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."
Oct 23, 2018
The FCC today proposed a fine of more than $63 million against American Broadband and Telecommunications Company for violating rules regarding the Lifeline program. The company, a wireless reseller based in Ohio, "improperly sought and received Lifeline funding by creating numerous ineligible Lifeline subscriber accounts."
Nov 4, 2020
T-Mobile and the FCC have agreed to settle an FCC investigation started in September 2019 alleging that Sprint defrauded the US government by collecting approximately $8 million per month in Lifeline subsidies for 885,000 ineligible accounts. Lifeline helps low-income consumers afford basic phone and internet service.
Oct 1, 2018
California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation on Sunday that made net neutrality the law, but the state was quickly sued by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Sep 5, 2019
T-Mobile has a new set of "Unlimited 55" plans for customers who are at least 55 years of age. The plans come in three tiers just like its plans for everyone else, and include the same benefits at each tier, they simply cost around 40% less.
Sep 14, 2020
Verizon has reached an agreement to buy TracFone, the country's leading prepaid mobile provider and largest reseller of wireless services. TracFone operates a family of value-oriented brands that includes StraightTalk, Net10, Simple Mobile, Total Wireless, PagePlus, Walmart Family Mobile, SafeLink, and ClearWay.