T-Mobile to pay $200 million fine to resolve FCC subsidy investigation2020-11-04 18:20 by Daniela
Tags: T-Mobile, FCC, Lifeline
T-Mobile has agreed to pay a civil penalty to settle an FCC Sprint Lifeline investigation dating back over a year. The Sprint Lifeline settlement is for $200 million. The commission says the payment represents the "largest fixed-amount settlement" it's ever secured to resolve an investigation.
The settlement comes after an FCC audit found the Sprint, which merged with T-Mobile earlier this year, was claiming monthly subsidies for 885,000 customers as part of the federal Lifeline program, even though those subscribers weren't using the service.
"While we inherited this issue with our merger, we are glad that it is now resolved," a T-Mobile spokesperson told The Verge. "We look forward to continuing to deliver reliable and affordable network connectivity to consumers across the country who depend on it."
Lifeline directs $1.5 billion per year to help low-income families pay for phone service by giving out a $9.25-per-month subsidy. Originally intended to provide discounts on landlines, the program has since been expanded to include wireless and broadband services.
"Lifeline is key to our commitment to bringing digital opportunity to low-income Americans, and it is especially critical that we make the best use of taxpayer dollars for this vital program," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement. "I'm pleased that we were able to resolve this investigation in a manner that sends a strong message about the importance of complying with rules designed to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program."
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