The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to fine AT&T Mobility, LLC $100,000,000 for misleading its customers about unlimited mobile data plans. The FCC’s investigation alleges that AT&T slowed down the data speeds for customers with unlimited data plans and that the company failed to adequately notify its customers that they could receive speeds slower than the normal network speeds AT&T advertised.
AT&T began offering unlimited data plans in 2007, allowing customers to use unrestricted amounts of data. In 2011, AT&T implemented a "Maximum Bit Rate" policy and capped the maximum data speeds for unlimited customers after they used a set amount of data within a billing cycle. FCC says that the capped speeds were much slower than the normal network speeds AT&T advertised and impaired the ability of AT&T customers to access the Internet or use data
applications for the remainder of the billing cycle.
The Commission charges AT&T with violating the 2010 Open Internet Transparency Rule by falsely labeling these plans as "unlimited" and by failing to sufficiently inform customers of the maximum speed they would receive under the Maximum Bit Rate policy.
The fine by the FCC comes on the heels of a federal lawsuit filed against the company last fall. The Federal Trade Commission said it wants to refund customers who were offered the unlimited data packages, only to be given slower data speeds than advertised. That lawsuit is still working its way through a federal court in California.