Sprint and Verizon Fined Total of $158M to Settle Cramming Charges
The FCC today said Sprint and Verizon Wireless have agreed to pay $158 million to settle charges that they fraudulently charged customers for third-party services — a tactic referred to as cramming. Specifically, Sprint will pay a total of $68 million, $50 million of which will go back to customers, $14 million of which will go to state governments, and $2 million of which will go to the federal government. Verizon will pay $90 million, with $70 million to go to consumers, $16 million to states, and $4 million to the fed. In addition to the fines, Sprint and Verizon agreed to a slew of other enforcement actions. They will no longer be allowed to offer premium SMS services. For all other services, they must: obtain clear consent before initiating charged, clearly mark charges on bills, and make it easy for customers to block such third-party services. The FCC has been on a tear this year, coming down hard on companies that take advantage of consumers.
U.S. Carriers Share Galaxy S9 and S9+ Launch Plans and Pricing
All four major carriers in the U.S. plan to sell the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ beginning in March.
Android Messages with RCS to Reach More Phones On More Carriers
Google says its Android Messages app is on the upswing thanks to new RCS-based tools and growing support from phone makers and wireless network operators. To start, brands now have more power to interact with consumers thanks to RCS business messaging.
Sprint Allowed to Settle Cramming Charges for $50M
Sprint has settled accusations with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that it over-billed customers for unwanted services. In May, the FCC fined Sprint $68 million for adding third-party services to customer bills without customer permission — a practice known as cramming.
FCC Fines AT&T Over Lifeline Violations
The FCC today levied fines against AT&T and SNET, a former subsidiary of AT&T's, for violating federal Lifeline regulations. The companies over billed the government program, which helps ensure low income consumers have access to a phone line.