T-Mobile fined $40 million for deceiving rural callers
The initial complaints came from three regional carriers serving Wisconsin and consumers who said that T-Mobile customers’ calls failed to connect to the area. While T-Mobile claimed that it had “resolved” the issue, the FCC continued to receive complaints from several rural areas.
The most insidious action the Un-carrier took was that it inserted ring tones to make callers think they made a successful connection to a rural recipient but failed to reach them, when in fact the call never successfully connected. T-Mobile said that this practice was performed on “hundreds of millions of calls” and admitted to violating FCC rules on false ring tones. It’s not clear how many of these calls connected.
T-Mobile, the third-largest carrier by subscribership, has historically had the worst network coverage. It has had to rely on roaming partners to cover a lot of rural ground. With new 600MHz spectrum licenses it has recently obtained, though, the carrier may be hoping to build out its cell and retail presence in places it hasn’t been before and, perhaps, barge into smaller markets to compete with local players.