TracFone, Others Socked with $14.4M in FCC Fines
The Federal Communications Commission is levying fines against a handful of network operators that it says violated rules governing the Lifeline program. According to the FCC, Assist Wireless, Easy Wireless, Icon Telecom, TracFone, and UTPhone all allowed some consumers to obtain more than a single Lifeline subscription. Consumers are allowed only one line, and the FCC believes the carriers in question knew, or should have known, that the duplicate lines were being given to ineligible people. The Lifeline program provides free phones and service to low-income Americans. The FCC is taking the action in order to reduce waste. The five carriers are being fined a total of $14.4 million, with the damages ranging between $1.23 million and $4.8 million per carrier. TracFone responded to the FCC's punishment, claiming that fewer than 850 of its customers were involved, who totaled only $8,000 in duplicate billing. "With almost 4 million Lifeline customers, obviously this is a very small percent. We do not believe that our conduct violated any rules or that the proposed FCC action is warranted."
FCC Fines Total Call Mobile $51M for Lifeline Violations
The FCC says Total Call Mobile abused the Lifeline program and received millions in improper reimbursements for duplicate and ineligible consumers. The FCC alleges that Total Call Mobile employees "willfully and repeatedly" violated FCC rules regarding Lifeline enrollment and unjustly enriched the company.
TracFone Settles with FCC Over Locked Phones
TracFone has reached an agreement with the FCC concerning its policies for unlocking handsets. In February of this year it became mandatory for all carriers to unlock customer handsets and to properly disclose their unlocking policies to customers.
Republican Proposal Would Eliminate Lifeline Cell Service for Poor
A new bill proposed by Rep. Austin Scott in Georgia aims to take free cell phones and service away from low-income Americans.
T-Mobile Fined $17.5 Million Over 911 Outage
T-Mobile has settled with the FCC regarding two separate 911 outages on its national wireless network that prevented customers from reaching emergency services for a period of three hours. T-Mobile agreed to pay the FCC $17.5 million in fines and take steps to improve the strength of its network and 911 services.