SEATTLE — T-Mobile has agreed to a $48 million settlement with the Federal Communications Commission over claims that it misled customers when promoting its unlimited data plan policy.
T-Mobile must pay a $7.5 million federal fine, give $5 million in services and equipment to U.S. schools and give affected customers $35.5 million in discounts and data credits.
The FCC's investigation targeted T-Mobile's marketing of its unlimited data plan. Customers expected to be able to use as much data as they wanted at high speeds, the FCC said, but speeds for some data users were being slowed.
T-Mobile slows down, or "throttles," data speeds for customers who use a large amount of data. The policy means customers who use more than 17 gigabytes of data in a month may see slower speeds during times of "heavy" use, according to the FCC.
T-Mobile's marketing for its original unlimited plan made some customers think they were buying "better and faster" service than what they actual got, the FCC said.
"Consumers should not have to guess whether so-called 'unlimited' data plans contain key restrictions, like speed constraints, data caps, and other material limitations," FCC enforcement bureau chief Travis LeBlanc said in a statement.
As part of the settlement, T-Mobile will update its policy disclosures and inform customers when they near the 17 GB monthly data threshold.