers, and before any customer Relevant Products/Services is affected, they are also notified by text message," according to the company.
"It's baffling as to why the FTC would choose to take this action against a company that, like all major wireless providers, manages its network resources to provide the best possible service to all customers, and does it in a way that is fully transparent and consistent with the law and our contracts," Wayne Watts, AT&T's general counsel, said in a statement.
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